On this day in 1882 the famous outlaw of the Wild West, Jesse James, was killed by Robert Ford. James was a member of the James-Younger Gang from Missouri; his gang gained notoriety in the period 1866 to 1876 as they robbed banks, stagecoaches and trains. He first gained national attention after shooting a cashier during a robbery of a Missouri bank. The gang’s decline began with an attempted robbery of a bank in Northfield, Minnesota when the majority of the gang was captured or killed. James and his gang were pursued by law enforcement until the outlaw Robert Ford, who had posed as James’ friend, shot him in the back of the head in order to collect the bounty on him. The governor of Missouri quickly pardoned Ford, which shocked the public as it suggested their governor had conspired to kill a private citizen.
“In Loving Memory of my Beloved Son, Murdered by a Traitor and Coward Whose Name is not Worthy to Appear Here” - epitaph for Jesse James, written by his mother
The wife smiled her smile, said she was glad to meet Quinn as though she meant it, and then extended her hand to him. He shook it, feeling the uncanny slenderness of her bones, and asked if her name was Norwegian.
‘Not many people know that,’ she said.
'Do you come from Norway?’
'Indirectly,’ she said. 'By way of Northfield, Minnesota.’ And then she laughed her laugh, and Quinn felt a little more of himself collapse.