Longview hosts Dalton days re-enactment - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Longview hosts Dalton days re-enactment

It was the last of the Old West bank robberies in Texas, and this weekend the Dalton gang rides again at the Longview Rodeo Arena. In 15 minutes of absolute mayhem, the Dalton gang held up the First National bank of Longview in 1894.

"It was one of the top five shootouts of the Old West. In 15 minutes time, there were more than 200 rounds fired in downtown Longview. Shopkeepers, deputies, everybody that had a firearm joined in," says Gregg County Historical Society volunteer Larry Courington.

Re-enactors come back each year to tell the story. Not so glamorous a story as you might think. Bill Dalton was no boy scout.

"He had a lot of ice in his blood. He was ready for killing at any point in time," say re-enactor Bobby Connolly who portrays Bill Dalton.

Outlaw Jim Bennett killed two townspeople before being shot down himself.

"He was kind of a low life character, kind of an opportunist, if you will," says Guy Walker, who portrays Bennett.

One of the biggest misconceptions about the old west gunfighter is that he had to be fast. The re-enactors say no. Coolness under fire and aim was most important.

"It was more of a ‘keep a cool head on your shoulders, pulling that gun from your holster, making the aim and pulling that trigger.' Their aim was at a target, and that's all they thought about," Connolly says.

Dalton escaped with around $2000. City Marshal Matt Muckelroy was shot, but survived when the bullet deflected off a silver dollar in his coat. You can see this historic show Saturday. The Longview Rodeo's gates open at nine in the morning. The first performance starts at 10.

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