American Indian tribes had dwelled in what was known as Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) since the 1830s when they were unwillingly moved there by the federal government. In 1889, over protest by Indian tribes, Congress opened up two million acres in this region for settlement. Thousands of people poured into the area to claim land. That same year, the Dalton family--including the three grown sons who would soon become outlaws--left their home in Coffeyville, Kansas and claimed homestead land near Kingfisher in the newly-opened Oklahoma Territory.
1. Locate the states of Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas on a U.S. map. Why do you think these states were called the middle border states? According to what you have learned so far, what legacy did the violence of the Civil War create in this region?
2. Locate Oklahoma on a U.S. map. Why was this region once referred to as Indian Territory? When was it opened for non-Indian settlement?
3. Locate Coffeyville on Map 1. How would you describe its location? Why might the Dalton brothers and their gang have chosen Coffeyville as the target for a bank robbery?
4. Locate Kingfisher, Oklahoma and suggest reasons why the Dalton family moved to this area.
5. Locate the towns of Perry, Orlando, Adair, and Red Rock in Oklahoma--all associated with train robberies committed by the Dalton Gang in 1891 and 1892. What generalizations can you make about the Dalton Gang's robberies based on the locations where they occurred?
* The map on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Map 1, but be aware that the file may take as much as 5 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.