Tulsa, OK

That time the Wild Bunch defied the odds in Ingalls

Nail in the Foot

About fifty miles west of Tulsa, is a small town with a population of about 150. It was in Ingalls, Oklahoma where the Wild Bunch (aka the Doolin-Dalton Gang) and U.S. Marshals faced off in 1893 in an event that locals still vividly remember to this day with an annual reenactment.

Ingalls, OKKerry Balbirona

In the early 1890's, the Wild Bunch were notorious bank robbers, known for their ability to evade capture. As Marshal for the Oklahoma Territory at the time, E.D. Nix directed a team to be led by Deputy Marshal John Hixon to descend upon Ingalls after learning they were using the town as a hideout.

On September 1, 1893 the atmosphere was tense inside Ingall's Ransom Saloon. The seven outlaws had received word of the Marshals plan and knew the lawmen were close. In a show of arrogance, they sent a messenger to the deputies with an invitation. "Come and take us if you can" was the overall sentiment of their communication.

Hixon, four deputies and a posse of eight additional men accepted the offer. When shouts for surrender were answered with Winchester shots, one of the deadliest confrontations in U.S. Marshal history at the time had begun.

It was quickly ascertained the gang was in the saloon. Heavy fire was exchanged between the outlaws and lawmen, riddling the saloon walls. A horse tied to the front of the saloon was one of the first victims in the crossfire.

The outlaws inside the saloon began to move to the adjacent stable out a side door. The owner of the saloon also bought the gang a few precious moments by presenting his Winchester out the front door of the saloon. Thinking the owner to be one of outlaws, the lawmen focused their attention on him, shooting him twice in the ribs and his arm.

Deputy Marshal Jim Masterson threw dynamite into the outlaw hiding place and was able to capture "Arkansas Tom" Jones before the remaining members of the gang escaped.

After putting some distance between themselves and the center of town, the outlaws paused at the top of a ridge. As they fired towards pursuing lawmen, an innocent bystander was killed by one of their bullets.

As the dust settled after the outlaw's escape, one deputy was dead and two more died the following day due to their injuries. A civilian was dead and another (the saloon owner) was injured. Three of the escaped outlaws were also injured during the altercation and as for "Arkansas Tom"...he was sent to Federal prison in nearby Guthrie.

Ingalls, OKKerry Balbirona

Since the 1950s, the local townspeople have gathered every September 1 for a community potluck and reenactment of the gunfight. Put it on your calendar now to be in the area and make sure to arrive by 10 a.m. for good food followed by a spectacular show at high noon.

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