Jesse James

The Jesse James legend lives on. To generations of Americans, the outlaw was remembered as a brazen hero who stole from the rich to give to the poor but fell victim to the unjust power of the state. It was an image perpetuated in dime novels, folk ballads, and theatrical entertainments. That he and his cohorts in fact made no distinction between rich and poor, murdered a dozen or more innocent people, and created a climate of fear and disorder in many parts of the West simply did not fit the populist image, and, consequently, was left out of the telling.