For over 150 years the image of western bad men has thrilled readers and filled movie screens. Who hasn’t heard of Jesse James, the Dalton Brothers, Black Bart, or Belle Starr? They are as much a part of American folklore as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
There’s something about the west that has brought out the best, and the worst in mankind. The funny thing is, a cult following has developed around many of these bandits, making them out to be something they weren’t.
The sad truth is most outlaws led a short life that ended, either at the end of a rope, or with a bullet in the brain. Only a lucky few survived into the new century—Frank James, Cole Younger, and Emmett Dalton, to name a few.