Jesse James




The notorious American Wild West bank robber Jesse James (1847-82) was hunted and demonised by the authorities, but was held in high regard by many ordinary folk. Here's an example of why:

The story goes that Jesse James and his gang had taken refuge for a few days in ramshackle farmhouse after one of their raids. The old widow who lived there fed the men, and apologised for her modest offerings and the poor state of the accommodation. While the gang laid low, they learned from the widow that she faced eviction from her landlord and was expecting a visit from his debt collector any day. Taking pity on the old lady, as they left, the gang gave her some of the spoils of their robbery to settle her debt - several hundred dollars, which was a small fortune in those days. The gang moved on, but only to a nearby copse, where for a couple more days they watched and waited for the arrival - and departure - of the debt collector, whom they promptly held up and robbed.

Of course robbing anyone is bad, but if you've got to rob someone...

— Was Jesse James and his gang good or bad? It depends on your perspective.

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