tv FOX News Special FOX News April 12, 2015 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
restoring america and making it work for people. that's what they want. >> grab some pop cornpopcorn. back-to-back series of legends or lies. west." executive produced by bill o'reilly. news is the first draft of history. it is immediate and takes place in real time. legends take longer to develop and are sometimes based on myth. this fox news series looks at the truth behind the legend.
on the north american plains opportunity into a new frontier. they would shape the nation and birth a new mythology. but with the passing of time every myth has its reckoning. jesse james, a rebellious southern boy born with a chip on his shoulder and a gun in his hand, known to america as a legendary outlaw. but behind every villain stands a man and hind every legend lies the truth. >> many people think of jesse james as a robin hood type
character, a social banded who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. that is a romanticized legend of jesse james. the truth is he is a violent criminal who holds a grudge against the union and supporters long after the war comes to an end. >> with the reconstruction effort underway the country is slowly reuniting. but in western missouri memories are long and bitter. >> excuse me sir. change for this $100 bill? >> we are bold robbers and i am proud of the name. alexander the great was a bold robber, julius caesar. >> look who we have here.
jesse james is a disciple of william anderson, a confederate some historians consider the civil war's most vicious war criminal. he is a man jesse views as a father figure. when bill is killed in a battle jesse vows revenge. >> everybody down now. get down. >> you got the wrong man. >> you know what you did. >> lieutenant samuel cox is the man responsible for killing bloody bill anderson. he is from the same town the bank is in and may even be the reason the james brothers target
it. in his rage jesse james kills the wrong man. cold brother killers start out as happy church going boys on a farm in the woods of clay county, missouri. jesse's father robert james, is a baptist minister. >> robert james selected by a group of men there who want to go out west to california. and he is the chaplain on this expedition. jesse is a very young child at this time.
and his father dies in california. >> his mother is a fierce southern woman at a time when women have no rights to property. she refuses to give up and quickly finds a husband who allows her to take control of the farm and family. she manages over 100 acres of hamptons. both of her sons to not only be for institution of flavor but fight for it and commit crimes in the name of the cause. >> the james family owns at least seven slaves and they are proud of it. in western missouri jesse james' family would rather secede than change. but the institution of slavery is being challenged in the nation's capitol. the nebraska territory on
missouri's border is poised to join the union. u.s. senator steven douglas proposes a controversial plan splitting the territory in two, kansas and nebraska. >> the kansas/nebraska act made the decision on whether a new territory would be slave or free to the voters. >> it will impart peace to the country and stability to the union. >> from the chaos the voice of reason emerges in abraham lincoln. >> white man takes the place in nebraska now who will inform the negro that he is free? as much as you do not object to my taking my hogs to nebraska therefore i must not object to your taking your slave. i admit it is perfectly logical
if there in fact is no difference between hogs and negroes. >> despite lincoln's efforts to kansas-nebraska act is passed the decision that expands slavery. the vote settles nothing and ignites a fire storm. violence divides nebraska and kansas and battle lines are drawn in jesse's hometown. face off against abolitionists. >> these were men on both sides of the union-rebel divide fighting at a local level using brutal tactics. >> on the james family farm busy shaping the next generation. she sees it as her special duty. >> don't take anything from those yankees. you hear me?
every man's responsibility to hold on to what they got. if somebody ain't holding on to what is theirs you just take it. >> her coaching is the beginning of what criminologists call violence conditioning. >> jesse has a mother who is saying nobody is going to tell me what to do. we own the slaves and nobody is going to take that away from us. being violent is his way of life. he absorbs that attitude. >> over the next six years the james family farm transforms into a confederate stronghold. they are a force the north will have to reckon with. on april 12, 1861 the south fires on fort sumter. the civil war begins. fighting in the militia with the
confederate army. >> knows that jesse will soon join and both her sons will be at war for the cause. >> you. you are going to fight the confederacy. your way of life. don't you let me down. >> union militia in the area started looking for these bushwhackers. she told everyone that frank was one of them. >> i don't know where he is. >> i believe you do you little rebel -- >> he doesn't know where he is!
civil war, missouri. their mother is a fanatical supporter of the confederacy and the right to own slaves. most believe it is she who instills in her boys a violent hatred that would go on to define them as adults. >> there is yankee scum around every corner. just look them right in the eye. >> her mother was very influential in jesse's development. he ends up being rewarded for violence and for all of these things that go hand in hand with war. >> you are going to teach them brutality brutality. >> the james brothers mount up with the confederate western missouri bushwhackers, a unit led by bloody bill anderson.
a man whose rage matches their own and whose savage brutality fosters a blood lust within his men. in the fall of 1864 union troops gaining ground in western missouri. but anderson's forces fight back through murder and acts of terror. here you have a 16 year old jesse with his band who are engaging in the most atrocious activities killing behind enemy lines. >> their main targets are the railroads, the life blood of the union advance. on september 27 1864 bloody bill and 80 of his soldiers hijack a train. but instead of supplies they find something even more valuable. >> this train has aboard a number of union forces on their
way home and they are unarmed. they really pose no threat but they have fallen to bloody bill anderson and his band. >> all you will die like dogs. >> bloody bill wasn't afraid to send a message. and it could be pretty brutal. we are talking about cut out tongues scalps, desecrateing dead bodies. bloody bill anderson had a very deep effect on jesse james because he was something of a mentor to jesse. james was involved in a lot of imitated behavior doing what bloody bill did. >> the bushwhackers killed 22
union soldiers and four civilians. >> jesse and frank james ride with bloody bill. until its ambush by samuel cox and his men. >> turned military leader and so he trailed and tracked bloody bill. >> jesse, we got to get him out of here. >> with bloody bill dead the union army begins hunting down the rest of the bushwhackers. jesse splits from the group and
is shot in the chest. frank is captured and surrender surrenders. he is forced to take an oath pledging loyalty to the union. >> i will defend the constitution of the united states and the union of the states there under. jesse is a prisoner of war under the union flag and must surrender before his wounds are treated. but he has no intention of giving up. even if the confederacy is defeated. >> for jesse james this is not an end of his conflict. this is the end of someone else's conflict not jesse james' conflict not frank james' conflict. their conflict isn't over.
it's still going on. >> with northern interests in power across missouri frank and jesse join forces with a group of brothers who share their fierce hatred for the yankees. the youngers lost their father and family home to the union and served under bloody bill anderson in his brutal campaign of terror. >> they honed that relationship. they realize the potential they had as a fighting force. >> well, just taking the place. >> taking the place? >> the head again federal
authority and everything they saw as being oppressors in their lives. >> everyone on the ground now. >> get down! >> it makes sense, then, to express your outrage by robbing banks. put the money in the bag now! >> we rob only in the glare of the day and peace of the multitude. we do not kill only in self defense when they refuse we kill. >> together the james younger gang is a terrifying bunch hell this is good, mom. "good"? (chuckles) it's delicious! and this new kibble blend is so healthy. thank you. no, nancy, thank you. kibbles 'n bits. because every bit matters.
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after pulling off first day light bank robberies the gang hits the jackpot. equal to nearly $9 o0,000 today but success only fuels ambition. the railroads are established by the union during the war, a symbol of northern power and a tool to build its wealth. the detective agency is hired to guard the cargo. for jesse and frank the trains are a perfect target if they don't get caught.
>> they were the first real detective agency, almost precursor of fbi. and their role was to run down. >> easy. >> there is no reason for a man to do anything when an experienced robber gets going. >> will die. >> we are but warriors for the working day. >> that is shakespeare. >> who among you fought for the rebel cause?
>> you, sir. you paid your debt. thank you. let's go, frank. >> news of the james brothers hold up spreads quickly. robbery is a blow to the northern railroads and embarrasses the pinkertons. >> their founder who had been a spy for the union takes it personally upon himself to bring jesse to justice. >> the nation's most powerful private security force is now on the hunt for jesse james. the attention he receives as leader of an outlaw gang becomes an addiction. >> the ambition to continue the civil war is reinforced by his ego as his reputation spreads the charismatic young outlaw
with a catchy name captures the imagination. that recognition escalates his violent rebellion. >> in kansas city the name jesse james catches the eye of a former confederate major turned newspaper man. >> a former confederate and was very sympathetic to what james were doing because he wanted to oppose reconstruction politic in missouri. >> the train robbery is one of the nation's first and for john edwards it elevates jesse james to hero status making him an even stronger tool to rally the disgruntled confederacy. >> he wanted to see these confederates take their political future into their own hands and thought the james gang would inspire him. that is why he started writing
positive reports. he made them the legends that they were. newspaper readers buy into the robin hood myth while in truth he is a greedy vicious killer. now clearly in the sights of the pinkertons who had been contracted to catch him. >> jesse i must admit that was a fairly well run operation. >> not bad at all. >> they convince a neighbor to alert them to the presence on the family farm. they plan a night raid. when they throw an illumination
device through a window for 13 year old half brother. >> they think it is a fire bomb and sweep it into the fire place. that turns it into an actual bomb. >> once again the james brothers brought war to the home and the famil i am totally blind. and sometimes i struggle to sleep at night, and stay awake during the day. this is called non-24. learn more by calling 844-824-2424. or visit your24info.com.
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jesse thinks that is probably the reason why there was an assault on james' family home. >> jesse reverts to his days as a bushwhacker and plans an ambush on a man who betrayed his family. >> you are going to teach them. >> protect an old woman and a little boy. >> after the raid on the farm pinkerton gives up on the james brothers. but jesse is now uncertain about his safety. he looks north for an easy target. >> jesse targets minnesota for a very simple reason, overconfidence. he views northern banks as no
match for the former bushwhacker bushwhackers but not everyone agrees. >> is in union territory. can you promise me we do it quietly? >> the gang heads 400 miles north posing as cattle buyers. they begin casing towns with banks to rob. >> northville is a prosperous town. >> with the population and economic growth in minnesota looked like it for those guys. >> with their long coats and impressive side arms the missouri boys stand out among the swedish immigrant farmers. >> it's a local bank which bears noting were the kind that jesse james like to hit.
most banks were filled with multiple people's money. but the gang arouses suspicions of the towns people. >> throw up your hands for we intend to rob this bank. >> we'll be quick about it. >> citizens have a number among them who are some of the esteemed soldiers from the civil war from the first minnesota. esteemed because of their battle record. so did this stop? >> i can't open that safe. >> the time lock safe is a safe that can only be open at certain times of the day regardless of whether you have the
own making. >> come on jesse! two of jesse's men are killed. the rest are lucky to escape the town's assault. trailing behind them is the largest man hunt in the nation's history. a posse of nearly 1,000 men head west into the great woods. jesse has made a costly mistake in his personal war may finally be over.
a decade after the civil war jesse james continues his reckless fight against the union but pushing the battle north into minnesota proves disastrous and puts him in the cross hairs of the nation's largest man hunt. to increase their chances against the massive search party the gang splits up. >> jesse and frank go one way
but the unders are apprehensive. what has been a successful part of the gang has reached a dead end. >> they ride through the dakota territory getting away with $26.70. and eventually returning home to missouri. >> frank ultimately thought the way this is going it is going to be a bullet for them but jesse was die hard. >> square heads. too bad younger boys couldn't keep up. yeah. get them next time. >> we continue down this path there will not be -- maybe for you.
we'll see. >> frank is concerned with the attention jesse's eradek behavior attracts in the papers while a small time missouri criminal is following jesse's every move. >> there's no better way to get close to the object of your admiration than to join his gang. and maybe in some way become a little bit like him. that's the picture that we have today. >> at this point jesse james is losing his edge. historians proven he starts abusing an opium based pain killer that is legal at the time. his abuse of laudanum only adds
>> the people he surrounds himself with were no longer professionals. these weren't the youngers. these were amateurs. >> i have been hunted for 21 years. it was one long inexorable. i was tired of an outlaw's life. >> seeing jesse's new and inexperienced crew frank parts ways with his brother. jesse begins to sink into a dark mood. he wears a holster at all times even while sleeping.
he is unbalanced, paranoid and more dangerous than ever. >> jesse james became likely to be experiencing schizophrenia as a result of years of engaging in violence. >> jesse is anxious but for good reason. he has a weakness within his winner circle. >> at this point they are agitated because they are scared. >> need to kill him or he will kill us for sure. >> young bob ford, what do you have for ford what do you have? >> i have access to kill jesse james if you like. >> it is complon for governments to offer rewards for criminals.
but missouri governor thomas crittendon goes much further. he offers robert ford 10,000 dollars and a full pardon to kill jesse james. >> no more to talk about. it's a government hit on a u.s. citizen turning a loyal disciple into a hired disaster and a the american dream is terrifying. american history is the history of the scary thing being the exact thing have to do. cross that ocean. walk on that moon. fly. none of this makes rational sense. it only makes american sense. here, the hard things show us who we are. leaving your job to start your own thing. having a kid, when you still feel like a kid. signing a 30-year mortgage on a home. scary sure, but no match for our colossal self belief.
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>> jesse james is haunted by his violent past, the effects of war crime and acts of terror tear away his sanity. his paranoia casts a dark cloud over the ford brothers who unknown to jessie had been plotting to kill him for a 10,000 dollar reward. >> charlie and bob are looking for an opportunity. jessie's wife had made breakfast, and they see jessie do something that he has never done before.
>> while he may have gave jessie for the opportunity came to get money, reputation, they took advantage of it. >> jessie-- jesse! >> i didn't do it. >> legend painted jesse james as a hero to the people. the truth is, he's a damaged child turned soldier and criminal, a violent sociopath with enough charisma to charm the media. he made his mark while he was alive, but in death he becomes larger than life, an icon of the real west. >> dozens of photographs are taken of the body to prove it is the notorious outlaw. for millions of americans the legend of jesse james has lived only in their imagination.
later that year frank james surrenders to missouri authorities. he is quickly acquitted of his crimes by a pro confederate jury. >> bob and charlie ford never get their 10,000 dollar bounty. they are forced to settle for a full pardon from the governor for murdering jesse. two years later charlie turns the gun on himself committing suicide. bob ford is murdered by a jesse james admirer a decade later. >> over the years she makes more money from her son's death than the ford brothers. she begins charging tourists $0.50 to see the grave of the famous outlaw. for another $0.50 she will even provide a pebble from his grave.
>> we are not idolizing jesse james the man. we are talking about jesse james the myth. jessie was not a benevolent soul to robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. he was a psycho path. >> he made his brother proudmother proud by going to war for the confederacy. >> the violence jesse james lived through branded him a rebel and sent him on a path of revenge leaving the legacy of destruction. he may be a popular subject for hollywood, but sifting through the legends and lies leaves us with one of the real west most violent outlaws and a scaryou.