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Wayback Wednesday: Death of an outlaw

When it comes to star power of wild west outlaws, Bill Doolin's name might not be as recognizable as  Billy the Kid or Jesse James.

But Doolin was no B-lister in his time. He was the real deal. A dangerous and violent sociopath who had no qualms with filling people full of lead, along with robbing and stealing whatever he could get his hands on.

Born in Arkansas, Doolin was in his early twenties when he left home to take up the cowboy way of life. He worked in Texas for a time and then his life took a darker path when he joined up with the Dalton Gang.

His first brush with homicide came on July 4, 1891 when he may have gunned down two marshals who tried to take booze away from him. It was all downhill from there.

After a botched bank robbery with the Dalton Gang in 1892 Doolin formed his own group known as the Wild Bunch.

For four years, the Wild Bunch robbed banks in Kansas and the Oklahoma and New Mexico territories. Some have said the gang was the most dangerous and powerful in all of the old west for a short time.

Doolin was finally captured in January, 1896, at a bathhouse in Arkansas where he had gone to seek treatment for arthritis in his foot, the result of a gunshot wound years earlier.

But Doolin wasn't done. He escaped custody and fled to Lawson, Oklahoma, now known as Quay.

Doolin was gunned down by US Marshal Heck Thomas with a single shotgun blast that filled his chest full of buckshot on Aug. 24, 1896.

He was buried in Summit View Cemetery in Guthrie where he remains today.

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Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun.... Read more ›