Civil War Figures: Jesse James

February 22, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
Everyone knows about the 19th-century outlaw Jesse James, whose colorful exploits were recorded in song and legend. But the life of the historical figure is often disputed. Was he, in fact, a Robin Hood character, who stole from the rich to give back to those less fortunate? Or was he only a former soldier with a thirst for violence, sustaining his criminal career by marketing himself as a noble thief?

James the Soldier


James the Icon

Visit the Jesse James Home, a museum in St. Joseph, Missouri. The home contains a number of items that belonged to the James family, and the exhibit includes photographs and objects from James’s life. Take a virtual tour of the house through online photos of the living room (where James was shot to death), the kitchen, and the bedroom, along with some other images of the house.

On the Farm

On the Big Screen

Jesse James remains a cultural icon. If you want to learn more about the legendary figure, read “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” by Ron Hansen. Or watch the film version, which came out in 2007, starring Brad Pitt and Mary-Louise Parker.

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