Jesse James has to top the charts as the most famous outlaw of all time as he has filled history books, comics and old western stories for years. Jesse has often been portrayed as a “Robin Hood” figure in which he robbed the rich to feed the poor. Unfortunately, that is not who Jesse James truly was. Mr. James was raised a confederate and grew up under the influence of William T. Anderson, also known as “Bloody Bill.” Anderson was a confederate guerilla fighter that attacked Union and Federal loyalists during the Civil War. From a young age, James learned the cruel ways of guerilla warfare, which inevitably transferred directly over to his criminal tactics. A brutal man, James would often attack and kill unarmed civilians to take money and other valuables. The mystery with Jesse James is that although he was dangerous and brutal while “on the job”, he was also a family man that took care of not only his close family but his relatives as well. Was this man stealing just for the sake of stealing, or was he trying to provide for the ones he loved? We may never know as he left collateral damage all over Missouri and Kansas. What is tricky about Jesse James and his gang is that even though he was wreaking havoc and killing the innocent, publishers and artists still produced comics and short stories that featured the gang…and they sold like crazy! This goes to show that America does not necessarily side with the sane or the righteous. Regardless, Jesse James will forever live in infamy as the most popular outlaw that ever roamed the Great Plains.
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