tv Legends Lies The Real West FOX News April 19, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
for many years they will be utterly extinct. >> shut up! >> to help carry out the great work of this country. news is the first draft of history. it is immediate and takes place in realtime. 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 calls men of courage to chase the sun west 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, born with a chip on his soldier and a gun in his hand, known to america as a legendary outlaw. but behind every legend lies the truth. >> many people think of jesse james as a robinhood-type
character, a social bandit who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. that's a romantacized version. the truth is he, holds a grudge against the union and its supporters long after the war comes to an end. >> with the reconstruction effort under way, the country is slowly uniting. but in western missouri, memories are long and bitter. >> excuse me, sir. can i get change for this $100 bill? >> we are bold robbers and i am proud of the name. alexander the great was a bold robber. napoleon bonaparte.
>> what do we have here? >> they ambushed us. >> jesse james is spiteful of william anderson and some historians considered the civil war's most vicious war criminal. known as bloody bill, he's a man who jesse views as a father figure. and when bill was killed in a battle, jesse vows revenge. son of a [ bleep ]. >> everybody down now! get down! open the safe. >> dammit. you killed brother bill! >> no, you've got the wrong man. >> shut up! you know what you did! >> lieutenant samuel cox is the man responsible for killing bloody bill anderson. he's from the same town the bank is in and may even be the reason that james brothers targeted,
but in his rage -- [ gunfire ] -- jesse james kills the wrong man. [ gunfire ] >> cold-blooded killers, frank and jesse james, start out as boys on a farm in clay county, missouri. jesse's father, robert james, is a baptist minister. >> robert james was selected by a group of men there who want to go out west to california. and he's the chaplain on this expedition to go out gold mining.
jesse is a very young child at this time and his father dies in california. >> his mother was fierce at a time when women had no rights to property. she refuses to give up and quickly finds a husband in ruben samuel, who allows her to take over the farm and family. zerelda manages over a hundred acres of hemp and tobacco by relying on slave labor. >> she raised both of her sons to not only be for the institution of slavery but also to fight for it and to commit crimes in the name of the cause. >> the james family owns at least seven slams aves and they proud of it. in western missouri, his family would rather sucede than change.
but the institution of slavery is being challenged in the nation's capital. poised to join the union. u.s. senator steven douglas proposes a controversial plan, splitting the two in half. >> this leaves the decision on whether a new territory would be slavery-free to the voters. >> this is no triumph. peace to the country and stability for the union. >> from the chaos, a voice of reason emerges in abraham lincoln. >> white man takes his man to the slave and as much as you do not object to my taking my in nebraska, therefore i must not object to your taking your slave. now, i admit this is perfectly
logical. if there, in fact, is no difference between hogs and negros. >> despite lincoln's effort, the kansas, nebraska, act is passed, the decision that expands slavery. this settles nothing and ignites a firestorm and divides kansas and nebraska and battle lines are drawn in jesse's hometown. they face off against abolitionists called jayhawkers. >> these were men on both sides of the union rebels divide fighting at a local level using brutal tactics. >> on the james' family farm, zerelda is busy shaping the next generation of bushwhackers and sees it as her duty to fight for the confederacy.
>> don't you take anything from those yankees. you hear me? it's every man's responsibility to hold on to what they got. if somebody isn't holding on to what is theirs, you just take it. >> her coaching is the beginning of what criminologists call violent conditioning. >> she said we own slaves and nobody is going to take that away from us. seeing violence as his way of life, he absorbed that attitude from her. >> over the next six years, the james family farm transforms into a confederate stronghold. frank and jesse are now a force that the north will have to recon with. on april 12th, 1861, the south fires on fort sumpter and the civil war begins. frank fights in the militia for
the confederate army. zerelda knows that jesse will soon join him and both of her sons will be at war for the cause. >> you, you're going to fight for the confederacy. >> that's right, mom. >> your way of life. don't you let me down. >> the union militia in the area started looking for these bushwhackers. zerelda had told everyone that frank was one of them. >> i'm here for your brother frank. >> i don't know where he is. >> i believe you do. you little rebel son of a [ bleep ]. [ screaming ] >> get off me! [ screaming ]
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political. >> the james brothers grow up in civil war missouri, a state divided on the issue of slavery. their mother is a finatical supporter of confederacy and she goes on to define them as adults. >> there's yankee scum around every corner. just lock them right in the eye. >> she 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. >> with these guns, you're going to teach them brutality. >> the james brothers hook up with the bushwhackers, a unit
led by bloody bill anderson. a man whose rage matches their own and a blood lus lust within his men. in the fall of 1864, union troops are 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 this guerrilla gang who are engaging in the most atroe atrocious activities. >> their main targets are the railroads, the life blood of the union advance. on september 27th, 1864, bloody bill and 80 of his soldiers hijack a train. but instead of supplies, they find something even more valuable.
>> there were a number of union forces and home guards that are on their way home and they are unarmed. they really pose no threat but they have now fallen to blood bill anderson. >> they are going to die. >> bloody bill wasn't afraid to send a message and it could be pretty brutal. we're talking about cutout thomas, scalps, desecrating dead bodies, and there was an effect on jesse james because he was something of a mentor to jesse and james was involved in behavior doing what bloody bill did. >> the bushwhackers kill four
civilians and 22 union soldiers. >> jesse and frank james ride with bloody bill's unit. until it is ambushed. by samuel cox and his men. >> samuel cox was a turned military leader and so he trailed and tracked bloody bill. >> jesse, we've got to get them out of here. >> bill! >> with bloody bill dead, the union army began hunting down the rest of the bushkak
whackers. jesse splits from the group. and is shot in the chest. frank is captured and surrenders. he's forced to take an oath pledging loyalty to the union. >> i will henceforth faith fully support and defend the constitution of the united states and the union of the state thereunder. >> jesse is a prisoner of war 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 the group of brothers who share their fierce hatred for the yankees. the youngers lost their family and home to the union. they, too, served under bloody bill anderson in his brutal campaign of terror. >> they have known each other well before the civil war. they honed that relationship they realized the potential they had as a fighting force. >> what do you recon is next for us? >> well, just a matter of taking the place. >> taking the place? >> taking the land. >> they had to do something to
strike back against federal authority and everything they saw as being a pressure in their life. >> everyone on the ground, no! >> get down! >> grab the money, frank. >> so they robbed banks. >> put that money in the bag, now! come on! >> it is true that we are robbers. we rob only in the glare of the day and in the teeth of the multitude. we do not kill only in self-defense when they refuse to unlock when killed. >> dammit, cox. [ gunfire ] >> together, the james younger gang is a terrifying bunch, hell-bent on resurrecting the confederacy. kond kond. . .
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>> after pulling off the first daylight bank robberies in history the james unger game hits the jackpot equal to nearly 900,000 dollars today, but their success only fuels their ambition. the railroads are established by the union during the war. northern power and tool to build its wealth, the pinkerton detective agency is highered to guard the cargo. for jesse and frank the trains are a perfect target if they don't get caught. >> the pinkertons were the first
real detective agency, almost the precursor of an fbi. their goal was to rundown criminals. >> hands up. easy. >> there's no reason for a man to do anything when the experienced robber is there. give the alarm or resists he will die. >> your purse. >> that pretty little broach. >> we are warriors for the working day. that's 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 brother's holdup spreads quickly. the robbery is a blow to the northern railroads and embarrassing the pinkertons. >> allen pinkerton, their founder who had been a spy for the union during the civil war 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. >> jissy's ambiti -- jesse's ambition is his ego. as the charismatic young outlaw
captures the attention of the confederates. that only escalates his violent rebellion. >> in kansas city the name jesse james catches the eye of a former confederate major turned newspaper man. >> john edwards was a former confederate calvary man. he was sefrp thet he can becaym wanted to reimpose it to the railroad. >> for edwards it elevates jesse james to hero status making it a stronger tool to rally the disgruntled confederacy. >> edwards wanted to see the down troded confederates take the political future into their own hands and he thought the james gang would enexpire them. that's why he started writing
positive reports. he made them the legends that they were. >> newspaper readers across the country buy into the robin hood myth. while in truth, he's 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. >> slow it down boys. getting a little over excited. >> not bad at all. >> the pinkertons convince a neighbor to alert them to the james' brother's prns on the family farm. they plan a night raid. when the pinkertons throw an illumination device through the window the only ones home are
jesse's mother, stepfather and 13-year-old half brother. >> rubin and zorelda think it's a fire bomb and sweep it into the fireplace. that turns it into an actual bomb. >> once again, the james brothers have brought war to the doorstep of their home and their family is caught in the crossfire. anyone have occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating?
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♪ (explosion) >> the pinkerton raid on jess sy's family maims his fathmothed kills his half brother archie. jesse vows revenge. >> i hope and pray our heavenly father delivers you into my hands, and i believe he will. his merciful and protecting arm as ever been with me. i believe he will continue and ever protect me for as long as i serve him. >> we know the pinkertons used spies. it may have been the case they placed a spy on an adjacent
farm. jesse thinks that's probably the reason why there was an assault on james' family home. >> jesse reverts to his days as a bush wacker and plans an ambush on the man who be trade his family. >> this is for attacking an old woman and a little boy. >> after the raid on the farm pinkerton gives up on the james' brothers. but jessie is uncertain about his safety in missouri. he looks north for an easy target. >> jesse targets minnesota for a simple reason, over confidence. he views northern banks as no match for the former
bushwackers, but not everyone in the gang agrees. >> may i refimind you minnesotas in the union territory. can you promise me you will do it quietly? >> all right. all right. >> the gang heads 400 miles north posing as cattle buyers. they begin casing towns with banks to rob. >> northville is -- northfield is a prosperous town with the population and economic growth in minnesota. it looked like the right area for those guys. >> with their long coats and i am pressive side arms the missouri boys stand out against the swedish immigrant farmers. >> it's a local bank. the kind of bank jesse james
liked to hit. most of the banks were filled with local people's money. but the gang arrives at the suspicion of the towns people. >> throw up your hands. we intend to rob this bank. >> get open the safe and be dam quick about it. >> the citizens of northfield have a number of them who are some of the esteemed soldiers from the civil war. esteemed because of their battle record. so this soft spot is not as soft as they thought. >> i can't open that safe. it has a time lock. >> a time lock safe is a safe that can only be open certain times of the day regardless of whether you have the combination. something that jesse james had
not experienced at that point. >> do something. (gun fire) >> i am going to check out side. >> do something. >> for god's sake, get out there. jesse, come on. >> come on, jesse. >> the bank robby of northfield is an absolute disaster. it was an ambush, but it was an ambush of their own making. >> come on, jesse.
(gun fire) >> two of jesse's men are killed. the rest are lucky to escape the town's assault. but trailing behind them is the largest manhunt in the nation's history, a posse of nearly 1,000 men now heads west into minnesota's great woods. jesse has made a costly mistake, and his personal war may finally be over.
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gun fires. >> a decade after the civil war jesse james continues his fight against the union by bushing the battle north into minnesota proves disastrous and puts him in the cross hairs of the nation's largest manhunt. to increase their chances of a massive company the search splits up. >> the youngers are apprehended.
this is an ill faded moment of a career what had been a successful gang has reached a dead end. >> frank and jesse ride more than 400 miles through the dakota territory getting away with $26.26 and eventually heading to missouri. >> frank he ultimately thought, the way this is going, it is going to be a bullet or a noose for them. but jesse, he was diehard. >> square heads, right? too bad the younger boys couldn't keep up. >> yeah. >> we will get them next time. >> if we continue down this path there will not be a next time. >> maybe for you. we will see.
>> frank is concerned with the attention jesse'ser raderratic behavior attracts in it the papers. a long time criminal bob ford is following jesse's every move. >> bob ford was this media saturated fan. there's no better way to get close to the object of your admiration than to join his gang. maybe in some ways become a little bit like him. that's the picture of bob ford that we have today. >> at this point jesse james is losing his edge. historians have proven he starts abusing an opium based pain-killer that is still legal at the time. his abuse only adds to his fanaticism and helps to trigger
19-year-old bushwackers any more. >> time is catching up with jesse. his personal war comes with a heavy price. desperate to keep up the fight, jesse recruits the ford brothers, charlie a petty chief and bob who idolizes jesse. >> one hand and a gun. >> no problem, jesse. >> we need a job, jesse. >> we can use bob.
(indistinct talking) >> 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 eternal journey. i was tired of the life. >> seeing his 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's unbalanced, paranoid and more dangerous than ever. >> jesse james became delusion a al. he likely hz skits fren gnaw after years of engaging in violence. >> jesse is anxious for a good reason. he has a weakness in his inner circle, the ford brothers. >> at this point the ford brothers, they are living in the same house with jesse. and they are agitated because they are scared. >> we need to kill him or he will kill us for sure. >> young bob ford what do you have for us? >> i have access to kill jesse james if you like. >> it is common for governments
to offer rewards for criminals. a former union officer goes much further. he offers robert ford 10,000 dollars and a full pardon to kill jesse james. >> it's a government hit on a u.s. citizen turning a loyal disciple into a high -- hired assassin and serial killer into a target. no, nancy, thank you. kibbles 'n bits. because every bit matters. ou have something for pain? kibbles 'n bits. i have bayer aspirin. i'm not having a heart attack, it's my back. i mean bayer back & body. it works great for pain. bayer back & body provides effective relief for your tough pain. better? yeah...thanks for the tip!
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the truth is, he's a damaged child turned soldier and criminal, a vieolent 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's 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 zorelda makes more money from her son's death than the ford brothers. she begins charging tourists $0.50 to see the grave of the country's most 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. jesse was not a benevolent soul who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. he was a psycho path. >> he made his mother proud by going to war for the confederacy but continues to spite long past what was prudent. >> the violence jesse james lived through sent him on a path of revenge leaving behind a 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's most vie p lent outlaws and a scar on the face of american history. >> news is the first craft 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. ♪ >>