They are long since dead but some desperadoes never really go away. Jesse James, America’s most notorious outlaw, is one…
True Detective March 2008
They are long since dead but some desperadoes never really go away. Jesse James, America’s most notorious outlaw, is one of them. Down the years countless movies have portrayed him and now he’s back again in another film, the recently-released and quaintly-titled The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, starring Brad Pitt.
Jesse James’s slave-owning family supported the breakaway Confederate cause in America’s Civil War and the boy became a guerrilla fighter in the south’s battle with the federal north. To this day, many consider him a post-Civil War hero while to others he’s just a thieving, cold-blooded killer. Which view is right? To help you make up your mind, read the full story as told some 70 years ago by Hollis B. Fultz, an author whose name will be familiar to Wild West aficionados.
The murder fascinated the era’s distinguished authors of detective fiction. “It would always be unbeatable,” said Raymond Chandler, while Dorothy L. Sayers observed, “Everything that the accused said or did might be construed as the behaviour either of an innocent man caught in a trap or of a guilty man pretending to be caught in a trap.” What case prompted such comments? Liverpool’s most famous case, the murder of Julia Wallace. Part of the Notable British Trials series.