Kansas City Star, September 7, 1920: Emmett Dalton, reformed bandit, now identified with the motion picture industry, has petitioned the governor of California to commute the death sentence of Roy Wolff, 16 years old, who was convicted of killing Elmer E. Greer near Bakersfield last March. The execution of the sentence is scheduled to take place at the San Quentin prison September 17.
In a letter opposing capital punishment, Dalton says "murder is an act of horror, and one horror cannot be cured by another.
"As I once had a life sentence, and from my experience for observation along these lines, I have become unalterably opposed to capital punishment. The aim of society should never be to hurt, but to cure."
Governor Stephens commuted the sentence to life imprisonment.
The Morning Oregonian, September 21, 1921: That Roy Gardner "beat the news of his escape to the mainland" and made his get-away from McNeil's island penitentiary through the aid of friends in high-power launch is the theory of Emmett Dalton, last of the notorious Dalton bandit gang and now a motion picture producer, who visited Portland for a few hours yesterday afternoon.
"In certain respects, Gardner's escape is a comedy to me," said Dalton. "He is probably in Mexico by this time. The best thing for Gardner to do is surrender, for he can't get away with it forever. If he gives himself up and behaves himself, he always has a chance to win parole after a few years."
… and is now president and general manager of the Standard Pictures company of California, which has produced a film called "Beyond the Law." In this production Dalton appears in three roles in a story based on the exploits of the Dalton gang. The principal purpose of the picture, according to Dalton, is to give the youth of America the message that banditry and law braking do not pay.
"I have tried through the motion picture screen to destroy the effect on American boys of stories of famous outlaws and bandits which are covered with a certain false cloud of glamor and romance," he said.
Roy Gardner was a headline making train robber as he kept escaping from prison. This was his third escape, and, by the way, he later said he swam to the shore. He was a graduate from Colorado University, and married with a young child.
The (San Jose) Evening News, September 28, 1921: Thrill takes on a new and deeper significance during the next four days at the Theater Jose where Emmett Dalton, last of the "Dalton Boys" - world-famous American brigands - is not only the star of "Beyond the Law," headline attraction, but will appear in person, preffacing each showing of his stirring motion picture production…
Mr. Dalton has now a consequential message for the youth of the land - for everyone in fact who has ever thrilled to the more gallant aspects of outlawry and its daring adherents - and his life-experience fits him peculiarly for this particular mission. He will give this instructive, and above all, constructive, talk before each showing of "Beyond the Law," afternoon and evening, and as a prologue to this highly dramatic and exiting screen tale, it is without a shadow of doubt the most appropriate, the most colorful, that could be devised.
A big scandal had hit the papers when a girl died at a hotel where comic actor "Fatty" Arbuckle was partying.
The Evening News, Oct, 1, 1921: Emmett Dalton, formerly the famous bandit of the "Dalton gang," who is at present stopping in San Jose, gave the News today a statement of his views on the Arbuckle case.
"You ask me what I think of the Arbuckle case? About all I can say is that you can score another one for John Barleycorn.
"While my sympathies are all with the poor, deluded, dead girl, Virginia Rappe, regardless of who she was or what she did, yet Arbuckle is entitled to a fair and impartial trial, regardless who he is or what he did.
"We should withhold our judgment until all the evidence is in. I have heard, in San Francisco, that the defense has some very strong evidence to introduce.
"I have read in the papers lately that a noted New York pastoral 'nut,' probably seewing notoriety, and taking the Arbuckle case as a theme has consigned the whole human race to hell, with show people occupying the lowest depths But I think God this reverened gentleman does not represent the ministry of this country If the reverend gentleman will take care of his Jimmie Stillmans in the east I am sure the level headed people of the west will take care of the same class out here.
"I can name just as clean and moral people in the show busines as is in the ministry or any other profession.
"I might add here without commenting on the guilt or innocence of Mr. Arbuckle that if the case can be used as a warning to some of our wealthy, drunken licentious libertines, it will not have been without some good results."
Arbuckle was eventually cleared of the murder charge against him, but his career was effectually ruined.
The Morning Oregonian, Nov. 2, 1921: The authority of the motion picture board of the city (Portland) may be tested, if Emmett Dalton, last of the notorious gang of Dalton bandits and now a motion picture producer, carries out his threat made yesterday to ask the courts to settle the right of the censor board to forbid the showing of a Dalton film in this city. The film in question is "Beyond the Law," a seven-reel picture, which has been booked to be shown at the Star theater November 26.
The city censor board unanimously voted to condemn the picture. The reason given was that it shows the actual commission of crime.
Mr. Dalton last night told motion picture men that he intended to ask for an injuction to restrain the board from carrying out this order.
Either Emmett gave up or lost his case; on Nov. 26, the Star theater was showing a five-reel melodrama The Greater Profit.
The Morning Olympian, Nov. 5, 1921: There's a bandit loose in town! (Olympia, Wash.)
But he's a reformed bandit, so there is no need to put an extra lock on the doors, or watching the window latches.
For Emmett Dalton quit outlawry, except in pictures, some years ago, and has found the "straight and narrow" a very pleasant path to trod after the hectic rush of desperate deeds and fearsome hiding which were his portion in his earlier years.
Dalton is here to appear in person at the Ray theater next Sunday and Monday, when the picture of some of his experiences as a reckless bandit, embodied in "Beyond the Law," will be shown for two days.
The Morning Oregonian, Nov. 9, 1921: CENTRALIA, Wash., Nov. 8. - Emmett Dalton, member of a famous gang of outlaws in the 80's who is in Centralia for a two days' performance at a local theater, yesterday sent a telegram to President Harding asking for executive clemency for Roy Gardner, fugitive from McNeil island penitentiary.
"I am convinced this man can be made a good and useful citizen," Dalton's message read. "If I can persuade him to surrender and will give him employment and put up a bond for his good behavior, will you consider paroling him after he has served not less than one year of his sentence? My own experience makes me certain I can handle this man so he will be a worthy American. I earnestly appeal to you, Mr. President, to consider this case with your heart. Certainly, Gardner's wife and baby would never forget such an act of executive clemency and kindness. Having transgressed the law myself and paid the penalty, I know what it means to fight the way back to an honorable life. I also know, Mr. President, that Gardner is worth saving."
Gardner did not surrender, but was caught later that month when attempting to rob a train in Arizona. He was paroled from Alcatraz in 1939, and he committed suicide in 1941.
In 1922 Emmett also got involved in the construction business building houses. This was to be the most lucrative of his ventrures.
Kansas City Star, Oct. 4, 1922: In a gray business suit, diamond stud in cravat, an air of dignity and substantial well being, successful business man, perhaps, a motion picture magnate from his card - Emmett Dalton, youngest of the Dalton boys, bank bandits and train robbers who terrorized the Southwest thirty years ago.
Emmett Dalton, en route to New York from his Los Angeles home on business connected with the Standard Pictures Corporation, of which he is president, stopping in Kansas City long enough to see the Priests of Pallas parade. Finding the parade beautiful.
Emmett Dalton, at 21, sole survivor of ill-fated bank raid of Coffeyville, Kas., where two brothers, Bob and Gratten, were killed in a revolver battle in which four citizens lost their lives. Pardoned in 1907 from a life sentence in the Kansas state penitentiary.
Dalton spent fourteen years in the penitentiary before he was pardoned. "Along time." Assuredly.
Leaves tonight for New York, where he will stay about two weeks. Just a general tour of the country on business - in a gray business suit and with an air of dignity and substantial well being.
Successful business man - undoubtedly.
The Priests of Pallas parade was a week-long festival held in Kansas City annually from 1887 until 1912, and revived briefly from 1922 to 1924. It set out to promote Kansas City as the "Athens of the West." The festival included parades of ornate floats, concerts and other performances.
New Castle News, Nov. 15, 1922: It is just thirty years since five bandits, fearless and determined, rode into Coffeyville…
But one of the bandits lived to tell the story and he is spending a week or two in this section of the country (Pennsylvania) appearing in connection with one of his moving pictures.
New Castle will have an opportunity of seeing this one-time bandit, Emmett Dalton, now a prosperous business man of the moving picture industry. He will be at the Regent theater on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week with a production of his company, Standard Pictures of California, Inc., Los Angeles, California. He is the president of that concern.
Speaking of the Coffeyville affair, Mr. Dalton, former member of the Dalton gang, has this to say; "Yes, I paid my debt to society. I served fourteen years at Leavenworth. I was pardoned by Governor E. W. Hoch and what I have done during the years since I left a great number of men in prison can do. All they need is a life, someone to give them a start. I venture that 60 (or could be 80) per cent of the men in prison would go straight, make useful citizens of themselves, if given a chance.
"Crime is, of course, the product of ignorance, or, in some cases, momentary aberration. I don't know why I got into the Coffeyville fight, except thet the rest of the boys were in it and we stuck together. They talk of crime waves. That makes me laugh. There is no such thing as a crime wave. One would think the world is getting worse, but I know, deep down in my heart and soul, that the world is getting better. A man to accomplish good in this world, either for himself or others, has got to feel this.
"The bandit game is unhealthy," is the way Mr. Dalton puts it.
"My three brothers were killed - Frank in Indian Territory in 1887, and Bob and Grat at the Coffeyville shootup.But that isn't the reason I quit. I quit because it is wrong. The cure for crime starts back around the cradle. Proper environment and education are the essential cures and that is what I preach wherever I go."
New Castle News, Nov. 20, 1922: Former Bank Robber, Here, Ridicules Exciting Gun-in-Each-Hand Stories
"Our Hero" burst into the town square, flaming in the gorgeous beauty of a pair of flossy chaps, as hairy as the pomeranian dog which he had never seen.
The crashing guns of hundreds of panicky citizens roared from roof-tops, doorway and alley. "Our Hero" was unabashed, either by the chaps or the guns. He vaulted - they always vault - from the saddle.
His long-barrelled repeating rifle crashed from the hip. With one hand he worked the gun, with the other he swung his hat defiantly.
Citizens fell like the blades of grass before the reaper, like the comets of the night. Our hero dropped his gun. The hot barrel had blistered his strong little finger. His six-guns leaped from their "scabbards". They always leap.
Together they belched back at the citizenry. Both guns crashed at once.
"Our Hero" sighted the left gun with the left eye and the right gun with the right eye, simultaneously. He was not cross-eyed, it is plain. The six-guns were empty. Many citizens had died. "Our Hero" died gloriously, as he had lived, in his chaps.
A! it was superb - a superb lie. That's what Emmett Dalton, last of the notorious Dalton gang of train highwaymen and bank robbers, now in New Castle with the motion picture in which he plays the lead, maintains. Mr. Dalton, who after serving 14 years in prison, is a prosperous Los Angeles real estate man, motion picture owner and actor, is spending the rest of his life, he says, trying to keep other boys from going wrong because of to many foolish ideas in their heads.
In about 45 minutes of conversation today he "knocked galley west" a score of false impressions about the "wild west", which that representative had held as sacred traditions ever since he ran around the backyard with a cap pistol shouting "bang - bang!" at a lot of other little kids.
Mr. Dalton knows what he is talking about when he speaks of old-fashioned revolvers and hard-riding, hard-dying free-booters of the west. He was captured after the Coffeyville bank raid. He is now aged 52 years. He was then aged 22 years.
Chaps! We dressed just the way I am today. Ordinary suits and flannel shirts. If one of us had ridden into town in chaps we wouldn't have reached the third block. Good boots, a good saddle and a good horse. That's what we needed.
No man ever fired a revolver in each hand, except in stories or the movie. I had all I could do, lots of times, to handle one gun, let alone two. I'd let a two-gun man shoot at me all day for 25 cents a shot if he used two guns. I'll tell you that."
The (Uniontown) Morning Herald, Dec. 15, 1922: The extremely quiet spoken man, with the broad black felt hat, the blue business suit over his tall body, the peculiarly tight mouth and the eyes that look through the interrogator and away off somewhere, rode into Coffeyville, Kan., one day in the 90's. …
He was the junior partner in a gang composed of two of his brothers, himself and two other men. In a short time the five men robbed two banks.
Mr. Dalton appears at the Penn again today and tomorrow.
—The One and Only Emmett Dalton In Person and In His Terrific Motion Picture of His Life "Beyond the Law"
Mr. Dalton Has Found Motion Pictures More Profitable Than Robbing!…
Charleston Daily Mail, March 11, 1923: The sole surviving member of the famed Dalton gang, who invaded the little town of Coffeyville, Kan., on the morning of October 5, 1892, and staged one of the most stupendous hold-ups and bank robberies that had ever been committed to that time, even to the extent of overlapping the notorious Jesse James, is coming to lecture at the Rialto April 2, 3 and 4, in connection with "Beyond the Law."
His name is Emmett Dalton, but in coming to Charleston he does not come with a brace of .44's or salute with the command to throw up your mitts. He comes not as a criminal, but as a gentleman, and a prosperous gentleman. Emmett Dalton served fourteen and one-half years for his act of indiscretion on that October morning, and he has justified himself by his sacrifice.
Emmett Dalton will make a personal appearance. He will make short and interesting talks on his life, and the lives and careers of those associated with him during the period when the west was ringing with the name of the Daltons.
"Beyond the Law" differs from any picture of this kind now before the public. It is a biograph in animation. It explains the reasons for the organization of the gang, who composed it, its objects, the working out of its career, the many exploits in which they were participants, the planning and scheming, the leadership, and how the various difficulties were met and overcome. It goes deep into the subject and having been filmed under the personal supervision of Emmett Dalton, on the exact locations where many of the deeds actually happened, it is besides a great educational opportunity, an entertainment value too great to be overlooked.
Charleston Daily Mail, March 30, 1923: Emmett Dalton opened his "personal appearance" performance at the Strand theater yesterday. The bill is booked for the balance of the week…
Speaking from grave experience Mr. Dalton quietly tells a moral tale, pointing out the wrong and disadvantages in the life of an outlaw.
Hamilton Evening Journal, March 31, 1923: A really exceptional attraction has been booked for four days presentation at the Regent, beginning next Wednesday. It is Emmett Dalton, the last surviving member…
His story, calmly, tersely told, is said to be a wonderful revelation - one that brings home in a most startling manner that it is heedles and useless to attempt to live beyond the law.
Mr. Dalton, accompanied by his wife, will arrive in Hamilton Wednesday morning and during the stay of the picture at the Regent will appear at least four times daily in person. It is seldom that any of the smaller cities has the opportunity of having Dalton and his picture together as an attraction.
Advertisement, Hamilton, Ohio, April 1923: EMMETT DALTON Sole survivor of the famous DALTON BOYS and last of the outlaws of the Old West will positively appear IN PERSON at each performance in conjunction with "BEYOND THE LAW" A Drama of His Life NOTE: One of the most unique and entertaining attractions ever in New York. - N. Y. World
The Fitchburg Sentinel, May 19, 1923: Emmet Dalton, only survivor of the Dalton gang, says: "What chance has the old-style bandit, who worked with a gun and a blackjack - decent and out in the open - with the modern bandit who lurks in the mahogany office and works with the stock dividend and bankruptcy proceedings? We might as well be honest."
Clearfield Progress, June 26, 1923: Emmet Dalton, the last of the famous Dalton brothers' gang which terrorized the West a generation ago says: "A dollar honestly earned is worth $10,000 obtained by fraudulent means."
Davenport Democrat and Leader, Aug. 1, 1923: Battle Creek, Mich., Aug. 1. - Emmett Dalton is tired of carrying his leaden mementoes around with him.
The famous ex-bandit whose holdup of the Coffeyville, Kan., bank 31 years ago, is a "crime classic", yesterday underwent an operation to have 20 bullets which a posse fired into his body on that occasion removed from his body.
For weeks Dalton, whose older brothers were killed in the holdup, lay at the point of death in Leavenworth state penitentiary. Two of the bullets taken from his body today were large caliber rifle bullets, others ranged from buckshot to pistol bullets.
…Since his release from prison Dalton has lived the life of a respected citizen, making it his life mission going about the country lecturing young men to stay on the straight and narrow path.
Indiana Evening Gazette, Aug. 15, 1923: How the mighty have fallen!
Here we have Emmett Dalton, a member of the notorious - we almost said famous - "Dalton Boys" - an inmate of the Battle Creek Sanatorium.
The fire-eating bandit has become a diet patient. He who used to sleep out in the rain and the snow now takes hot baths and avoids drafts. His plunging steed has given place to a wheelchair. The bullets with which he used to be so free have been replaced by little brown pellets in a pill box under the label - "Take one every hour."
Nineteen years of prison life have made remarkable changes in the bank robber. Nurses at the sanatorium say they cannot imagine the gray-haired Dalton, now 52 years old, soft of speech, with mild eyes and kindly smile, as a member of a band of desperadoes of which the entire Southwest stood in fear for three years and for whom rewards of $40,000 were at one time outstanding.
"Why, he looks more like a lawyer, or a banker," observed one nurse.
There is hardly trace of the former life about Dalton. He looks somewhat heavy now, for a horseman, and took genial frank and friendly ever to have been the man that once he was. His hair, once black, is gray, his face is as smooth and good-natured as a boy's, and his light gray eyes are mild and thoughtful. He is mild mannered, kind and to all appearances a good citizen.
And yet, there are those who say our penitentiaries are but training schools for criminals.
What the writer of the above did not know, is that Emmett had been viewed with that same disbelief at least since October 5, 1892!
The Battle Creek Sanatorium was the most famous health institution in the country, catering for the upper and middle classes. It was elegant, and offered amenities of a first-class hotel. It had medical facilities, promoted healthy living, good diet and exercise, and supported vegetarianism and temperance. Rather than having various bullets removed from his body, Emmett could have been trying a different approach to heal his ever bothersome arm.
at Battle Creek Sanatorium
Hamilton Evening Journal, Sept. 11, 1923: Minneapolis, Minn., Sept. 11. - Emmett Dalton, last survivor of the famous Dalton gang which operated in Kansas and Kentucky years ago yesterday court here seeking $1,000,000 damages from William H. Fawcett, published a monthly magazine, because of articles published in the periodical.
The articles, it is alleged, reflected on the character of the gangsters "who had high code of honor, even in their career of crime."
Since Dalton was released from prison in 1907, he has devoted much of his time to lectures on the subject of right living.
Emmett Dalton appeared personally at the Regent Theater in Hamilton two years ago and made many acquaintances here.
Helena Daily Independent, Nov. 5, 1923: "Novices," opined Emmett Dalton, participant in five train robberies and three big bank robberies, when he learned of the holdup of a fast passenger train in a tunnel in Siskiyou county, California. "A gang of inexperienced novices."
"Novices because they used dynamite, novices because they shot before there was need of shooting. If they had had any experience they would never have tampered with the United States government mails. The fact that they chose the most dangerous victim possible shows that they have little knowledge of their game."
According to Dalton, the section in which the holdup took place is one especially suitable for such business. It is a wild and mountainous country. There is plenty of water and berries and other natural resources. This will make good their temporary escape. But sooner or later they will be forced to come out in the open.
"But it doesn't pay," Dalton said. There was a touch of remorsefulness in his soft blue eyes. Perhaps he was thinking of the time when his brothers were killed and he himself severely wounded when the tried to rob a Coffeyville (Kans.) bank in broad daylight. Or was it the picture of 14 years of miserable existence which he had spent in the Kansas state penitentiary?
"Sooner or later they're bound to be caught. If not today, tomorrow. Life never intended to be otherwise. If they aren't betrayed by some one of their pretended friends they'll keep up their work until they get caught in the act and put away for life."
"We never tampered with the mails or with passenger trains," Dalton continued. "Our holdups were limited to private companies and banks. Smarter men than the California bandits have failed to get away with it. Smarter men than myself have all met the same fate. They may escape temporarily, but they're bound to be caught in the end."
Dalton appears at the Antlers Theater tomorrow and Wednesday with his photoplay "Beyond the Law." "And I have been beyond the law plenty of times," he remarks.
Nevada State Journal, Dec. 23, 1923: Thirty years ago…
Emmett Dalton looks the part - of a preacher, not a bandit. That long black frock coat, his neat black tie with its unobtrusive diamond stickpin, and his broadbrimmed black hat, go well with his softly modulated voice. It is hard to believe as he fingers the heavy gold watch chain across his diaphragm, that at one time he caressed the handle of a six-shooter in the same spot.
Perhaps the fourteen and a half years in the Kansas penitentiary have instilled this sincere modesty, this note of hesitancy, in the fiery spirit that once was the younger Emmett Dalton.
He passes these 14 and a half years off lightly. "I led the simple life for a long time, " he said, "then the governor pardoned me, probably because he thought I was in bad company. There were 27 bankers in jail with me."
But that tinge of humor passes when he says, "I've paid my debt to society. That's more than many men can say today."
Although Dalton freely admits of being in a number of bank robberies and at least five train holdups in Oklahoma he declares that many of the crimes attributed to the Dalton brothers were greatly exaggerated.
"One time," he said, "a train robbery occurred in California and one in Kansas on the same day. It was reported that members of the Dalton gang were recognized at each place. As a matter of fact, all of us were in Oklahoma."
A Kansas banker at another time, Dalton said, claimed to have been taken along with the bank's money to an out of the way spot, and then he, alone, released. He gave good descriptions of the bandits. Police believed them to be the Dalton gang, but one hardhearted Kansas farmer was sceptical. He demanded the investigation of the bank's books.
The banker went to prison for two years. "I had the extreme pleasure of measuring him for a brand new suit of stripes," Dalton laughed.
Though Dalton declares he is a changed man, he champions the outlaw of former days. "At least, bandits were men in those days," he said. "The modern bandit slays from ambush, and substitutes drugs and stimulants for courage."
"The returns were big in those outlaw days but expenses were heavy, We were always broke.
"I feel I have an obligation in this unsettled time, when morals seem to be relaxing, to tell the fellows who are now the age I was when I went outlaw (21) that there's nothing in it, and the end is as certain, even as the end of my brothers and pals.
"I guess the young fellows ought to listen to me when I say 'Don't do it.' Who was it said 'Nobody can rebuke sin like Satan - nobody else knows enough'."
Emmett Dalton is 52. He earns his living now as a real estate man and a motion picture director and actor.
He lectures as his latest picture, "Beyond the Law," a sort of film biography of the Dalton family is shown.
Reno Evening Gazette, Oct. 18, 1924: Emmett Dalton, last of the famous Dalton gang of bandits, who for years has been in the real estate business in Los Angeles, and who is interested in a moving picture showing that a life of crime does not pay, arrived in Reno this morning. He will appear in person at the Grand Theatre the first three days of the week, beginning tomorrow.
The Dalton gang terrorized…
After his release he wrote a book for the purpose of discouraging crime, and later produced his motion picture with the same idea in view.
Modesto Evening News, Nov. 8, 1924: OAKLAND, Nov. 8. - "No sir; times ain't what they used to be," Emmett Dalton, sole survivor of the famous "Dalton gang," told the police here.
"Here I was, just arrived in town and wanting to telephone. I telephoned, alright, but, while I was in the booth, some bird makes off with my suitcase.
"Remember that Coffeyville raid? Well, I wish the bird that got my stuff had been between the two lines of fire."
The Oxnard Daily Courier, Jan. 3, 1925: Banditry is bunk, flappers are fine, and a man can make a comfortable living in real estate and the movies if he so desires, opines Emmett Dalton, the only surviving member of the notorious Dalton gang, who will make a personal appearance Tuesday and Wednesday nights at the Victory theater and who is visiting here today.
Dalton is rotund of stomach and rubicund in countenance, steady of eye and mild mannered and soft spoken - the last man in the world perhaps to be taken for a bandit. A sparkling diamond glitters from his necktie and a friendly gleam radiates from his brown eyes. He is 52 years old but has all of his hair, or a goodly portion of it, and he doesn't wear glasses. He is now a good law-abiding citizen of Los Angeles.
The Dalton gang made life miserable for trainmen and bank cashiers back in the early 90's by its daring and successful robberies. Mr, Dalton's admonition that "there is no glorification in crime," must be heeded, however, so in his own words, "there is nothing to a life of crime."
The Dalton gang broke up or rather was shot up at Coffeyville…
Then Emmett started a life sentence in the Kansas state penitentiary but was pardoned after he had served "fourteen years, five months and 25 days to the minute."
Mr. Dalton then married, moved to California, started a story of his life which later developed into the movie, "Beyond the Law," and now apparently he has stowed away his portion of worldly goods. Dalton takes the leading part in the motion picture.
On January 24, 1925, Emmett's mother, Adeline, died. His name was not listed among the family members attending her funeral. It is possible his presence was not desired as he would attract media attention. While The Man of the Desert was still being shown in theaters, Emmett seems to have stopped going around with Beyond the Law.