April 3 - 1882 - The Killing of Jesse James
Jesse James was a sort of romantic folk hero, beginning when he was actually committing a series of violent bank and train robberies. His death at the hands of a gang associate, Robert Ford, only made his legend grow. That legend, that he was a Robin Hood figure robbing rich people to help the poor, was propagated by James himself, but in reality he was a criminal with an eager willingness to shoot people. Jesse James began his "career" as a Confederate bushwhacker, basically a roving guerrilla fighter, with his older brother Frank. After the Civil War, the James brothers went from attacking Union troops to robbing banks and trains. Eventually, the would team up with the Younger brothers and become nationally known robbers. After a disastrous robbery in Northfield, Minnesota, the Youngers are captured and the James brothers lay low. Yet Jesse never really could just lay low. He recruited a new gang, robbing more banks and trains, and got a new bounty on his head from the Governor of Missouri. His only associates, Robert and Charles Ford, were probably only there to collect the bounty, which happened when Robert shot Jesse James while he hung a picture on the wall.