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'The Last Day' is the best dramatization of the Dalton Gang's attempt
to rob two banks at the same time on Oct. 5, 1892 in Coffeyville,
Kansas. Will Spence is a fictitious character. Spence brings in the
citizen aspect of rallying the local citizens to stop the bank robbery.
The citizens were the real defenders of the town. The made for TV show
does a good job of following the Dalton Gang to the climatic end. A few
other characters are fictitious as are some situations leading up to
the bank robbery.
Bill Kurtis is making a documentary for the series 'Investigating History' on the History Channel concerning the Dalton Gang. It is planned to be shown sometime in the fall of 2004.
Beginning about 1990 the community of Coffeyville, Kansas started commemorating the Dalton Gang's attempted bank robbery on a weekend closest to the Oct. 5th, 1892 anniversary. A reenactment is presented by local citizens of the attempted bank robbery. The original Condon Bank building still exists. There is a Dalton Museum a block from the bank.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A predictable but polished television horse opera from veteran Paramount producer A.C. Lyles, veteran TV director Vincent McEveety's "The Last Day" is about as good as a made-for-TV western can get. They have spared no expense with a first-class cast and top-notch production values. Robert Conrad is appropriately scruffy looking as lead bank robber Bob Dalton who is thinking about Argentine after his hold-up. He concocts a plan to rob two banks at the same time in Coffeyville and his brothers and friends go along with him on this daring but dangerous outing. Meantime, renowned gunfighter Will Spence has been living quietly in Coffeyville, Kansas, with word floating around about his reputation with a gunslinger. Spence owns a stable, and he keeps his gun belt coiled around his holstered six-gun in a hamper. As the action unfolds, two of Bob's henchmen ride in and try to gun him down, but Spence kills them with nothing but a pitch fork and a lot of luck. Eventually, word gets around that Bob Dalton has been seen around town. When the Daltons ride in a 9:30, everything goes smoothly for Bob and his younger brother Emmett (Tim Matheson) at their bank, while Bob's other brother Grat (Richard Jaeckel of "The Dirty Dozen"), Dick Broadwell (Christopher Connelly of "1990: The Bronx Warriors"), and Bill Powers (Tom Skerritt of "Alien") encounter trouble across the street., The bank manager assures Grat that their bank vault is on a time clock and he cannot open it for another fifteen minutes. What Grat doesn't know is that the bank manager has told him a lie. The town barber (Shrug Fisher) warns Marshal Connelly (Gene Evans) that the Daltons are in town, and Connelly notifies Spence. Spense tells them to assemble, but not to open fire until the Daltons and their minions leave both banks. A trigger-happy towns-person ignores Spence's orders and starts blasting away, and the rest of the armed town's folk follow his lead and open fire. A brief gunfight erupts. Bob is shot off his horse and Emmett shot in the back trying to get Bob off the street. Writers Jim Brynes, Steve Fisher, and A.C. Lyles give the cast interesting dialogue to utter. Not bad for its kind.
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