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Jesse James

Jesse James

Overview
Jesse Woodson James was an American
American Old West
The American Old West, or the Wild West, comprises the history, geography, people, lore, and cultural expression of life in the Western United States, most often referring to the latter half of the 19th century, between the American Civil War and the end of the century...

 outlaw
Outlaw
In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, this takes the burden of active prosecution of a criminal from the authorities. Instead, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute...

, gang leader
Gang Leader
Gang Leader is a very popular Telugu film of megastar Chiranjeevi. The movie was released on 9 May 1991 and directed by Vijaya Bapineedu. It was a huge box office success.-Plot:...

, bank robber, train robber, and murderer from the state of Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 and the most famous member of the James-Younger Gang
James-Younger gang
The James-Younger Gang was a notable 19th-century gang of American outlaws that included Jesse James.The gang was centered in the state of Missouri. Membership fluctuated from robbery to robbery, as the outlaws' raids were usually separated by many months...

. He also faked his own death and was known as J.M James. Already a celebrity when he was alive, he became a legendary figure of the Wild West
American Old West
The American Old West, or the Wild West, comprises the history, geography, people, lore, and cultural expression of life in the Western United States, most often referring to the latter half of the 19th century, between the American Civil War and the end of the century...

 after his death. Some recent scholars place him in the context of regional insurgencies of ex-Confederates
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 following the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 rather than a manifestation of frontier
Frontier
A frontier is a political and geographical term referring to areas near or beyond a boundary. 'Frontier' was absorbed into English from French in the 15th century, with the meaning "borderland"--the region of a country that fronts on another country .The use of "frontier" to mean "a region at the...

 lawlessness or alleged economic justice.

Jesse and his brother Frank James
Frank James
Alexander Franklin "Frank" James was a famous American outlaw. He was the older brother of outlaw Jesse James.-Childhood:...

 were Confederate guerrillas during the Civil War.
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Encyclopedia
Jesse Woodson James was an American
American Old West
The American Old West, or the Wild West, comprises the history, geography, people, lore, and cultural expression of life in the Western United States, most often referring to the latter half of the 19th century, between the American Civil War and the end of the century...

 outlaw
Outlaw
In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, this takes the burden of active prosecution of a criminal from the authorities. Instead, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute...

, gang leader
Gang Leader
Gang Leader is a very popular Telugu film of megastar Chiranjeevi. The movie was released on 9 May 1991 and directed by Vijaya Bapineedu. It was a huge box office success.-Plot:...

, bank robber, train robber, and murderer from the state of Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 and the most famous member of the James-Younger Gang
James-Younger gang
The James-Younger Gang was a notable 19th-century gang of American outlaws that included Jesse James.The gang was centered in the state of Missouri. Membership fluctuated from robbery to robbery, as the outlaws' raids were usually separated by many months...

. He also faked his own death and was known as J.M James. Already a celebrity when he was alive, he became a legendary figure of the Wild West
American Old West
The American Old West, or the Wild West, comprises the history, geography, people, lore, and cultural expression of life in the Western United States, most often referring to the latter half of the 19th century, between the American Civil War and the end of the century...

 after his death. Some recent scholars place him in the context of regional insurgencies of ex-Confederates
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 following the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 rather than a manifestation of frontier
Frontier
A frontier is a political and geographical term referring to areas near or beyond a boundary. 'Frontier' was absorbed into English from French in the 15th century, with the meaning "borderland"--the region of a country that fronts on another country .The use of "frontier" to mean "a region at the...

 lawlessness or alleged economic justice.

Jesse and his brother Frank James
Frank James
Alexander Franklin "Frank" James was a famous American outlaw. He was the older brother of outlaw Jesse James.-Childhood:...

 were Confederate guerrillas during the Civil War. They were accused of participating in atrocities committed against Union soldiers. After the war, as members of one gang or another, they robbed banks, stagecoaches, and trains. Despite popular portrayals of James as a kind of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, there is no evidence that he and his gang used their robbery gains for anyone but themselves.

The James brothers were most active with their gang from about 1866 until 1876, when their attempted robbery of a bank in Northfield, Minnesota
Northfield, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,147 people, 4,909 households, and 3,210 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,452.2 people per square mile . There were 5,119 housing units at an average density of 732.1 per square mile...

, resulted in the capture or deaths of several members. They continued in crime for several years, recruiting new members, but were under increasing pressure from law enforcement. On April 3, 1882, Jesse James was killed by Robert Ford
Robert Ford (outlaw)
Robert Newton "Bob" Ford was an American outlaw best known for killing his gang leader Jesse James in 1882. Ford was shot to death by Edward O'Kelley in his tent saloon with a shotgun blast to the front upper body...

, who was a member of the gang living in the James house and who was hoping to collect a state reward on James' head.

Early life


Jesse Woodson James was born in Clay County, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, near the site of present day Kearney
Kearney, Missouri
Kearney is a city in Clay County, Missouri, United States. The population was estimated to be 8,599 in 2008. It is most famous for being the birthplace of Jesse James, and there is an annual festival in the third weekend of September to recognize the notorious outlaw.Kearney was unofficially...

, on September 5, 1847. Jesse James had two full siblings: his older brother, Alexander Franklin "Frank"
Frank James
Alexander Franklin "Frank" James was a famous American outlaw. He was the older brother of outlaw Jesse James.-Childhood:...

, and a younger sister, Susan Lavenia James. Across a creek and up a hill from the house on the right was the home of Daniel Askew, where Askew was killed on April 12, 1875. Askew was suspected of cooperating with the Pinkertons in the January 1875 arson of the house (in a room on the left). James's original grave was on the property but he was later moved to a cemetery in Kearney. The original footstone is still outside, although the family has replaced the headstone.

His father, Robert S. James was a commercial hemp
Hemp
Hemp is mostly used as a name for low tetrahydrocannabinol strains of the plant Cannabis sativa, of fiber and/or oilseed varieties. In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food and fuel with modest...

 farmer
Farmer
A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture, who raises living organisms for food or raw materials, generally including livestock husbandry and growing crops, such as produce and grain...

 and Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

 minister in Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

, who migrated to Bradford, Missouri after marriage and helped found William Jewell College
William Jewell College
William Jewell College is a private, four-year liberal arts college of 1,100 undergraduate students located in Liberty, Missouri, U.S. It was founded in 1849 by members of the Missouri Baptist Convention and other civic leaders, including Robert S. James, a Baptist minister and father of the...

 in Liberty, Missouri
Liberty, Missouri
Liberty is a city in Clay County, Missouri and is a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. At the 2007 population estimate, the city population was 29,993...

. He was prosperous, acquiring six slaves and more than 100 acre (0.404686 km²) of farmland. Robert James travelled to California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 during the Gold Rush
Gold rush
A gold rush is a period of feverish migration of workers to an area that has had a dramatic discovery of gold. Major gold rushes took place in the 19th century in Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, and the United States, while smaller gold rushes took place elsewhere.In the 19th and early...

 to minister to those searching for gold and died there when Jesse was three years old.

After the death of Robert James, his widow Zerelda
Zerelda James
Zerelda Elizabeth Cole James Simms Samuel was the mother of Frank James and Jesse James.Born as Zerelda Elizabeth Cole in Woodford County, Kentucky her parents were James and Sarah Lindsay Cole; she had one younger brother, Jesse Richard Cole...

 remarried twice, first to Benjamin Simms and then in 1855 to Dr. Reuben Samuel
Reuben Samuel
Dr. Reuben Samuel was the stepfather of the American outlaws Frank and Jesse James.The third husband of Frank and Jesse's mother, Zerelda Reuben, was the son of Fielding and Louisa Samuel, and was 27 years old when he married Zerelda on September 25, 1855. He was described as a "quiet, passive...

, who moved into the James' home. Jesse's mother and Reuben Samuel had four children together: Sarah Louisa, John Thomas, Fannie Quantrell, and Archie Peyton Samuel. Zerelda and Reuben Samuel acquired a total of seven slaves, who served mainly as farmhands in tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 cultivation in Missouri.

Historical context


The approach of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 overshadowed the James-Samuel household. Missouri was a border state, sharing characteristics of both North and South, but 75% of the population was from the South or other border states. Clay County was in a region of Missouri later dubbed "Little Dixie
Little Dixie (Missouri)
Little Dixie is a 13- to 17-county region of Missouri found along the Missouri River, settled primarily by migrants from the hemp and tobacco districts of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. Today, the region identifies with the Midwest, but because of Southerners settling there first, the...

," as it was a center of migration from the Upper South. Farmers raised the same crops and livestock as in the areas they migrated from. They brought slaves with them and purchased more according to need. The county had more slaveholders, who held more slaves, than in other regions. Aside from slavery, the culture of Little Dixie was Southern in other ways as well. This influenced how the population acted during and for a period of time after the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. In Missouri as a whole, slaves accounted for only 10 percent of the population, but in Clay County they constituted 25 percent.

After the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act
Kansas-Nebraska Act
The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opening new lands for settlement, and had the effect of repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820 by allowing settlers in those territories to determine through Popular Sovereignty if they would allow slavery within...

 in 1854, Clay County became the scene of great turmoil, as the question of whether slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 would be expanded into the neighboring Kansas Territory came to dominate public life. Numerous people from Missouri migrated to Kansas to try to influence its future. Much of the tension that led up to the Civil War centered on the violence that erupted
Bleeding Kansas
Bleeding Kansas, Bloody Kansas or the Border War, was a series of violent events, involving anti-slavery Free-Staters and pro-slavery "Border Ruffian" elements, that took place in the Kansas Territory and the western frontier towns of the U.S. state of Missouri roughly between 1854 and 1858...

 in Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

 between pro- and anti-slavery militias.

American Civil War


The Civil War may have shaped the life of Jesse James. After a series of campaigns and battles between conventional armies in 1861, guerrilla warfare gripped the state, waged between secessionist "bushwhackers" and Union
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 forces which largely consisted of local militia
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

 organizations ("jayhawkers"). A bitter conflict ensued, bringing an escalating cycle of atrocities by both sides. Guerrillas murdered civilian Unionists, executed prisoners and scalped
Scalping
Scalping is the act of removing another person's scalp or a portion of their scalp, either from a dead body or from a living person. The initial purpose of scalping was to provide a trophy of battle or portable proof of a combatant's prowess in war...

 the dead. Union forces enforced martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 with raids
Raid (military)
Raid, also known as depredation, is a military tactic or operational warfare mission which has a specific purpose and is not normally intended to capture and hold terrain, but instead finish with the raiding force quickly retreating to a previous defended position prior to the enemy forces being...

 on homes, arrests of civilians, summary executions and banishment
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

 of Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 sympathizers from the state.

The James-Samuel family took the Confederate side at the outset of the war. Frank James joined a local company recruited for the secessionist Drew Lobbs Army, and fought at the Battle of Wilson's Creek
Battle of Wilson's Creek
The Battle of Wilson's Creek, also known as the Battle of Oak Hills, was fought on August 10, 1861, near Springfield, Missouri, between Union forces and the Missouri State Guard, early in the American Civil War. It was the first major battle of the war west of the Mississippi River and is sometimes...

, though he fell ill and returned home soon afterward. In 1863, he was identified as a member of a guerrilla squad that operated in Clay County. In May of that year, a Union militia company raided the James-Samuel farm, looking for Frank's group. They torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

d Reuben Samuel by briefly hanging him from a tree. According to legend, they lashed young Jesse.

Quantrill's Raiders


Frank eluded capture and was believed to have joined the guerrilla organization led by William C. Quantrill
William Quantrill
William Clarke Quantrill was a Confederate guerrilla leader during the American Civil War. After leading a Confederate bushwhacker unit along the Missouri-Kansas border in the early 1860s, which included the infamous raid and sacking of Lawrence, Kansas in 1863, Quantrill eventually ended up in...

. It is thought that he took part in the notorious massacre of some 200 men and boys in Lawrence, Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas
Lawrence is the sixth largest city in the U.S. State of Kansas and the county seat of Douglas County. Located in northeastern Kansas, Lawrence is the anchor city of the Lawrence, Kansas, Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Douglas County...

, a center of abolitionists.

Frank James followed Quantrill to Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 over the winter of 1863–64. In the spring he returned in a squad commanded by Fletch Taylor. After they arrived in Clay County, 16-year-old Jesse James joined his brother in Taylor's group.

In the summer of 1864, Taylor was severely wounded, losing his right arm to a shotgun
Shotgun
A shotgun is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug...

 blast. The James brothers joined the bushwhacker group led by Bloody Bill Anderson
William T. Anderson
William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson was a pro-Confederate guerrilla leader in the American Civil War.Anderson was known for his brutality towards Union soldiers, and pro Union partisans, who were called Jayhawkers. Anderson participated in Quantrill's raid on Lawrence, Kansas on August 21, 1863...

. Jesse suffered a serious wound to the chest that summer. The Clay County provost marshal reported that both Frank and Jesse James took part in the Centralia Massacre
Centralia Massacre (Missouri)
The Centralia Massacre was an incident during the American Civil War in which twenty-four unarmed Union soldiers were captured and executed at Centralia, Missouri on September 27, 1864 by the pro-Confederate guerrilla leader William T. Anderson...

 in September, in which guerrillas killed or wounded some 22 unarmed Union troops; the guerrillas scalped and dismembered some of the dead. The guerrillas ambush
Ambush
An ambush is a long-established military tactic, in which the aggressors take advantage of concealment and the element of surprise to attack an unsuspecting enemy from concealed positions, such as among dense underbrush or behind hilltops...

ed and defeated a pursuing regiment of Major A.V.E. Johnson's Union troops, killing all who tried to surrender (more than 100). Frank later identified Jesse as a member of the band who had fatally shot Major Johnson. As a result of the James brothers' activities, the Union military authorities made their family leave Clay County. Though ordered to move South beyond Union lines, instead they moved across the nearby state border into Nebraska.

After Anderson was killed in an ambush in October, the James brothers separated. Frank followed Quantrill into Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

; Jesse went to Texas under the command of Archie Clement
Archie Clement
Archie Clement , a.k.a "Little Arch", was a pro-Confederate guerrilla leader in the American Civil War, known for his brutality towards Union soldiers and pro-Union civilians in Missouri.-Little Archie, the bushwhacker:...

, one of Anderson's lieutenants. He is known to have returned to Missouri in the spring. Jesse was shot while trying to surrender when they ran into a Union cavalry
Cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

 patrol near Lexington, Missouri
Lexington, Missouri
Lexington is a city in Lafayette County, Missouri, United States. The population was 4,453 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Lafayette County. Located in western Missouri, Lexington lies about 40 miles east of Kansas City and is part of the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area...

. Jesse James suffered the second of two life-threatening chest wounds.

After the Civil War



At the end of the Civil War, Missouri was in shambles. The conflict split the population into three bitterly opposed factions: anti-slavery Unionists, identified with the Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

; the segregationist conservative Unionists, identified with the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

; and pro-slavery, ex-Confederate secessionists, many of whom were also allied with the Democrats, especially the southern part of the party. The Republican Reconstruction administration passed a new state constitution that freed Missouri's slaves. It temporarily excluded former Confederates from voting, serving on juries, becoming corporate officers, or preaching from church pulpits. The atmosphere was volatile, with widespread clashes between individuals, and between armed gangs of veterans from both sides of the war.

Jesse recovered from his chest wound at his uncle's Missouri boardinghouse, where he was tended to by his first cousin, Zerelda "Zee" Mimms
Zerelda Mimms
Zerelda Amanda Mimms James was the first cousin and wife of Jesse James.-Personal life:Zerelda Amanda Mimms was the daughter of Mary James and Pastor John Wilson Mimms. Her mother was a paternal aunt of Jesse James', the sister of his father, Robert S...

, named after Jesse's mother. Jesse and his cousin began a nine-year courtship, culminating in marriage. Meanwhile, his old commander Archie Clement
Archie Clement
Archie Clement , a.k.a "Little Arch", was a pro-Confederate guerrilla leader in the American Civil War, known for his brutality towards Union soldiers and pro-Union civilians in Missouri.-Little Archie, the bushwhacker:...

 kept his bushwhacker gang together and began to harass Republican authorities.

These men were the likely culprits in the first daylight armed bank robbery in the United States during peacetime, the robbery of the Clay County Savings Association in the town of Liberty, Missouri
Liberty, Missouri
Liberty is a city in Clay County, Missouri and is a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. At the 2007 population estimate, the city population was 29,993...

, on February 13, 1866. This bank was owned by Republican former militia officers who had recently conducted the first Republican Party rally in Clay County's history. One innocent bystander, a student of William Jewell College
William Jewell College
William Jewell College is a private, four-year liberal arts college of 1,100 undergraduate students located in Liberty, Missouri, U.S. It was founded in 1849 by members of the Missouri Baptist Convention and other civic leaders, including Robert S. James, a Baptist minister and father of the...

 (which James's father had helped to found), was shot dead on the street during the gang's escape. It remains unclear whether Jesse and Frank took part.

After their later robberies took place and they became legends, there were those who credited them with being the leaders of the Clay County robbery. It has been argued in rebuttal that James was at the time still bedridden with his wound. No concrete evidence has surfaced to connect either brother to the crime, or to rule them out. On June 13, 1866 in Jackson County, Missouri two jailed members of Quantril's gang were demanded to be freed by a gang and the Jailor killed it is believed the James Brothers were involved.

This was a time of increasing local violence; Governor Fletcher had recently ordered a company of militia into Johnson County
Johnson County, Missouri
Johnson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of 2010, the population was 52,595. Its county seat is Warrensburg. The county was formed 13 December 1834 from Lafayette County and was named for Vice President Richard M...

 to suppress guerrilla activity. Archie Clement
Archie Clement
Archie Clement , a.k.a "Little Arch", was a pro-Confederate guerrilla leader in the American Civil War, known for his brutality towards Union soldiers and pro-Union civilians in Missouri.-Little Archie, the bushwhacker:...

 continued his career of crime and harassment of the Republican government, to the extent of occupying the town of Lexington, Missouri
Lexington, Missouri
Lexington is a city in Lafayette County, Missouri, United States. The population was 4,453 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Lafayette County. Located in western Missouri, Lexington lies about 40 miles east of Kansas City and is part of the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area...

, on election day in 1866. Shortly afterward, the state militia shot Clement dead, an event James wrote about with bitterness a decade later.

The survivors of Clement's gang continued to conduct bank robberies over the next two years, though their numbers dwindled through arrests, gunfights, and lynchings. While they later tried to justify robbing the banks, these were small, local banks with local capital, not part of the national system that was an object of popular discontent in the 1860s and 1870s. On May 23, 1867, for example, they robbed a bank in Richmond, Missouri
Richmond, Missouri
Richmond is a city in Ray County, Missouri, United States. The population was 5,797 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Ray County.-Geography:Richmond is located at...

, in which they killed the mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 and two others. It remains uncertain whether either of the James brothers took part, although an eyewitness who knew the brothers told a newspaper seven years later "positively and emphatically that he recognized Jesse and Frank James ... among the robbers." In 1868, Frank and Jesse James allegedly joined Cole Younger
Cole Younger
Thomas Coleman "Cole" Younger was an American Confederate guerrilla during the American Civil War and later an outlaw with the James-Younger gang...

 in robbing a bank at Russellville, Kentucky
Russellville, Kentucky
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,149 people, 3,064 households, and 1,973 families residing in the city. The population density was 672.1 people per square mile . There were 3,458 housing units at an average density of 325.1 per square mile...

.

Jesse James did not become famous, however, until December 7, 1869, when he and (most likely) Frank robbed the Daviess County Savings Association in Gallatin, Missouri
Gallatin, Missouri
Gallatin is a city in Daviess County, Missouri, United States. The population was 1,789 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Daviess County.-History:...

. The robbery netted little money, but it appears that Jesse shot and killed the cashier, Captain John Sheets, mistakenly believing him to be Samuel P. Cox, the militia
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

 officer who had killed "Bloody Bill" Anderson
William T. Anderson
William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson was a pro-Confederate guerrilla leader in the American Civil War.Anderson was known for his brutality towards Union soldiers, and pro Union partisans, who were called Jayhawkers. Anderson participated in Quantrill's raid on Lawrence, Kansas on August 21, 1863...

 during the Civil War. James's self-proclaimed attempt at revenge, and the daring escape he and Frank made through the middle of a posse shortly afterward, put his name in the newspapers for the first time. An 1882 history of Daviess County said, "The history of Daviess County has no blacker crime in its pages than the murder of John W. Sheets."

The 1869 robbery marked the emergence of Jesse James as the most famous of the former guerrillas and the first time he was publicly labeled an "outlaw," as Missouri Governor Thomas T. Crittenden
Thomas Theodore Crittenden
Thomas Theodore Crittenden was a United States colonel during the American Civil War, and served as the 24th Governor of Missouri from 1881 to 1885.-Early life and education:...

 set a reward for his capture. This was the beginning of an alliance between James and John Newman Edwards
John Newman Edwards
Major John Newman Edwards, CSA, was famed General Joseph O. Shelby’s adjutant during the American Civil War, an author, a journalist and the founder of the Kansas City Times. He is perhaps best known for contributing to the folk hero status of outlaw Jesse James.-Early life:John N. Edwards was...

, editor and founder of the Kansas City Times
Kansas City Times
The Kansas City Times was a morning newspaper in Kansas City, Missouri, that was published from 1867 to 1990.The morning Kansas City Times, under ownership of afternoon The Kansas City Star, won two Pulitzer Prizes and was actually bigger than its parent when its name was changed to the...

. Edwards, a former Confederate cavalryman, was campaigning to return former secessionists to power in Missouri. Six months after the Gallatin robbery, Edwards published the first of many letters from Jesse James to the republic, asserting his innocence. Over time, the letters gradually became more political in tone, denouncing the Republicans and voicing James' pride in his Confederate loyalties. Together with Edwards's admiring editorials, the letters turned James into a symbol of Confederate defiance of Reconstruction. Jesse James's initiative in creating his rising public profile is debated by historians and biographers, though the tense politics certainly surrounded his outlaw career and enhanced his notoriety.

Meanwhile, the James brothers joined with Cole Younger and his brothers John, Jim, and Bob as well as Clell Miller and other former Confederates to form what came to be known as the James-Younger Gang. With Jesse James as the public face of the gang (though with operational leadership likely shared among the group), the gang carried out a string of robberies from Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

 to Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, and from Kansas to West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

. They robbed banks, stagecoaches, and a fair in Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

, often in front of large crowds, even hamming it up for the bystanders.

On July 21, 1873, they turned to train robbery
Train robbery
Train robbery is a type of robbery, in which the goal is to steal money or other valuables being carried aboard trains.-History:Train robberies were more common in the past than today, and often occurred in the American Old West. Trains carrying payroll shipments were a major target...

, derailing the Rock Island
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad
The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad was a Class I railroad in the United States. It was also known as the Rock Island Line, or, in its final years, The Rock.-Incorporation:...

 train in Adair, Iowa
Adair, Iowa
Adair is a city in Adair and Guthrie Counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 839 at the 2000 census.The Guthrie County portion of Adair is part of the Des Moines–West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.-History:...

 and stealing approximately $3,000 ($51,000 in 2007). For this, they wore Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

 masks, deliberately taking on a potent symbol years after the Klan had been suppressed in the South by President Grant's use of the Force Acts
Force Acts
Force Acts can refer to several groups of acts passed by the United States Congress. The term usually refers to the events after the American Civil War.-Andrew Jackson's Tariff Enforcement :The Force Bill, 4 Stat...

. Former rebels attacked the railroads as symbols of threatening centralization.

The James' gang's later train robberies had a lighter touch. In only two train hold-ups did they rob passengers, because James typically limited himself to the express safe in the baggage car. Such techniques reinforced the Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 image that Edwards created in his newspapers, but the James gang never shared any of the robbery money outside their circle.

Pinkertons


The Adams Express Company
Adams Express Company
The Adams Express Company is a publicly traded diversified equity fund that traces its roots to a 19th century freight and cargo transport company. The Company uses a conservative investment philosophy, and the portfolio is managed with the expectation that it will generate solid returns with...

 turned to the Pinkerton National Detective Agency
Pinkerton National Detective Agency
The Pinkerton National Detective Agency, usually shortened to the Pinkertons, is a private U.S. security guard and detective agency established by Allan Pinkerton in 1850. Pinkerton became famous when he claimed to have foiled a plot to assassinate president-elect Abraham Lincoln, who later hired...

 in 1874 to stop the James-Younger gang
James-Younger gang
The James-Younger Gang was a notable 19th-century gang of American outlaws that included Jesse James.The gang was centered in the state of Missouri. Membership fluctuated from robbery to robbery, as the outlaws' raids were usually separated by many months...

. The Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

-based agency worked primarily against urban professional criminals, as well as providing industrial security, such as strike breaking
Strikebreaker
A strikebreaker is a person who works despite an ongoing strike. Strikebreakers are usually individuals who are not employed by the company prior to the trade union dispute, but rather hired prior to or during the strike to keep the organisation running...

. Because the gang
James-Younger gang
The James-Younger Gang was a notable 19th-century gang of American outlaws that included Jesse James.The gang was centered in the state of Missouri. Membership fluctuated from robbery to robbery, as the outlaws' raids were usually separated by many months...

 received support by many former Confederate soldiers in Missouri, they eluded the Pinkertons. Joseph Whicher, an agent dispatched to infiltrate Zerelda Samuel's farm, shortly afterwards was found killed. Two others, Captain Louis J. Lull and John Boyle, were sent after the Youngers; Lull was killed by two of the Youngers in a roadside gunfight on March 17, 1874. Before he died, Lull fatally shot John Younger
John Younger
John Harrison Younger was an American outlaw, the brother of Cole, Jim and Bob.-Biography:He was the 11th child of Henry Washington Younger and Bersheba Leighton Fristoe's 14 children and their 5th son, the fourth to survive into adulthood.In July, 1862, his father was shot and killed while on a...

. A deputy sheriff named Edwin Daniels also died in the skirmish.

Allan Pinkerton
Allan Pinkerton
Allan Pinkerton was a Scottish American detective and spy, best known for creating the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.-Early life, career and immigration:...

, the agency's founder and leader, took on the case as a personal vendetta. He began to work with former Unionists who lived near the James family farm. On the night of January 25, 1875, he staged a raid on the homestead. Detectives threw an incendiary device into the house; it exploded, killing James's young half-brother Archie (named for Archie Clement) and blowing off one of the arms of mother Zerelda Samuel. Afterward, Pinkerton denied that the raid's intent was arson
Arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

, but biographer Ted Yeatman located a letter by Pinkerton in the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

 in which Pinkerton declared his intention to "burn the house down."

The raid on the family home outraged many, and did more than all of Edwards's columns to create sympathy for Jesse James. The Missouri state legislature only narrowly defeated a bill that praised the James and Younger brothers and offered them amnesty
Amnesty
Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the...

. Allowed to vote and hold office again, former Confederates voted to limit reward offers that the governor could make for fugitives. This extended a measure of protection over the James-Younger gang
James-Younger gang
The James-Younger Gang was a notable 19th-century gang of American outlaws that included Jesse James.The gang was centered in the state of Missouri. Membership fluctuated from robbery to robbery, as the outlaws' raids were usually separated by many months...

. (Only Frank and Jesse James previously had been singled out for rewards larger than the new limit.)

Downfall of the gang


Jesse and his cousin Zee
Zerelda Mimms
Zerelda Amanda Mimms James was the first cousin and wife of Jesse James.-Personal life:Zerelda Amanda Mimms was the daughter of Mary James and Pastor John Wilson Mimms. Her mother was a paternal aunt of Jesse James', the sister of his father, Robert S...

 married on April 24, 1874, and had two children who survived to adulthood: Jesse Edward James
Jesse E. James
Jesse Edward James , commonly known as Tim, was the only surviving son of American outlaw Jesse Woodson James. He was born in Nashville, Tennessee during the height of Jesse James' career as an outlaw. His mother was Zerelda, Jesse James' wife and his first cousin.-Personal life:James was named...

 (b. 1875) and Mary Susan James (b. 1879). Twins Gould and Montgomery James (b. 1878) died in infancy. Jesse, Jr. became a lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri and Los Angeles, California.

On September 7, 1876, the James-Younger gang attempted a raid on the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota
Northfield, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,147 people, 4,909 households, and 3,210 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,452.2 people per square mile . There were 5,119 housing units at an average density of 732.1 per square mile...

. After this robbery and a manhunt, only Frank and Jesse James were left alive and uncaptured. Cole and Bob Younger later stated that they selected the bank because they believed it was associated with the Republican politician Adelbert Ames
Adelbert Ames
Adelbert Ames was an American sailor, soldier, and politician. He served with distinction as a Union Army general during the American Civil War. As a Radical Republican and a Carpetbagger, he was military governor, Senator and civilian governor in Reconstruction-era Mississippi...

, the governor of Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

 during Reconstruction, and Union general Benjamin Butler
Benjamin Franklin Butler (politician)
Benjamin Franklin Butler was an American lawyer and politician who represented Massachusetts in the United States House of Representatives and later served as the 33rd Governor of Massachusetts....

, Ames' father-in-law and the Union commander of occupied New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

. Ames was a stockholder in the bank, but Butler had no direct connection to it.

The gang attempted to rob the bank in Northfield about 2 p.m. on September 7, 1876 but the robbery was bungled because several gang members had been drinking that morning, something Jesse James would never have permitted had he been present in Northfield. This was a primary reason Jesse James was never indicted for the Northfield crimes. Jesse James was a highly disciplined Confederate terrorist in his day, but he never drank alcohol and never permitted his gang members to drink alcohol on the job because he had seen the disastrous results of drunken raids during and after the war. Northfield residents had seen the gang members leave a local restaurant near the mill shortly after noon, and they testified in Faribault at the Younger brothers' trial that they smelled of alcohol and that gang members were obviously under the influence when they greeted General Ames near the mill. The Northfield bank robbery was a debacle Jesse James would never have permitted had he been present that day. To carry out the robbery, the gang divided into two groups. Three men entered the bank, two guarded the door outside, and three remained near a bridge across an adjacent square. The robbers inside the bank were thwarted when acting cashier Joseph Lee Heywood
Joseph Lee Heywood
Joseph Lee Heywood was the acting cashier at the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota when the James-Younger Gang attempted to rob the bank...

 refused to open the safe, falsely claiming that it was secured by a time lock
Time lock
A time lock is a part of a locking mechanism commonly found in bank vaults and other high-security containers. The timelock is a timer designed to prevent the opening of the safe or vault until it reaches 0, even if the correct combination are known...

 even as they held a bowie knife
Bowie knife
A Bowie knife is a pattern of fixed-blade fighting knife first popularized by Colonel James "Jim" Bowie in the early 19th Century. Since the first incarnation was created by James Black, the Bowie knife has come to incorporate several recognizable and characteristic design features, although its...

 to his throat
Throat
In vertebrate anatomy, the throat is the anterior part of the neck, in front of the vertebral column. It consists of the pharynx and larynx...

 and cracked his skull
Skull fracture
A skull fracture is a break in one or more of the bones in the skull usually occurring as a result of blunt force trauma. If the force of the impact is excessive the bone may fracture at or near the site of the impact...

 with a pistol butt. Assistant cashier Alonzo Enos Bunker was wounded in the shoulder as he fled out the back door of the bank.

Meanwhile, the citizens of Northfield grew suspicious of the men guarding the door and raised the alarm. The five bandits outside fired in the air to clear the streets, which drove the townspeople to take cover and fire back from protected positions. Two bandits were shot dead and the rest were wounded in the barrage. Inside, the outlaws turned to flee. As they left, one shot the unarmed cashier Heywood in the head. Historians have speculated about the identity of the shooter but have not reached consensus on his identity.

The gang barely escaped Northfield, leaving two dead companions behind. They killed two innocent victims, Heywood, and Nicholas Gustafson
Nicholas Gustafson
Nicholas Gustafson was a Swedish immigrant who was mortally wounded in the James-Younger Gang bank raid in Northfield, Minnesota. Various sources use alternate spellings of his names including Nicolaus, Nicholaus or Niclas and Gustavson...

, a Swedish immigrant from the Millersburg community west of Northfield. A massive manhunt ensued. It is believed that the gang burned 14 Rice County mills shortly after the robbery. The James brothers eventually split from the others and escaped to Missouri. The militia soon discovered the Youngers and one other bandit, Charlie Pitts. In a gunfight, Pitts died and the Youngers were taken prisoner. Except for Frank and Jesse James, the James-Younger Gang was destroyed.

Later in 1876, Jesse and Frank James surfaced in the Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

 area, where they went by the names of Thomas Howard and B. J. Woodson, respectively. Frank seemed to settle down, but Jesse remained restless. He recruited a new gang in 1879 and returned to crime, holding up a train at Glendale, Missouri (now part of Independence, Missouri
Independence, Missouri
Independence is the fourth largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri, and is contained within the counties of Jackson and Clay. It is part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area...

), on October 8, 1879. The robbery was the first of a spree of crimes, including the holdup of the federal paymaster of a canal project in Killen, Alabama
Killen, Alabama
Killen is a town in Lauderdale County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Florence - Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Statistical Area known as "The Shoals". As of the 2000 census, the population of the town is 1,190.-Geography:...

, and two more train robberies. But the new gang did not consist of battle-hardened guerrillas; they soon turned against each other or were captured, while James grew paranoid, killing one gang member and frightening away another.

By 1881, with authorities growing suspicious, the brothers returned to Missouri where they felt safer. In December, Jesse rented a house in Saint Joseph, Missouri
Saint Joseph, Missouri
Saint Joseph is the second largest city in northwest Missouri, only second to Kansas City in size, serving as the county seat for Buchanan County. As of the 2010 census, Saint Joseph had a total population of 76,780, making it the eighth largest city in the state. The St...

, not far from where he had been born and raised. Frank, however, decided to move to safer territory, heading east to Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

.

Death



With his gang nearly annihilated, James trusted only the Ford brothers, Charley
Charles Ford (outlaw)
Charles Wilson "Charley" Ford was an outlaw, and member of the James Gang. He was the lesser known brother of Robert Ford, the killer of Jesse James...

 and Robert
Robert Ford (outlaw)
Robert Newton "Bob" Ford was an American outlaw best known for killing his gang leader Jesse James in 1882. Ford was shot to death by Edward O'Kelley in his tent saloon with a shotgun blast to the front upper body...

. Although Charley had been out on raids with James, Bob was an eager new recruit. For protection, James asked the Ford brothers to move in with him and his family. James had often stayed with their sister Martha Bolton and, according to rumor, he was "smitten" with her. James did not know that Bob Ford had been conducting secret negotiations with Thomas T. Crittenden
Thomas Theodore Crittenden
Thomas Theodore Crittenden was a United States colonel during the American Civil War, and served as the 24th Governor of Missouri from 1881 to 1885.-Early life and education:...

, the Missouri governor, to bring in the famous outlaw. Crittenden had made capture of the James brothers his top priority; in his inaugural address he declared that no political motives could be allowed to keep them from justice. Barred by law from offering a sufficiently large reward, he had turned to the railroad and express corporations to put up a $5,000 bounty for each of them.

On April 3, 1882, after eating breakfast, the Fords and James prepared to depart for another robbery. They went in and out of the house to ready the horses. As it was an unusually hot day, James removed his coat, then declared that he should remove his firearms as well, lest he look suspicious. Noticing a dusty picture on the wall, he stood on a chair to clean it. Bob Ford shot James in the back of the head.
James' two previous bullet wounds and partially missing middle finger served to positively identify the body.

The murder of Jesse James became a national sensation. The Fords made no attempt to hide their role. Indeed, Robert Ford wired the governor to claim his reward. Crowds pressed into the little house in St. Joseph to see the dead bandit, even while the Ford brothers surrendered to the authorities but they were dismayed to find that they were charged with first degree murder. In the course of a single day, the Ford brothers were indicted, pleaded guilty, were sentenced to death by hanging
Hanging
Hanging is the lethal suspension of a person by a ligature. The Oxford English Dictionary states that hanging in this sense is "specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck", though it formerly also referred to crucifixion and death by impalement in which the body would remain...

, and two hours later were granted a full pardon by Governor Crittenden.

The governor's quick pardon suggested that he knew the brothers intended to kill James rather than capture him. Like many who knew James, the Ford brothers never believed it was practical to try to take him into custody. The implication that the chief executive of Missouri conspired to kill a private citizen startled the public and added to James' notoriety.

After receiving a small portion of the reward, the Fords fled Missouri. Law enforcement officials active in the plan also shared the bounty. Later the Ford brothers starred in a touring stage show in which they reenacted the shooting.

Suffering from tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 (then incurable) and a morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

 addiction, Charley Ford committed suicide on May 6, 1884, in Richmond, Missouri
Richmond, Missouri
Richmond is a city in Ray County, Missouri, United States. The population was 5,797 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Ray County.-Geography:Richmond is located at...

. Bob Ford operated a tent saloon in Creede, Colorado
Creede, Colorado
The historic town of Creede is a Statutory Town that is the county seat of, and the only incorporated municipality in, Mineral County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 377 at the U.S. Census 2000.-History:...

. On June 8, 1892, a man named Edward O'Kelley
Edward Capehart O'Kelley
Edward Capehart O'Kelley was notable as the man who murdered Robert Ford, who had killed Jesse James to receive a bounty. He was the subject of a book, Ed O'Kelley: The Man Who Killed Jesse James' Murderer, by Judith Ries, O'Kelley's great-great-niece...

, went to Creede, loaded a double barrel shotgun, entered Ford's saloon and said "Hello, Bob" before shooting Bob Ford in the throat, killing him instantly. O'Kelley was sentenced to life in prison. O'Kelley's sentence was subsequently commuted because of a 7,000 signature petition in favor of his release. The governor pardoned him on October 3, 1902.

James' mother Zerelda Samuel wrote the following epitaph for him: In Loving Memory of my Beloved Son, Murdered by a Traitor and Coward Whose Name is not Worthy to Appear Here. James's widow Zee died alone and in poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

.

Rumors of survival


Rumors of Jesse James's survival proliferated almost as soon as the newspapers announced his death. Some said that Robert Ford killed someone other than James, in an elaborate plot to allow him to escape justice. These tales have received little credence, then or later. None of James's biographers has accepted them as plausible. The body buried in Kearney, Missouri, as Jesse James's was exhumed in 1995 and subjected to mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria, structures within eukaryotic cells that convert the chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate...

 typing. The report, prepared by Anne C. Stone, Ph.D., James E. Starrs, L.L.M., and Mark Stoneking, Ph.D., stated the mtDNA recovered from the remains was consistent with the mtDNA of one of James's relatives in the female line. This theme resurfaced in a 2009 documentary, Jesse James' Hidden Treasure, which aired on the History Channel. The documentary was dismissed as pseudo-history and pseudo-science by historian Nancy Samuelson in a review she wrote for Winter, 2009-2010 edition of The James-Younger Gang Journal.

One prominent claimant was J. Frank Dalton
J. Frank Dalton
J. Frank Dalton claimed to be the outlaw Jesse James. Dalton was allegedly 101 years old at the time of his first public appearance, in May 1948. His story did not hold up to questioning from James's surviving relatives.-References:...

, who died August 15, 1951, in Granbury, Texas
Granbury, Texas
Granbury is a city in Hood County, Texas, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 5,718. It is the county seat of Hood County and the principal city of the Micropolitan Statistical Area....

. Dalton was allegedly 101 years old at the time of his first public appearance, in May 1948. His story did not hold up to questioning from James' surviving relatives.

Legacy and controversies


James's turn to crime after the end of Reconstruction era helped cement his place in American life and memory as a simple but remarkably effective bandit. After 1873 he was covered by the national media as part of social banditry. During his lifetime, James was celebrated chiefly by former Confederates, to whom he appealed directly in his letters to the press. Displaced by Reconstruction, the antebellum political leadership mythologized the James Gang exploits. Frank Triplett wrote about James as a "progressive neo-aristocrat" with purity of race. Indeed, some historians credit James' myth as contributing to the rise of former Confederates to dominance in Missouri politics (in the 1880s, for example, both U.S. Senators
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from the state, Confederate
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

 military commander Francis Cockrell
Francis Cockrell
Francis Marion Cockrell was a Confederate military commander and American politician from the state of Missouri. He served as a United States Senator from Missouri for five terms. He was a prominent member of the famed South–Cockrell–Hargis family of Southern politicians.-Early life:Cockrell was...

 and Confederate Congressman
Congress of the Confederate States
The Congress of the Confederate States was the legislative body of the Confederate States of America, existing during the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865...

 George Graham Vest
George Graham Vest
George Graham Vest was a U.S. politician. Born in Frankfort, Kentucky, he was known for his skills in oration and debate. Vest, a lawyer as well as a politician, served as a Missouri Congressman, a Confederate Congressman during the Civil War, and finally a US Senator...

, were identified with the Confederate cause
Lost Cause of the Confederacy
The Lost Cause is the name commonly given to an American literary and intellectual movement that sought to reconcile the traditional white society of the U.S. South to the defeat of the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War of 1861–1865...

).

In the 1880s, after James' death, the James Gang became the subject of dime novel
Dime novel
Dime novel, though it has a specific meaning, has also become a catch-all term for several different forms of late 19th-century and early 20th-century U.S...

s that represented the bandits as pre-industrial models of resistance
Resistance movement
A resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to opposing an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign state. It may seek to achieve its objects through either the use of nonviolent resistance or the use of armed force...

. During the Populist
Populist Party (United States)
The People's Party, also known as the "Populists", was a short-lived political party in the United States established in 1891. It was most important in 1892-96, then rapidly faded away...

 and Progressive
Progressive Era
The Progressive Era in the United States was a period of social activism and political reform that flourished from the 1890s to the 1920s. One main goal of the Progressive movement was purification of government, as Progressives tried to eliminate corruption by exposing and undercutting political...

 eras, James became a symbol as America's Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

, standing up against corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

s in defense of the small farmer, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor while there is no evidence that his robberies enriched anyone other than his gang
Gang
A gang is a group of people who, through the organization, formation, and establishment of an assemblage, share a common identity. In current usage it typically denotes a criminal organization or else a criminal affiliation. In early usage, the word gang referred to a group of workmen...

 and himself.

In portrayals of the 1950s, James was pictured as a psychologically troubled individual rather than a social rebel. Some filmmakers portrayed the former outlaw as a revenger, replacing "social with exclusively personal motives."

Jesse James remains a controversial symbol, one who can always be interpreted in various ways, according to cultural tensions and needs. Although some of the neo-Confederate
Neo-confederate
Neo-Confederate is a term used by some academics and political activists to describe the views of various groups and individuals who have a positive belief system concerning the historical experience of the Confederate States of America, the Southern secession, and the Southern United...

 movement regard him as a hero renewed cultural battles over the place of the Civil War in American history have replaced the long-standing interpretation of James as a Western frontier hero. Some point to his absolute commitment to slavery and his vow after the Civil War to shoot any black in Missouri not fulfilling the role of a slave.

While his "heroic outlaw" image is still commonly portrayed in films, as well as in songs and folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

, recent historians place him as a self-aware vigilante and terrorist who used local tensions to create his own myth among the widespread insurgent
Insurgent
Insurgent, insurgents or insurgency can refer to:* The act of insurgency-Specific insurgencies:* Iraqi insurgency, uprising in Iraq* Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir, uprising in India* Insurgency in North-East India...

 guerrillas and vigilante
Vigilante
A vigilante is a private individual who legally or illegally punishes an alleged lawbreaker, or participates in a group which metes out extralegal punishment to an alleged lawbreaker....

s following the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

.

Museums


Museums and sites devoted to Jesse James:
  • James Farm in Kearney, Missouri
    Kearney, Missouri
    Kearney is a city in Clay County, Missouri, United States. The population was estimated to be 8,599 in 2008. It is most famous for being the birthplace of Jesse James, and there is an annual festival in the third weekend of September to recognize the notorious outlaw.Kearney was unofficially...

    : In 1974 Clay County, Missouri, bought it. The county operates the site as a house museum and historic site.
  • Jesse James Home Museum
    Jesse James Home Museum
    The Jesse James Home Museum is the house in St. Joseph, Missouri where outlaw Jesse James was living and was gunned down on April 3, 1882, by Robert Ford....

    : The house where Jesse James was killed in south St. Joseph
    Saint Joseph, Missouri
    Saint Joseph is the second largest city in northwest Missouri, only second to Kansas City in size, serving as the county seat for Buchanan County. As of the 2010 census, Saint Joseph had a total population of 76,780, making it the eighth largest city in the state. The St...

     was moved in 1939 to the Belt Highway on St. Joseph's east side to attract tourists. In 1977 it was moved to its current location, near Patee House
    Patee House
    The Patee House, also known as Patee House Museum, was completed in 1858 as a 140-room luxury hotel at 12th Street and Penn in St. Joseph, Missouri. It was one of the best-known hotels west of the Mississippi River....

    , which was the headquarters of the Pony Express
    Pony Express
    The Pony Express was a fast mail service crossing the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and the High Sierra from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, from April 3, 1860 to October 1861...

    . The house is now owned and operated by the Pony Express Historical Association.
  • First National Bank of Northfield: The Northfield Historical Society in Northfield, Minnesota
    Northfield, Minnesota
    As of the census of 2000, there were 17,147 people, 4,909 households, and 3,210 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,452.2 people per square mile . There were 5,119 housing units at an average density of 732.1 per square mile...

    , has restored the building that housed the First National Bank, the scene of the 1876 raid.
  • Heaton Bowman Funeral Home, 36th Street and Frederick Avenue, St. Joseph, Missouri. The funeral home's predecessor conducted the original autopsy and funeral for Jesse James. A room in the back holds the log book and other documentation.
  • The Jesse James Tavern is in his father's birthplace in Asdee, County Kerry, Ireland, from where his father immigrated to the US in the 1840s as a young man. The parish priest, Canon William Ferris, says a solemn requiem mass for Jesse James every year on April 3.

Festivals


The Defeat of Jesse James Days in Northfield, Minnesota
Northfield, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,147 people, 4,909 households, and 3,210 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,452.2 people per square mile . There were 5,119 housing units at an average density of 732.1 per square mile...

, is among the largest outdoor celebrations in the state and is held annually in September during the weekend after Labor Day, though it is now documented and in dispute whether Jesse James was ever in Northfield because he was never indicted for his crimes. Thousands of visitors watch reenactments of the robbery, a championship rodeo
Rodeo
Rodeo is a competitive sport which arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United States, Canada, South America and Australia. It was based on the skills required of the working vaqueros and later, cowboys, in what today is the western United States,...

, a carnival
Carnival
Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party...

, performances of a 19th-century style melodrama
Melodrama
The term melodrama refers to a dramatic work that exaggerates plot and characters in order to appeal to the emotions. It may also refer to the genre which includes such works, or to language, behavior, or events which resemble them...

 musical, and a parade
Parade
A parade is a procession of people, usually organized along a street, often in costume, and often accompanied by marching bands, floats or sometimes large balloons. Parades are held for a wide range of reasons, but are usually celebrations of some kind...

 during the five-day event.

Jesse James' boyhood home in Kearney, Missouri, is a museum dedicated to the town's most famous resident. Each year a recreational fair, the Jesse James Festival, is held during the third weekend in September.

During the annual Labor Day weekend Victorian Festival at the 1866 Col. William H. Fulkerson estate Hazel Dell in Jersey County, Illinois
Jersey County, Illinois
Jersey County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. Jersey County is part of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 22,985, which is an increase of 6.1% from 21,668 in 2000...

, Jesse James' history is told in stories and by reenactments of stagecoach
Stagecoach
A stagecoach is a type of covered wagon for passengers and goods, strongly sprung and drawn by four horses, usually four-in-hand. Widely used before the introduction of railway transport, it made regular trips between stages or stations, which were places of rest provided for stagecoach travelers...

 holdups. Over the three-day event, thousands of spectators learn of the documented James Gang's stopping point at Hazel Dell and of their connection with ex-Confederate Fulkerson.

Russellville, Kentucky
Russellville, Kentucky
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,149 people, 3,064 households, and 1,973 families residing in the city. The population density was 672.1 people per square mile . There were 3,458 housing units at an average density of 325.1 per square mile...

, the site of the robbery of the Southern Bank in 1868, holds the Jesse James International Arts and Film Festival. The JJIAFF completed its second annual event in April 2008 and the third annual is planned for April 25, 2009. The festival has featured a bluegrass band from San Francisco and experimental bands from southern Kentucky as well as painters, sculptors, photographers, and comic artists. Children's activities are a mainstay of the festival. A highlight for adults is the film festival held at the Logan County Public Library in Russellville. Past entrants have included films from Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 and northwestern Kentucky, modern silent film projects, nature studies, and fan films.

In addition, the annual Tobacco and Heritage Festival in Russellville features a reenactment of the James-Younger Gang's robbery of the Southern Bank. Today used as a residence, the historic structure on South Main Street has been preserved by the town and county.

The small town of Oak Grove, Louisiana
Oak Grove, Louisiana
Oak Grove is a town in, and the parish seat of, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 2,174 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Oak Grove is located at ....

, also hosts a town-wide annual Jesse James Trade Days, usually in the early to mid fall. This is a reference to a short time James supposedly spent near this area.

Cultural depictions


Literature


The James brothers became a staple in dime novels of the era, peaking in the 1880s following Jesse's death. James has often been used as a fictional character
Fictional character
A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art . Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr , the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of...

 in many Western novels
Western (genre)
The Western is a genre of various visual arts, such as film, television, radio, literature, painting and others. Westerns are devoted to telling stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, hence the name. Some Westerns are set as early as the Battle of...

, including some published while he was alive. For instance, in Willa Cather
Willa Cather
Willa Seibert Cather was an American author who achieved recognition for her novels of frontier life on the Great Plains, in works such as O Pioneers!, My Ántonia, and The Song of the Lark. In 1923 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours , a novel set during World War I...

's My Antonia
My Ántonia
My Ántonia |accent]] on the first syllable of "Ántonia"), first published 1918, is considered one of the greatest novels by American writer Willa Cather...

, the narrator
Narrator
A narrator is, within any story , the fictional or non-fictional, personal or impersonal entity who tells the story to the audience. When the narrator is also a character within the story, he or she is sometimes known as the viewpoint character. The narrator is one of three entities responsible for...

 reads a book entitled 'Life of Jesse James' - probably a dime novel
Dime novel
Dime novel, though it has a specific meaning, has also become a catch-all term for several different forms of late 19th-century and early 20th-century U.S...

.

In Charles Portis
Charles Portis
Charles McColl Portis is an American author best known for his novels Norwood and the 1968 classic Western novel True Grit , both adapted as films. The latter also inspired a film sequel and made-for-TV movie sequel...

's 1968 novel, True Grit, the U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn describes fighting with Cole Younger and Frank James for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Long after his adventure with Mattie Ross, Cogburn ends his days in a traveling road show with the aged Cole Younger and Frank James.

During his travel to the "Wilde West," Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

 visited Jesse James' hometown in Missouri. Learning that James had been assassinated by his own gang member, "...an event that sent the town into mourning and scrambling to buy Jesse's artifacts," "romantic appeal of the social outcast" in his mind, Wilde wrote in one of his letters to home that: "Americans are certainly great hero-worshippers, and always take [their] heroes from the criminal classes."

Comics


In 1969, artist Morris
Morris (comics)
Maurice De Bevere , better known as Morris, was a Belgian cartoonist and the creator of Lucky Luke. His pen name is an alternate spelling of his first name.-Biography:...

 and writer René Goscinny
René Goscinny
René Goscinny was a French comics editor and writer, who is best known for the comic book Astérix, which he created with illustrator Albert Uderzo, and for his work on the comic series Lucky Luke with Morris and Iznogoud with Jean Tabary.-Early life:Goscinny was born in Paris in 1926, to a family...

 (co-creator of Asterix
Asterix
Asterix or The Adventures of Asterix is a series of French comic books written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo . The series first appeared in French in the magazine Pilote on October 29, 1959...

) had Lucky Luke
Lucky Luke
Lucky Luke is a Belgian comics series created by Belgian cartoonist, Maurice De Bevere better known as Morris, the original artist, and was for one period written by René Goscinny...

 confronting Jesse James, his brother Frank, and Cole Younger. The adventure poked fun at the image of Jesse as a new Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

. Although he passes himself off as such and does indeed steal from the rich (who are, logically, the only ones worth stealing from), he and his gang take turns being "poor," thus keeping the loot for themselves. Frank quotes from Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

, and Younger is portrayed as a fun-loving joker, full of good humor. One critic has likened this version of the James brothers as "intellectuals bandits, who won't stop theorising their outlaw activities and hear themselves talk." In the end, the at-first-cowed people of a town fight back against the James gang and send them packing in tar and feathers
Tarring and feathering
Tarring and feathering is a physical punishment, used to enforce unofficial justice or revenge. It was used in feudal Europe and its colonies in the early modern period, as well as the early American frontier, mostly as a type of mob vengeance .-Description:In a typical tar-and-feathers attack, the...

.

Music



In his adaptation of the traditional song "Jesse James," Woody Guthrie
Woody Guthrie
Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie is best known as an American singer-songwriter and folk musician, whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his...

 magnified James's hero status. "Jesse James" was later covered by the Anglo-Irish band The Pogues
The Pogues
The Pogues are a Celtic punk band, formed in 1982 and fronted by Shane MacGowan. The band reached international prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. MacGowan left the band in 1991 due to drinking problems but the band continued first with Joe Strummer and then with Spider Stacy on vocals before...

 on their 1985 album Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash
Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash
Rum Sodomy & the Lash is the second studio album by the London-based folk punk band The Pogues, released in 1985.The title is taken from a quotation, often attributed to Winston Churchill: "Don't talk to me about naval tradition...

, and by Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen , nicknamed "The Boss," is an American singer-songwriter who records and tours with the E Street Band...

 on his 2006 tribute to Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger
Peter "Pete" Seeger is an American folk singer and was an iconic figure in the mid-twentieth century American folk music revival. A fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, he also had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of The Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead...

, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
-Personnel:* Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, B-3 organ, and percussion* Sam Bardfeld – violin* Art Baron – tuba* Frank Bruno – guitar* Jeremy Chatzky – upright bass* Mark Clifford – banjo...

.

A somewhat different song titled "Jesse James," referring to Jesse's "wife to mourn for his life; three children, they were brave," and calling Robert Ford "the dirty little coward who shot Mr. Howard," was also the first track recorded by the "Stewart Years" version of the Kingston Trio at their initial recording session in 1961 (and included on that year's release Close-Up).

Echoing the Confederate hero aspect, Hank Williams, Jr.
Hank Williams, Jr.
Randall Hank Williams , better known as Hank Williams, Jr. and Bocephus, is an American country singer-songwriter and musician. His musical style is often considered a blend of Southern rock, blues, and traditional country...

's 1983 Southern anthem
Anthem
The term anthem means either a specific form of Anglican church music , or more generally, a song of celebration, usually acting as a symbol for a distinct group of people, as in the term "national anthem" or "sports anthem".-Etymology:The word is derived from the Greek via Old English , a word...

 "Whole Lot Of Hank" has the lyrics "Frank and Jesse James knowed how to rob them trains, they always took it from the rich and gave it to the poor, they might have had a bad name but they sure had a heart of gold."

Rock band James Gang
James Gang
The James Gang was a rock band formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1966. Though the band was not a huge commercial success, except in the Northeast Ohio area, the fame garnered by guitarist Joe Walsh has since made the group more notable.- History :...

 was named after Jesse James's gang. Their final album, released in 1976, was titled Jesse Come Home
Jesse Come Home
Jesse Come Home is the final album by James Gang, released in 1976. This album is the only one recorded with lead guitarist Bob Webb and keyboardist Phil Giallombardo . The album title refers to the "namesake" of the band: Jesse James...

.

Warren Zevon's 1976 self-titled album Warren Zevon
Warren Zevon (album)
Warren Zevon is a rock and roll album by Warren Zevon. This album was recorded in 1975 and released in 1976 . Warren Zevon Collector's Edition, a remastered version of this album with special bonus tracks, was released in 2008 by Rhino Records.-Track listing:All songs written by Warren Zevon#"Frank...

includes the song "Frank and Jesse James," a romantic tribute to the James Gang's exploits, expressing much sympathy with their "cause." Its lyrics encapsulate the many legends that grew up around the life and death of Jesse James. The album contains a second reference to Jesse James in the song "Poor Poor Pitiful Me
Poor Poor Pitiful Me
"Poor Poor Pitiful Me" is a rock song written by Warren Zevon.-Content:In keeping with Zevon's sardonic lyrical style, the song's verses deal with a failed suicide, domestic abuse, and a brush with sadomasochism. The song appeared first on Zevon's 1976 self-titled solo album...

" with the lyric "Well, I met a girl in West Hollywood, I ain't naming names. She really worked me over good, she was just like Jesse James." Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt is an American popular music recording artist. She has earned eleven Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, an ALMA Award, numerous United States and internationally certified gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums, in addition to Tony Award and Golden...

 covered the song a year later with slightly altered lyrics.

In her album Heart of Stone (1989), Cher
Cher
Cher is an American recording artist, television personality, actress, director, record producer and philanthropist. Referred to as the Goddess of Pop, she has won an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, three Golden Globes and a Cannes Film Festival Award among others for her work in...

 included a song titled "Just Like Jesse James
Just Like Jesse James
"Just Like Jesse James" is a December, 1989 top ten hit, the third North American and second European official single release on October 1989 by Geffen Records from American singer-actress Cher's twentieth album Heart of Stone...

," written by Diane Warren
Diane Warren
Diane Eve Warren , is a US songwriter. Her songs have received six Academy Award nominations, five Golden Globe nominations, including one win and seven Grammy Award nominations, including one win. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001...

. This single
Single (music)
In music, a single or record single is a type of release, typically a recording of fewer tracks than an LP or a CD. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, the single is a song that is released separately from an album, but it can still appear...

, which was released in 1990, achieved high positions in the charts and sold 1,500,000 copies worldwide.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is an American country-folk-rock band that has existed in various forms since its founding in Long Beach, California in 1966. The group's membership has had at least a dozen changes over the years, including a period from 1976 to 1981 when the band performed and recorded...

's album Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy features the song "Jesse James," ostensibly recorded on a wire recorder.

Jon Chandler has also written a song about Jesse and Frank James entitled "He Was No Hero," written from the perspective of Joe Hayward's widow cursing Bob Ford for cheating her out of killing Jesse James.

Around 1980 a concept album titled The Legend of Jesse James
The Legend of Jesse James
The Legend of Jesse James is a 1980 country music concept album by various artists singing songs by English songwriter Paul Kennerley, based on the story of American Old West outlaw Jesse James....

was released. It was written by Paul Kennerley
Paul Kennerley
Paul Kennerley is an English singer-songwriter, musician and record producer working in the American contemporary country music industry. His works include the concept albums, White Mansions and The Legend of Jesse James...

 and starred Levon Helm
Levon Helm
Mark Lavon "Levon" Helm , is an American rock multi-instrumentalist and actor who achieved fame as the drummer and frequent lead and backing vocalist for The Band....

 (The Band
The Band
The Band was an acclaimed and influential roots rock group. The original group consisted of Rick Danko , Garth Hudson , Richard Manuel , and Robbie Robertson , and Levon Helm...

) as Jesse James, Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash
John R. "Johnny" Cash was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author, who has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century...

 as Frank James, Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris is an American singer-songwriter and musician. In addition to her work as a solo artist and bandleader, both as an interpreter of other composers' works and as a singer-songwriter, she is a sought-after backing vocalist and duet partner, working with numerous other artists including...

 as Zee James, Charlie Daniels
Charlie Daniels
Charles Edward "Charlie" Daniels is an American musician known for his contributions to country and southern rock music. He is known primarily for his number one country hit "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", and multiple other songs he has performed and written. Daniels has been active as a singer...

 as Cole Younger, and Albert Lee
Albert Lee
Albert William Lee, born 21 December 1943 in Leominster, Herefordshire, England, is an English guitarist known for his fingerstyle and hybrid picking technique. Lee has worked both in the studio and on tour with some of the most famous musicians which stretch through a very wide of genres...

 as Jim Younger. There are also appearances by Rodney Crowell
Rodney Crowell
Rodney Crowell is a Grammy Award-winning musician, known primarily for his work as a singer and songwriter in country music....

, Jody Payne
Jody Payne
Jody Payne is an American country musician and singer. He is probably best known as a longtime guitarist in Willie Nelson's band....

, and Rosanne Cash
Rosanne Cash
Rosanne Cash is an American singer-songwriter and author. She is the eldest daughter of the late country music singer Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian Liberto Cash Distin....

. The album highlights Jesse's life from 1863 to his death in 1882. In 1999 a double CD was released containing The Legend Of Jesse James and White Mansions, another concept album by Kennerley about life in the Confederate States of America between 1861-1865.

Stage Productions

  • The musical melodrama "Jesse," written by Bob and Marion Moulton with lyrics by Prairie Home Companion writer/performer Vern Sutton and music by William Huckaby and Donna Paulsen, has since 1976 (the centennial of the James-Younger gang's Northfield bank raid) traditionally been performed in Northfield, Minnesota
    Northfield, Minnesota
    As of the census of 2000, there were 17,147 people, 4,909 households, and 3,210 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,452.2 people per square mile . There were 5,119 housing units at an average density of 732.1 per square mile...

     during the town's annual The Defeat of Jesse James Days.

Films


There have been numerous portrayals of Jesse James in film and television, including two wherein Jesse James, Jr. depicts his father. In many of the films, James is portrayed as a Robin Hood-like character.
  • 1921
    1921 in film
    -Top grossing films :-Films released in 1921:U.S.A. unless stated*$10,000 Under a Pillow, silent film directed by Frank Moser*The Ace of Hearts, silent film directed by Wallace Worsley*Across the Divide, silent film directed by John Holloway...

    : Jesse James Under the Black Flag, played by Jesse James, Jr.
  • 1921
    1921 in film
    -Top grossing films :-Films released in 1921:U.S.A. unless stated*$10,000 Under a Pillow, silent film directed by Frank Moser*The Ace of Hearts, silent film directed by Wallace Worsley*Across the Divide, silent film directed by John Holloway...

    : Jesse James as the Outlaw, played by Jesse James, Jr.
  • 1927
    1927 in film
    -Events:*January 10 - Fritz Lang's science-fiction fantasy Metropolis premieres in Germany.*April 7 - Abel Gance's Napoleon often considered his best known and greatest masterpiece, premiers at the Paris Opéra and would demonstrate techniques and equipment that would not be used for years to...

    : Jesse James, played by Fred Thomson
    Fred Thomson
    Frederick Clifton Thomson was an American silent film cowboy who rivaled Tom Mix in popularity before dying at age 38 of tetanus.-Birth and athletic achievement:...

  • 1939
    1939 in film
    The year 1939 in motion pictures can be justified as being called the most outstanding one ever, when it comes to the high quality and high attendance at the large set of the best films that premiered in the year .- Events :Motion picture historians and film often rate...

    : Jesse James
    Jesse James (1939 film)
    Jesse James is a western movie directed by Henry King and starring Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Nancy Kelly, and Randolph Scott. Written by Nunnally Johnson, the film is loosely based on the life of the notorious outlaw for which the film derives its name...

    , played by Tyrone Power
    Tyrone Power
    Tyrone Edmund Power, Jr. , usually credited as Tyrone Power and known sometimes as Ty Power, was an American film and stage actor who appeared in dozens of films from the 1930s to the 1950s, often in swashbuckler roles or romantic leads such as in The Mark of Zorro, Blood and Sand, The Black Swan,...

     with Henry Fonda
    Henry Fonda
    Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American film and stage actor.Fonda made his mark early as a Broadway actor. He also appeared in 1938 in plays performed in White Plains, New York, with Joan Tompkins...

     as Frank James and John Carradine
    John Carradine
    John Carradine was an American actor, best known for his roles in horror films and Westerns as well as Shakespearean theater. A member of Cecil B DeMille's stock company and later John Ford's company, he was one of the most prolific character actors in Hollywood history...

     as Bob Ford
  • 1939
    1939 in film
    The year 1939 in motion pictures can be justified as being called the most outstanding one ever, when it comes to the high quality and high attendance at the large set of the best films that premiered in the year .- Events :Motion picture historians and film often rate...

    : Days of Jesse James, played by Don 'Red' Barry
  • 1941
    1941 in film
    The year 1941 in film involved some significant events.-Events:Citizen Kane, consistently rated as one of the greatest films of all time, was released in 1941.-Top grossing films :-Academy Awards:...

    : Jesse James at Bay, played by Roy Rogers
    Roy Rogers
    Roy Rogers, born Leonard Franklin Slye , was an American singer and cowboy actor, one of the most heavily marketed and merchandised stars of his era, as well as being the namesake of the Roy Rogers Restaurants franchised chain...

  • 1947
    1947 in film
    The year 1947 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*May 22 - Great Expectations is premiered in New York.*November 24 : The United States House of Representatives of the 80th Congress voted 346 to 17 to approve citations for contempt of Congress against the "Hollywood Ten".*November 25...

    : Jesse James Rides Again
    Jesse James Rides Again
    Jesse James Rides Again is a Republic film serial.-Cast:* Clayton Moore as Jesse James* Linda Stirling as Ann Bolton. It was during filming of this serial that Linda Stirling met her future husband Sloane Nibley.* Roy Barcroft as Frank Lawton...

    , played by Clayton Moore
    Clayton Moore
    Clayton Moore was an American actor best known for playing the fictional western character The Lone Ranger from 1949–1951 and 1954-1957 on the television series of the same name.-Early years:...

  • 1949
    1949 in film
    The year 1949 in film involved some significant events.-Top grossing films :- Awards :Academy Awards:*Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff, starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello...

    : I Shot Jesse James
    I Shot Jesse James
    I Shot Jesse James is a film directed by Samuel Fuller about the murder of Jesse James by Robert Ford and Robert Ford's life afterwards...

    , played by Reed Hadley
    Reed Hadley
    Reed Hadley was an American movie, television and radio actor.Reed Hadley was born Reed Herring in Petrolia in Clay County near Wichita Falls, Texas, to Bert Herring, an oil well driller, and his wife Minnie. Hadley had one sister, Bess Brenner. He was reared in Buffalo, New York...

  • 1950
    1950 in film
    The year 1950 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* February 15 - Walt Disney Studios' animated film Cinderella debuts.-Top grossing films : After theatrical re-issue- Awards :Academy Awards:*Ambush...

    : Kansas Raiders, played by Audie Murphy
    Audie Murphy
    Audie Leon Murphy was a highly decorated and famous soldier. Through LIFE magazine's July 16, 1945 issue , he became one the most famous soldiers of World War II and widely regarded as the most decorated American soldier of the war...

  • 1951
    1951 in film
    The year 1951 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* Sweden - May Britt is scouted by Italian film-makers Carlo Ponti and Mario Soldati-Top grossing films : After theatrical re-issue- Awards :Academy Awards:...

    : The Great Missouri Raid, played by Macdonald Carey
    Macdonald Carey
    Edward Macdonald Carey was an American actor, best known for his role as the patriarch Dr. Tom Horton on NBC's soap opera Days of our Lives...

  • 1954
    1954 in film
    The year 1954 in film involved some significant events and memorable ones.-Events:*May 12 - The Marx Brothers' Zeppo Marx divorces wife Marion Benda...

    : Jesse James Women played by Don 'Red' Barry
  • 1957
    1957 in film
    The year 1957 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* October 21 - The movie Jailhouse Rock, starring Elvis Presley, opens.-Top grossing films : After theatrical re-issue-Awards:...

    : True Story of Jesse James, played by Robert Wagner
    Robert Wagner
    Robert John Wagner is an American actor of stage, screen, and television.A veteran of many films in the 1950s and 1960s, Wagner gained prominence in three American television series that spanned three decades: It Takes a Thief , Switch , and Hart to Hart...

  • 1959
    1959 in film
    The year 1959 in film involved some significant events, with Ben-Hur winning a record 11 Academy Awards.-Events:* The Three Stooges make their 190th and last short film, Sappy Bull Fighters....

    : Alias Jesse James
    Alias Jesse James
    Alias Jesse James is a Bob Hope western comedy movie. A highlight for fans of Westerns of that era happens during the gun fight climax at the end of the movie that features a number of cameos by movie and television personalities Alias Jesse James (1959) is a Bob Hope western comedy movie. A...

    , played by Wendell Corey
    Wendell Corey
    Wendell Reid Corey was an American actor and politician.He was born in Dracut, Massachusetts, the son of Milton Rothwell Corey and Julia Etta McKenney . His father was a Congregationalist clergyman...

     in a comedy starring Bob Hope
    Bob Hope
    Bob Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS was a British-born American comedian and actor who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies. He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO shows entertaining American military personnel...

  • 1960
    1960 in film
    The year 1960 in film involved some significant events, with Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho the top-grossing release in the U.S.-Events:* April 20 - for the first time since coming home from military service in Germany, Elvis Presley returns to Hollywood, California to film G.I...

    : Young Jesse James, played by Ray Stricklyn
    Ray Stricklyn
    Ray Stricklyn was an American film actor, stage actor, television actor, soap opera star and publicist. His acting career took off with B-movie Westerns that placed his boyish good looks playing opposite top talent of the time.-Early life and career:Born in Houston, Texas, his father was a sign...

  • 1965
    1965 in film
    The year 1965 in film involved some significant events, with The Sound of Music topping the U.S. box office.-Top grossing films : After theatrical re-issue- Awards :Academy Awards:...

    : The Legend of Jesse James, TV series starred by Allen Case
    Allen Case
    Allen Case was an American television actor most noted for the lead role of Deputy Clay McCord in NBC's The Deputy opposite series regular Henry Fonda...

  • 1966
    1966 in film
    The year 1966 in film involved some significant events.-Events:Animation legend Walter Disney, well known for his creation of Mickey Mouse, died in 15 December 1966 of acute circulatory collapse following a diagnosis of, and surgery for, lung cancer...

    : Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter
    Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter
    Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter is a low-budget western/horror hybrid film filmed in 1966, in which a fictionalized version of the real-life western outlaw Jesse James encounters the fictional granddaughter of the famous Dr. Frankenstein. The film was originally released as part of a...

    , played by John Lupton
    John Lupton
    John Rollin Lupton was an American film and television actor.Upon graduation from New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Lupton secured immediate stage work. Then he was signed as a contract player at MGM in Hollywood...

  • 1969
    1969 in film
    The year 1969 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* Last year for prize giving at the Venice Film Festival until it is revived in 1980...

    : A Time for Dying, played by Audie Murphy
    Audie Murphy
    Audie Leon Murphy was a highly decorated and famous soldier. Through LIFE magazine's July 16, 1945 issue , he became one the most famous soldiers of World War II and widely regarded as the most decorated American soldier of the war...

  • 1972
    1972 in film
    The year 1972 in film involved some significant events.-Top grossing films :- Awards :Academy Awards:*Avanti!, directed by Billy Wilder, starring Jack Lemmon and Juliet MillsB...

    : The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid
    The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid
    The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid is a 1972 Technicolor Western film about the James-Younger Gang distributed by Universal Pictures. It was directed by Philip Kaufman in a cinéma vérité style and starred Cliff Robertson as Cole Younger, Robert Duvall as Jesse James, Luke Askew as Jim Younger, R....

    , played by Robert Duvall
    Robert Duvall
    Robert Selden Duvall is an American actor and director. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and a BAFTA over the course of his career....

  • 1980
    1980 in film
    - Events :* May 21 - Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is released and is the biggest grosser of the year ....

    : The Long Riders
    The Long Riders
    The Long Riders is a 1980 western film directed by Walter Hill. It was produced by James Keach, Stacy Keach and Tim Zinnemann and featured an original soundtrack by Ry Cooder. Cooder won the Best Music award in 1980 from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards for this soundtrack...

    , played by James Keach
    James Keach
    James Keach is an American actor, producer, and director. He is the younger brother of actor Stacy Keach, Jr., and son of actor Stacy Keach, Sr.-Background:...

  • 1986
    1986 in film
    -Events:*April 12 - Actor Morgan Mason marries The Go-Go's Belinda Carlisle.*April 26 - Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger marries television journalist Maria Shriver.*May - Actress Heather Locklear marries Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee....

    : The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James, played by Kris Kristofferson
    Kris Kristofferson
    Kristoffer "Kris" Kristofferson is an American musician, actor, and writer. He is known for hits such as "Me and Bobby McGee", "For the Good Times", "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down", and "Help Me Make It Through the Night"...

     with Johnny Cash
    Johnny Cash
    John R. "Johnny" Cash was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author, who has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century...

     as Frank James and Willie Nelson
    Willie Nelson
    Willie Hugh Nelson is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie , combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust , made Nelson one of the most recognized...

     as Gen. Jo Shelby
  • 1994
    1994 in film
    1994 was a significant year in film.The top grosser worldwide was The Lion King, which to date stands as the highest-grossing traditionally-animated film of all time...

    : Frank and Jesse
    Frank and Jesse
    -Plot:Frank & Jesse is a 1994 western starring Rob Lowe as Jesse James and Bill Paxton as Jesse's brother Frank James. Following the Civil War the two brothers, along with the Younger brothers - Cole Younger and Bob Younger , Bob Ford and Charles Ford , Clell Miller , and Arch Clements...

    , played by Rob Lowe
    Rob Lowe
    Robert Hepler "Rob" Lowe is an American actor. Lowe came to prominence after appearing in films such as The Outsiders, Oxford Blues, About Last Night..., St. Elmo's Fire, and Wayne's World. On television, Lowe is known for his role as Sam Seaborn on The West Wing and his role as Senator Robert...

  • 1999
    1999 in film
    The year 1999 in film involved several noteworthy events and has been called "The Year That Changed Movies". Several significant feature films, including Stanley Kubrick's final film Eyes Wide Shut, Pedro Almodóvar's first Oscar-winning film All About My Mother, science fiction The Matrix, Deep...

    : Purgatory, played by J.D. Souther
  • 2001
    2001 in film
    The year 2001 in film involved some significant events, including the first of the Harry Potter series and also the first of The Lord of the Rings trilogy...

    : American Outlaws
    American Outlaws
    American Outlaws is a 2001 Western film directed by Les Mayfield and starring Colin Farrell, Scott Caan, and Ali Larter.-Plot:The southern army is trying to track down the Yankee army during the civil war...

    , played by Colin Farrell
    Colin Farrell
    Colin James Farrell is an Irish actor, who has appeared in such film as Tigerland, Miami Vice, Minority Report, Phone Booth, The Recruit, Alexander and S.W.A.T....

  • 2005
    2005 in film
    - Highest-grossing films :Please note that following the tradition of the English-language film industry, these are the top-grossing films that were first released in the United States in 2005...

    : Just like Jesse James is the title of a movie that appears in Wim Wenders' Don't Come Knocking
    Don't Come Knocking
    Don't Come Knocking is a 2005 film, a comedy-drama road movie directed by German director Wim Wenders and written by Wenders and actor/playwright Sam Shepard. The two had previously collaborated on the film Paris, Texas...

    , in which Sam Shepard
    Sam Shepard
    Sam Shepard is an American playwright, actor, and television and film director. He is the author of several books of short stories, essays, and memoirs, and received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child...

     plays an aging western movie star whose first success was with that movie.
  • 2005
    2005 in film
    - Highest-grossing films :Please note that following the tradition of the English-language film industry, these are the top-grossing films that were first released in the United States in 2005...

    : Jesse James: Legend, Outlaw, Terrorist (Discovery HD
    Discovery HD
    Discovery HD is the international name of the high-definition television channels from Discovery Communications.The international Discovery HD first launched in Korea on February 2005 as a programming block...

    ), played by Daniel Lennox
  • 2007
    2007 in film
    This is a list of major films released in 2007.-Top grossing films:Please note that following the tradition of the English-language film industry, these are the top grossing films that were first released in the USA in 2007...

    : The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a 2007 American Western drama film. The film is directed by Andrew Dominik, with Brad Pitt portraying Jesse James and Casey Affleck as his killer, Robert Ford.Filming took place in rural Alberta and Winnipeg, Manitoba...

    , played by Brad Pitt
    Brad Pitt
    William Bradley "Brad" Pitt is an American actor and film producer. Pitt has received two Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning one...

    , with Casey Affleck
    Casey Affleck
    Caleb Casey McGuire Affleck-Boldt , better known as Casey Affleck, is an American actor and film director. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, he played supporting roles in mainstream hits like Good Will Hunting and Ocean's Eleven as well as in critically acclaimed independent films such as...

     as Bob Ford


Television


  • The actor Lee Van Cleef
    Lee Van Cleef
    Lee Van Cleef was an American film actor who appeared mostly in Western and action pictures. His sharp features and piercing eyes led to his being cast as a villain in scores of films such as High Noon, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and The Good The Bad and the Ugly.-Early life:Van Cleef was...

     played Jesse James in a 1954 episode of Jim Davis
    Jim Davis (actor)
    Jim Davis was an American actor, best known for his role as Jock Ewing in the CBS prime-time soap Dallas, a role which he held up until his death in April 1981.-Biography:...

    's syndicated
    Television syndication
    In broadcasting, syndication is the sale of the right to broadcast radio shows and television shows by multiple radio stations and television stations, without going through a broadcast network, though the process of syndication may conjure up structures like those of a network itself, by its very...

     television series, Stories of the Century
    Stories of the Century
    Stories of the Century is a Western television series that ran in syndication through Republic Pictures between January 23, 1954, and March 11, 1955.-Synopsis:...

    , the first western series to win an Emmy Award
    Emmy Award
    An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

    .
  • The ABC
    American Broadcasting Company
    The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

     series The Legend of Jesse James
    The Legend of Jesse James (TV series)
    The Legend of Jesse James is a 34-episode western television series starring Christopher Jones in the tile role of notorious outlaw Jesse James which aired on ABC from September 13, 1965, to May 9, 1966...

    aired during the 1965-1966 television season, with Christopher Jones
    Christopher Jones (actor)
    William "Billy" Frank Jones, better known as Christopher Jones, is an American character actor, born August 18, 1941 in Jackson, Tennessee....

     as Jesse, Allen Case
    Allen Case
    Allen Case was an American television actor most noted for the lead role of Deputy Clay McCord in NBC's The Deputy opposite series regular Henry Fonda...

     as Frank James, Ann Doran
    Ann Doran
    Ann Lee Doran was an American character actress.-Early life and career:Born in Amarillo, Texas, Doran began acting at the age of four. She appeared in hundreds of silent films under assumed names to keep her father's family from finding out about her work...

     as Zerelda Cole James Samuel, Robert J. Wilke
    Robert J. Wilke
    Robert J. Wilke was a prolific American film actor noted primarily for his villainous roles, mainly in westerns.Wilke started as a stuntman in the 1930s and his first appearance on screen was in San Francisco...

     as Marshal Sam Corbett, and John Milford
    John Milford
    John Milford was an American actor in theatre, television, and films, playing scores of roles, often as a western villain....

     as Cole Younger.
  • In the episode of Little House on the Prairie
    Little House on the Prairie (TV series)
    Little House on the Prairie is an American Western drama television series, starring Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert, about a family living on a farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in the 1870s and 1880s. The show was an adaptation of Laura Ingalls Wilder's best-selling series of Little House books...

    titled "The Aftermath" (aired November 7, 1977), Jesse (Dennis Rucker) and Frank James (John Bennett Perry
    John Bennett Perry
    John Bennett Perry is an American actor and former model. He is the father of actor Matthew Perry.-Life and career:Perry was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, the son of Maria Schaefer and Alton L. Perry. He married twice...

    ) took refuge in Walnut Grove after a failed robbery attempt.
  • In the American Western series The Young Riders
    The Young Riders
    The Young Riders is an American Western television series created by Ed Spielman that presents a fictionalized account of a group of young Pony Express riders based at the Sweetwater Station in the Nebraska Territory during the years leading up to the American Civil War...

    (1989–1992), Jesse James is portrayed by the late actor Christopher Pettiet
    Christopher Pettiet
    Christopher Lee Pettiet was an American television and film actor best known for his role as Jesse James in the Western TV series The Young Riders and as Zach Crandell in the cult comedy film Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead .-Career:Pettiet began his career as a child actor making...

    . He appeared in 17 episodes.
  • An episode of Deadliest Warrior
    Deadliest Warrior
    Deadliest Warrior is a television program in which information on historical or modern warriors and their weapons are used to determine which of them is the "deadliest" based upon tests performed during each episode...

    on "Spike TV
    Spike TV
    Spike is an American cable television channel. It launched on March 7, 1983 as The Nashville Network , a joint venture of WSM, Inc...

    " features the Jesse James gang vs. the Al Capone
    Al Capone
    Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone was an American gangster who led a Prohibition-era crime syndicate. The Chicago Outfit, which subsequently became known as the "Capones", was dedicated to smuggling and bootlegging liquor, and other illegal activities such as prostitution, in Chicago from the early...

     gang. The main weapons used by Jesse James was the Colt .45, the Pistol Whip, the Winchester rifle
    Winchester rifle
    In common usage, Winchester rifle usually means any of the lever-action rifles manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, though the company has also manufactured many rifles of other action types...

    , and the Bowie Knife
    Bowie knife
    A Bowie knife is a pattern of fixed-blade fighting knife first popularized by Colonel James "Jim" Bowie in the early 19th Century. Since the first incarnation was created by James Black, the Bowie knife has come to incorporate several recognizable and characteristic design features, although its...

    . The Jesse James gang came out victorious in the simulated match.
  • In Episode 33 of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction
    Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction
    Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is an American television anthology series created by Lynn Lehmann, presented by Dick Clark Productions, and produced and aired by the Fox network from 1997 to 2002. Each episode featured five stories, all of which appeared to defy logic, and some of which were...

    in a segment titled "Mysterious Strangers," a story is told about two men in 1870 who take refuge on a rainy night in an old widow's house. While there they find out that she is about to lose her home to foreclosure. The strangers disappear in the night, leaving her $900 to give to the banker, only to rob the banker of their own money after he retrieved it from the woman the next morning. The strangers, at the end of the story, turn out to be Frank and Jesse James. Beyond Belief
    Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction
    Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is an American television anthology series created by Lynn Lehmann, presented by Dick Clark Productions, and produced and aired by the Fox network from 1997 to 2002. Each episode featured five stories, all of which appeared to defy logic, and some of which were...

    purports that the story is documented and true.

Further reading

  • Dyer, Robert. "Jesse James and the Civil War in Missouri,"University of Missouri Press
    University of Missouri Press
    The University of Missouri Press is a university press founded in 1958 at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.-External links:*...

    , 1994
  • Hobsbawm, Eric J. Bandits, Pantheon, 1981
  • Koblas, John J. Faithful Unto Death, Northfield Historical Society Press, 2001
  • Thelen, David. Paths of Resistance: Tradition and Dignity in Industrializing Missouri, Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    , 1986
  • Wellman, Paul I. A Dynasty of Western Outlaws. Doubleday, 1961; 1986.
  • White, Richard. "Outlaw Gangs of the Middle Border: American Social Bandits," Western Historical Quarterly 12, no. 4 (October 1981)

External links