Jesse James: A Tragic Hero

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A man known as brother, father, soldier, outlaw, avenger of the poor; a man known as Jesse James was born on September 5, 1847 in Kearney, Missouri and assassinated only miles away in St. Joseph, Missouri on April 3, 1882 (Jesse James, He was as notorious as the president was famous, but even with hundreds hoping for the bounty on his head, James was able to evade officials and remain a mystery. This man “was literally a legend” (Stiles, prologue). His crimes’ profit adds up to an estimated amount of $200,000 (Jesse James Biography,, which today could be over 3 million dollars. The assassination of Jesse James is justified because he was not the hero people thought him to be and had murdered many who stood…show more content…
Since there is no proof or evidence, their heroic reputation was most likely a facade (Jesse James Biography, His real ambition of riches was driven by politics (Stiles, prologue). Before he began his life of a criminal, he fought as a Confederate soldier in the American Civil War. James’s flaming malice toward the Union was sparked, in 1863, when Union soldiers threatened and harmed his family while searching for information about the Confederates (Jesse James, This passion for hatred was constantly fueled while James was fighting in the Civil War. The same motives used to reason for why he fought for the confederates can be used to reason for why he committed his lawlessness. Before James’s death, there were around 300 criminals who had a reward on their head, and only four pertained to Jesse James. Even with the hundreds of other criminals, Jesse James remained one of the most notorious. His infamy resulted from his gang’s 20 bank and train robberies from about 1860 to 1882 (Jesse James Biography, James and his men were accountable for the murders of anyone who stood in their way. James eventually recruited two new men into his group, they were his assassins Charlie and Robert
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