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Saturday, April 27, 2024

Grat Dalton and the Sundance Kid


                     Grat Dalton &...                  the Sundance Kid

Who was Grat Dalton really?


Gratton Hanley "Grat" Dalton (March 30, 1861 – October 5, 1892) was an American outlaw in the American Old West. He was one of three brothers in the Dalton Gang, led by his younger brother Bob Dalton. Both brothers were killed during a shootout in an ill-fated raid on two banks in Coffeyville, Kansas. Their brother Emmett Dalton survived to be convicted and imprisoned for fourteen years.


Short career as lawman


Their older brother Frank Dalton served as a Deputy US Marshal….

John Franklin Dalton (June 8, 1859 – November 27, 1887) was a Deputy US Marshal of the Old West under Judge Isaac Parker (the hangin' judge), [AKA JOHN YOUNGER, His cousin] for Oklahoma Territory, as well as the older brother to the members of the Dalton Gang, in addition to being the brother to William M. Dalton, once a member of California legislature, and later an outlaw and leader of the Doolin Dalton gang alongside Bill Doolin.


Frank Dalton is not to be confused with J. Frank Dalton (1848-1951), who made many claims to be famous people, including his claim of being Frank Dalton, and later Jesse James. [Frank Dalton IS the very Frank Dalton, cousin to Jesse James, in which Jesse James borrowed his Alias J Frank Dalton after his cousin was killed, it is absolutely to be confused with…]


[Frank,] by all accounts the strongest of the brothers, he always kept his brothers in line. Grat and his younger brothers idolized Frank. On Nov 27, 1887 Frank and another deputy marshal, Jim Cole, went across the river from their base at Fort Smith to arrest three whiskey bootleggers. As they approached the camp, the bootleggers began to shoot at them. After Dalton shot and killed two, his gun jammed, and he was killed by the remaining bootlegger. His deputy abandoned him after being shot. Frank Dalton is buried in Coffeyville, Kansas.


I would recommend a read of the WIKI article just so you can see how history has a way of revealing its true self…. 

Now lets look at another outlaw of the past whom we all thought we knew who he was… and history and the many writers still thinks they know…


The Sundance Kid… 


[History believes Sundance was…] 

Harry Alonzo Longabaugh (1867 – November 7, 1908), better known as the Sundance Kid, was an outlaw and member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch in the American Old West. He likely met Butch Cassidy (real name Robert Leroy Parker) during a hunting trip in 1883 or earlier. The "Wild Bunch" gang performed the longest string of successful train and bank robberies in American history.


Longabaugh fled the United States along with his consort Etta Place and Butch Cassidy to escape the dogged pursuit of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. The trio fled first to Argentina and then to Bolivia, where most historians believe Parker (Cassidy) and Longabaugh were killed in a shootout in November 1908.


I don’t know where the writers come up with these names, but Harry Alonzo Longabaugh was just another of the many alias’s.

Although there are many snippets in the Black Book about Sundance, I am just gong to show a few here as Butch Casidy and the Sundance Kid played very big parts in Jesse’s many adventures…


[Jesse Speaking]

“They weren't killed in South America. Sundance was really Grat Dalton of the notorious Dalton Gang and Jesse James' cousin. I last saw Butch, the old Utah boy, up in Washington when he married Dotty, who was the daughter of T. E. Lawrence. Dalton and Cassidy and other members of the Wild Bunch always married within their clique - it was safer that way."


Historians will be quick to point out that Harry Longbaugh was the Sundance Kid. He certainly was. Another alias was Ben Kilpatrick. Toss in Grover Shropshire, Enrique Brown and half a dozen more assumed names. How did Grat Dalton get the name, the Sundance Kid? He holed up one winter in Sundance, Wyoming, and the name stuck. One alias was as good as another.

"But they all add up to Grat Dalton. This will come as a shock to many Western buffs used to seeing that worn old photo taken in 1892 at Coffeyville showing Bill Powers, Bob Dalton, Grat Dalton and Dick Broadwell stacked like cordwood awaiting the undertaker. The men identified as Bob and Grat Dalton were corpses of the Christian brothers," Jesse III points out.

"Bob and Grat Dalton, Bill Doolin and Eugene Robertson were just about to enter Coffeyville from another direction when Doolin's horse threw a shoe. They stopped to nail it back on and this took about ten minutes. By that time the shooting had started. The tardy bandits were just in time to help a couple of men escape and then run for it themselves. I'd heard the story two dozen times from Grat Dalton," Jesse III said.

In 1958 the grandson of Jesse W. James was in Montana and not unsurprisingly found parts of what his grandfather had called The Organization still operating. He'd heard Grat was going under the alias of Grover Shropshire and living near Cut Bank…..


Grat died under the name of Grover Shropshire outside Cut Bank, Montana, in 1965. He was about 100 years old.


A few years ago I was introduced by my friend David, to such a sweet little old lady named Jean Draney Johnson (1939-2019) in Layton Utah who was living in an elderly care center… We visited at least 3 times, Terry Carter, David Bullock and Myself traveled up one day to see her and interview her… In one of our meetings prior, she told me things that just floored me… some of which I agreed not to tell. But one thing she told me was when she was little, Jesse James use to stop by her dads place and she would sit on his lap and he would tell her stories about Jesse James.. Her dad asked her once, Do you know why Mr. Howard knew so much about Jesse James? ... Because he was Jesse James… If you look at the video on youtube of J Frank Dalton you will notice when he reaches for the bucket, you can see what’s left of his left index finger which is black on the end… Before Jean ever saw this video, she told me that she remembered the end of his index finger had been chewed off, and he had a black finger nail, she said I remember because he would poke me in the belly with it… But back to Sundance…

Jean Draney Johnson



Jean also told me that when she was young she rode in a stage coach with Sundance who lived in that area being Grover Wyoming. While traveling he shared with her a candy twist, like a candy cane… she said he was very kind to her…


Images used left to right, only known image of Grat Dalton. A well known image of Sundance, Bowler Hat, new image of formerly unknown taken in 1995 posing with Jesse W. and Dr. Sylvester Franklin James, 3 years after Grat was supposedly killed and on the right another well know image of Sundance.

You decide, was the Sundance Kid Grat Dalton whom history killed off in 1892?  Above is the overlay images used in the overlays below……


Grat to unknown image taken in 1895


Grat to Bowler hat Sundance


1895 image to Bowler hat Sundance



Other well know Sundance Image to 1895 Image


I don’t know about you but I am 100% convinced that the Sundance Kid was no doubt Grat Dalton.

Sitting on the left Kentucky Born Jesse W James, sitting on the right Sylvester Franklin James

Standing on the left Grat Dalton Alias The Sundance Kid, standing on the right, SUSPECT Jesse Jr. or Harvey Logan

ONE of the 3 interviews with Jean Johnson

(The Black Book)

Jesse James was one of his Names

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