Western Life

Jesse James

Jesse James is known as a train and bank robber in the Old American West, popularly known as the leader of the James-Younger gang of outlaws.


James was born in Kearney, Missouri, in the year 1847. Before entering the criminal world, Jesse James and his brother Frank James also served for the Confederate Army. The brothers were later on leading the James Younger gang and become successful as train and bank robbers. In 1882, Jesse James was murdered by Robert Ford, after which Jesse became a legend of the Wild West.

Early Life

American outlaw, robber and legendary figure Jesse Woodson James was born on September 5, 1847, in Kearney, Missouri. Jesse James and his brother belonged to a well-known and respected family of farmers. Their father Robert James was a Baptist who married and moved to Missouri in the year 1842.  During the summers of 1863, Union soldiers brutally attacked the family of Jesse James. Jesse was only 16 years old when he and his brother became Confederate guerrilla soldiers. They used to ride alongside “bloody bill” Anderson and William Quantrill.

Crime Partners

Some people believe that Jesse and his brother had been cruel to the Union Soldiers, whereas, others debate that being at the receiving end of brutal treatment was the reason why Jesse and Frank chose a life of crime. However, the brothers decided to take the law in their own hands and took serious actions against the harsh post-war legislation. They started bank and train robberies – banks that were basically operated and owned by a Northern Institution.

There are stories that the brothers were like Robin Hood, they used to rob from the rich and give to the poor. However, there is no such proof of this. In most situations, they kept the money for their own use. Between the years 1860-1882, the gang was the most terrified gang of the American outlaws. They stored approximately $200,000 and were very popular in their era.

Personal Life and Death

Jesse James married his long-time sweetheart and cousin in 1874. He also had two children. Both the brothers were known to belong to a good family and were men who loved their wives and children, however, they did not leave the criminal path they chose to walk on.

Although their community protected them, however, they were always on the move. Even after the murder of other members of their gang and after the prison sentence of their friends the Youngers, they still managed to plan a robbery with Bob and Charlie Ford. Unbeknown to them, the Governor had announced a reward, one so big that the Ford brothers would turn against them in order to earn that reward. Jesse was shot by Bob Ford in 1882 and within 3 months of this incident, Frank had to surrender to the Crittenden. There was no such evidence against him so he resumed a peaceful life after this.

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