This page is part of Emmett Dalton; His Life After the Coffeyville Raid
Robert Wells at the Coffeyville fight
D. S. Elliott in the Last Raid of the Daltons: As Bob and Emmett Dalton were passing through the alley, after leaving Eighth Street, they came upon Robert L. Wells, Jr., a boy in his teens, who was crouched behind a platform with a small pistol in his hands, watching for the raiders to come up the alley from Walnut Street. When within a few feet of him, they presented their Winchesters at his head just as he turned his face towards them. They recognized him, and one of the men gave him a tap on top of his head with his gun, and the other gave him a kick and a curse and ordered him to get inside the store. The boy was not slow in obeying the command.
Late in 1908, J. B. Tacket made a movie about Coffeyville which included scenes of the raid. Emmett was asked to assist with these scenes.
Bartlesville Enterprise, March 5, 1909: Believing the motion pictures of the Dalton raid at Coffeyville will be shown in Washington, D. C., and in Baltimore, where he has friends, Robert W. Wells, a Washington lawyer, who had a part in the affair, has written some interesting data regarding his part in the fuss so he will be presented in a true light when his friends see the pictures.
In a letter to Emmet Dalton of Bartlesville today Mr. Wells asks him to see that he is correctly potrayed by the motion picture man and gives this bit of history:
“I am sure you will recall that I was standing at the intersection of the two alleys running west and north from the McKenna and Adamson store, and also in the rear of Wells' Bros., store, with a pistol in my hand.
“I did not know who was resposible for the tumult going on in the center of the square, but I felt called upon to take some part, in the ardor of my youth and the desparation of the moment. Of course I was greatly excited, but representations were made after the smoke of battle cleared away to the effect I had but a 22-caliber pistol.
“I was then about 16 years old and a '22' would have been quite large enough for me but, the fact is, I had run to my Uncle Bob's house, two blocks away from the store, searching for my own pistol, and had siezed a '44' caliber British Bulldog belonging to my Uncle Bob and dashed through the lumber yard of Mr. Brown, giving the alarm.
“At the corner I was overtaken by you and your brothers Bob and Gratton. At that time I had fired four or five times in the direction of Condon's bank in the center of the square. It was when I heard the crash of men breaking through the rear windows of Slosson's drug store [F. D. Benson was climbing through the window with a gun in his hand, Bob shot at him, but the bullet hit the window shattering the glass] and saw other armed men, whom I took to be the besiegers of the town, emerging from the bank in the direction of the alley where I stood, that I turned to go back into Wells Bros., store.
“It was then that I faced you and your brothers Bob and Gratton, and was commanded to tell my business in the alley. I think I spoke up and said:
“ ‘Nothing; I am not doing anything.’
“I ought to have some credit for good sense and presence of mind in that emergency. At any rate, I tried to appear as innocent as possible – and thereupon hinges the story, published by some one who got my pistol and never returned it to me, that I was told to get in out of the wet, and that the 'boy promptly obeyed.'
“However, I remember being struck down at that point, where I played possum until a propitious moment came to escape.
“I saw your act of bravery, for which you have always been given credit, when, after Bob was shot down and helpless, you wheeled your horse and rode deliberately back in the face of the fire of the enraged citizens, and attempted to rescue him.
“I suppose that one act contributed more than anything else to the pardon which you subsequently gained, and to which I was very glad to contribute a recommendation to the governor of your states.”