After fifteen years of spectacular robberies, the Wild West’s most notorious outlaw, Jesse James, was shot in the back by two members of his gang.
They were out to collect a $10,000 reward for his capture, “dead or alive.” The strange thing was that when they brought his body in, they were arrested for murder and sentenced to be hanged.
They would have died had the governor of Missouri not pardoned them. They didn’t get the big reward, though. They had to settle for $500 and be grateful they were still alive.
Jesse James and his brother Frank left home at the start of the Civil War to fight for the South with a group of guerrilla cavalry. Frank was only 14 years old when he joined up.
During the war, he learned to kill and steal. When the war ended in 1865, he formed his own gang and, with his brother, held up ten trains, eleven banks, and three stagecoaches.
At least 16 men were killed during these robberies.
Jesse Woodson James was born on September 5, 1847 and died on the morning of April 3, 1882.