He was growing into middle age...
...and was living then in a bungalow on Woodland Avenue.
He installed himself in a rocking chair...
...and smoked a cigar down in the evenings...
...as his wife wiped her pink hands on an apron...
...and reported happily on their two children.
His children knew his legs...
...the sting of his mustache against their cheeks.
They didn't know how their father made his living or why they so often moved.
They didn't even know their father's name.
He was listed in the city directory as Thomas Howard.
And he went everywhere unrecognized...
...and lunched with Kansas City shopkeepers and merchants...
...calling himself a cattleman or a commodities investor...
...someone rich and leisured who had the common touch.
He had two incompletely healed bullet holes in his chest...
...and another in his thigh.
He was missing the nub of his left middle finger...
...and was cautious, lest that mutilation be seen.
He also had a condition that was referred to as "granulated eyelids"...
...and it caused him to blink more than usual...
...as if he found creation slightly more than he could accept.
Rooms seemed hotter when he was in them.
Rains fell straighter.
Sounds were amplified.
He considered himself a Southern loyalist and guerrilla...
...in a Civil War that never ended.
He regretted neither his robberies, nor the 17 murders that he laid claim to.
He had seen another summer under in Kansas City, Missouri...
...and on September 5th in the year 1881...
...he was 34 years old.
You just-- You just slide them things right in there, right in your sleeve...
...and then, when you get ready, you just shake it out.
Like that, right there. You shake it out.
Mary Todd Lincoln, tyrant's wife, fall into hysterics when the moon was full.
President's men would tie her up with hay-baling wire...
...keep her from ripping her husband's ears off.
You never heard word one about the wife of the Confederacy's Jefferson Davis, did you?
I didn't. No, you didn't.
He did his duty by her.
Oh, my God, I'm speaking to children. No, I get it, I get it, I get it.
The president of the Confederacy discerned his wife's needs and satisfied them...
...with the utmost skill and the utmost courtesy.
Charley, you spit all over my boot. Sorry. Sorry, sorry, Jesse.
Here, get it off. I'll wipe it-- I'll wipe it off.
But Abraham Lincoln probably sent his wife on a shopping expedition.
A three-act play. With money stole from us.
I think insanity run on both sides of that Lincoln family.
You're right about that.
The river-- You jump in the river.
Chow! Don't be shy now, Dick.
One more piece of meat. When you diddle a lot...
There's a good piece of bacon fat in there for him.
I see I've traipsed right on in and interrupted you.
Who are you, then?
I was lying when I said I just happened down here.
I've been looking for you. I feel lousy I didn't say so at the outset.
Folks take me for a nincompoop...
...on account of the shabby first impression I make, whereas I think of myself...
...as being just a rung down from the James brothers.
I was hoping if I ran into you aside from those peckerwoods...
...I could show you how special I am.
I honestly believe I'm destined for great things, Mr. James.
I got qualities that don't come shining through right at the outset.
You give me a chance, I'll get the job done. I guarantee you that.
Hey, Dick, is it true you diddled a squaw?
Come on, you can tell me. I've always wanted to lay down with a redskin.
...there's a feeling that comes over you...
...getting inside a woman whose hands has scalped a congregation.
There's this thunderous sound that comes from their cooch...
...on account of the fact that they birth a child standing upright...
-...like a wild animal. What's it sound like?
Whatever a thunderous cooch sounds like there, Charley. I don't know.
They got a noisy quim on account of the fact that...
...they use their cunnis as a saddlebag to carry sundries across the plains.
Come on, what'd it really feel like? Did it feel good?
Come on, fess up, now.
I like you, Charley.
I like you too, Charley.
You're not so special, Mr. Ford.
You're just like any other tyro who's prinked himself up for an escapade.
Hoping to be a gunslinger like them nickel books are about.
You may as well quench your mind of it...
...because you don't have the ingredients, son.
Well, I'm sorry to hear you feel that way...
...as I put such stock in your opinions.
As for me being a gunslinger, I've just got this one granddaddy Paterson Colt...
...and a borrowed belt to stick it in.
But I also got an appetite for greater things.
I hoped by joining up with you, it'd put me that much closer to getting them.
Well, what am I supposed to say to that?
Let me be your sidekick tonight.
So you can examine my grit and intelligence.
I don't know what it is about you...
...but the more you talk, the more you give me the willies.
Now, I don't believe I want you anywhere within earshot this evening, okay?
Well, I'm sorry-- Why don't you just get now? Scat.
I was with a girl once, wasn't a squaw.
But she was pretty.
She had yellow hair like a...
Oh, like something.
Like hair bobbed from a ray of sunlight?
Yeah. Yeah, like that.
Boy, you-- You talk good.
You can hide things in vocabulary.
Maybe you and me could write her a note, send it by post?
See, all you gotta do, Ed...
...is predict her needs and beat her to the punch.
Well, this girl, she has a real specific job.
Specific? We was only together once.
She was afraid of lightning, and she came up under the wagon and...
...just cuddled right up to me.
She give me a kind price, too.
Well, I'll be. That is specific.
Yeah, sure, she'd been with other people...
...but the kind of things she said to me...
...people just don't say unless they really mean it.
My love said she would marry only me And Jove himself could not make her care.
For what women say to lovers, you'll agree One writes on running water or on air.
My God, that's good. Let's write her that.
Poetry don't work on whores.
How do you do?
Am I too late to wish you a happy birthday?
How'd you know?
You'd be surprised at what I got stored away.
I'm an authority on the James boys.
Well-- Well, your brother Frank and I, we just had a real nice visit.
Just chit-chatting about this and that, right over there.
And must've been a hundred subjects entertained--
Good Lord, you know what this stew needs?
You eat yourself some noodle stew and your clock'll tick all night.
You ever see that woman up in Fayette? Suck noodles up her nose.
In Fayette? I don't believe I have.
You never heard of her, huh?
She got canals up there you never dreamed of.
I don't like to harp on a subject--
I don't care who comes with me. Never have.
That's why they call me gregarious.
I hear you and young Stovepipe here had a real nice visit.
Your boys have got about a acre of lumber to haul, dingus.
You better goose them down yonder.
The James Gang committed over 25 bank, train and stagecoach robberies...
...from 1867 to 1881.
But except for Frank and Jesse James...
...all the original members were now either dead or in prison.
--Mine eye All my soul and all my every part And for this sin, there is no remedy It is so grounded inward in my heart.
So for their last robbery at Blue Cut...
...the brothers recruited a gang of petty thieves and country rubes...
...culled from the local hillsides.
Right on schedule, Buck!
Snuff those lanterns!
Look at those fools. They're gonna trip and shoot each other into females.
I bet you I could find them husbands if they do.
Hold your fire!
Watch him! Going down.
Hold your fire, you idiots!
Hold your fire!
Let me in.
Buck, this way!
Do you think that lock will hold?
No, I don't.
Let's go, let's go.
Let's not get clever, nor courageous, any of you.
Hey there, boys! These all for me?
Looks like Christmas morning in here.
You mind if I have a peek around?
This shit. Nope.
You got anything good here?
Open that safe.
You didn't have to bop him. Yeah, he did. They needed convincing.
They got their company rules, I got my mean streak...
...and that's how we get things done around here.
Get on over here and attend to this thing. Come on, go.
Hold your fire, you idiots!
Come on! Give me your money.
And you, stand up. Let's see your hands.
What have you got?
Money. Money. You understand that?
Give me your money!
There's some receipts.
I got fives.
Don't look good.
There ain't no 100,000 dollars in here, Dick.
Get down on your knees.
Well, you ought to pray.
I'm gonna kill you.
You're gonna have to make me.
Don't shoot him! No, don't shoot him.
Don't tell me what I can and cannot do, Ed.
Round them up!
Chicago newspaper publishers made a great deal of the Blue Cut train robbery...
...alleging that in no state but Missouri...
...would the James brothers be tolerated for 12 years.
Can you keep a secret?
It depends on what you're concealing.
You afraid of the dark?
I put-- I put an acorn in the window to keep the lightning out.
Kid, you must've crept up on cat's paws.
I'll wager that's the first and last time you'll ever be caught off-guard.
How old are you?
Except, well, I guess I won't really be 20 till...
Till January, so...
Yeah, you feel older than that, though, don't you?
Yeah, I do.
Hey, Frank, you-- You think the sheriff's out already?
More than likely. Yeah.
I had a real fine time tonight.
You think so? Yup. Yeah.
Hey, I wasn't just flapping my lips about my kid brother and me.
What I figured was if you and Jesse could gauge our courage and our daring...
...you might just make us your regular sidekicks.
Your courage and your daring.
I about heard all I want to about sidekicks. You sound like your damn brother.
Yeah. Well, I'll be square with you, it's Bob who put me up to it. He's--
He's got plans for the James boys I can't even get the hang of.
They're that complicated. Yeah?
Well, you can just get shed of that idea.
Because after tonight, there'll be no more shenanigans.
You can jot that down in your little diary.
September 7th, 1881, the James Gang robbed one last train at Blue Cut...
...and gave up their nightriding for good.
Well, how are you gonna make your living?
Maybe I'll sell shoes.
I can't believe I woke up this morning...
...wondering if my daddy would loan me his overcoat...
...and here it is just past midnight...
...I've already robbed a rail road train and I'm sitting in a rocking chair...
...chatting with none other than Jesse James.
Yeah, it's a wonderful world.
I was real agitated this morning, so I was wondering if I would know you or Frank...
...tell you all apart, and so I had this clipping that described you both.
Want me to read it?
Well... I gotta find it. Hold on.
"Jesse James, the youngest, has a face as smooth and innocent as a schoolgirl.
The blue eyes, very clear and penetrating, are never at rest.
His form is tall and graceful and capable of great endurance...
...and great effort.
Jesse is lighthearted, reckless, and devil-may-care.
There's always a smile on his lips--" All right, all right, all right.
Well, yeah, then it just-- Frank, Frank, Frank. That's nothing. And then...
You know what I got right next to my bed?
Is The Train Robbers, or, A Story of the James Boys by R.W. Stevens.
I mean, many's the night I stayed up...
...with my eyes open and my mouth open...
...just reading about your escapades in the Wide Awake Library.
They're all lies, you know.
Yeah, of course they are.
You don't have to keep smoking that if it's making you bungey.
Alexander Franklin James would be in Baltimore...
...when he would read of the assassination of Jesse James.
He had spurned his younger brother for being peculiar and temperamental.
But once he perceived that he would never see Jesse again...
...Frank would be wrought-up, perplexed, despondent.
My brother and me are hardly on speaking terms these days.
Well, I wasn't gonna mention it.
Are you scared?
No, I'm just surprised a little.
They ain't as succulent as I like, the devil to clean...
...but if a man skins them and fries them in garlic and oil...
...mercy, them's good eating.
Well, I never been that hungry.
I give them names.
Such as enemies.
I give them names of enemies.
Go tell Wood and Charley to get their gatherings together.
You can stay.
What do you want, peckerwood? Nothing.
Except to say Jesse wants you two to gather your parts...
...get on your horses and get out of town.
And me to stick around.
Well, whoa, I'm his cousin...
...I'll have you know.
My mama's his daddy's sister.
Is that how they described it to you, Wood?
You better watch your tongue, young sapling.
Why is it me who's gotta rattle his hocks out of town and not you, Bunny?
Put your horns away. If I know Jess...
...there's some real nasty sad-suzie work's gotta be done...
...and Bob's the ninny that has to do it.
Oh, yeah, I'm sure that's it, Charley.
You only met him 12 hours ago. He doesn't even know your name.
Wood! You tell your daddy I'll be in Kentucky in October.
We can hunt some birds together.
So how come it's Bob who gets to stay?
Bob's gonna move my gear to a house down the street.
I don't mind. Yeah, well.
Sounds like an adventure.
They moved to 1017 Troost Avenue at night...
...so that the neighborhood couldn't get a good look at them or their belongings.
Then Bob thought Jesse would give him eight hours' sleep...
...and a daydreaming goodbye.
But with a second day in the Thomas Howard house...
...Bob thought he might never go...
...but might be brought in as a good-natured cousin to the boy...
...and a gentleman helper to Zee.
He went everywhere with Jesse.
They made trips to the Topeka Exchange Saloon...
...where Jesse could spend nearly 60 minutes sipping one glass of beer...
...and still complain about feeling tipsy.
Bob would rarely vouchsafe his opinions as they talked.
If spoken to, he would fidget and grin.
If Jesse palavered with another person, Bob secretaried their dialogue...
...getting each inflection, reading every gesture and tic...
...as if he wanted to compose a biography of the outlaw...
...or as if he were preparing an impersonation.
Used to be couldn't no one sneak up on Jesse James.
Now you think otherwise?
I ain't never seen you without your guns, neither.
I can't figure it out.
Do you wanna be like me...
...or do you wanna be me?
I'm just making fun, is all.
Bob was sent away cordially the next day...
...with a goodbye from Jesse...
...but nothing from Zee beyond what good manners demanded.
It was 40 miles to his sister's farm from Kansas City.
And it was well into the afternoon by the time he arrived there.
Mrs. Martha Bolton rented the Harbison farm in 1879...
...just after becoming a widow.
And she made a good income by giving rooms and meals...
...to her brothers Charley, Wilbur and Bob, and to members of the James Gang...
...who would appear whenever they needed seclusion.
Dick! You're gonna make her sick!
She's gonna upchuck if you don't watch out!
Wood Hite had been spurned by Martha in his affections...
...and his attempt to switch his pursuit to her daughter...
...was being thwarted by Dick Liddil.
Wait a second, you assured me that you were not ticklish.
What's going on, now? What's going on--?
Howdy! Were you fibbing about that?
No. Not at all.
You're not supposed to peek, Dick.
Well, you're just so pretty I can't help myself.
You need to be warning him about that. Howdy.
Worry about the field instead, might be able to worry about the work...
Finally home. I'm so glad, Bob.
I'm in that room too, Bob. Don't mess with my things.
All right, Grandpa.
"July 9th. Diligence, tact, and a keen sense of responsibility...
...capacity for detail are your dominant traits. Your sense of duty's strong."
How long you been there?
Just now arrived. Did I miss much?
Not unless you never seen a man wash his dirty carcass before.
Boy, you got a big old pecker for being such a little squirrel.
That what you come here to see, Dick?
Your brother said that Jesse kept you in Kansas City some extra days.
What was the reason?
Well, I'm not at liberty to say exactly.
Let me ask you this. Did Jesse mention that me and Cummins were in cahoots?
Is that so?
Oh, dear. I went on and said too much, have I?
Well, who else is partners with you two?
See, he'll cut our throats if he finds out. You don't know him like I do.
You do Jesse dirt, you connive behind his back...
...boy, he'll come after you with a cleaver.
So, what are you two cahoots cooking up?
Don't know that I should say.
I'm not gonna wheedle the dang news from you.
How about we'll leave it a mystery...
...and then we won't neither one of us regret our little chat?
Can you hand me that six-gun there, Bob?
If you so much as mention my name to Jesse...
...boy, I'll find out about it.
You had better believe that.
And I'll look you up.
I'll knock on your door, and I will be as mad as a hornet.
I will be hot.
You be careful with that iron, Dick.
You know where I stand on these matters and that's all there is to it.
Me and you can be as friendly as pigs from now on.
I'm Bunny Ford, stick your hands up in the air!
Oh, you have some nerve.
We were just reading about the James boys among the Mexicans.
What's this? This ain't Jesse.
You don't know that. He would've never wore no mustache.
Never was anywheres near a cannon.
Let me see that picture.
Boy, I can't even calculate what I'm looking at.
Give me that. Ever since he was a child...
...Bob's collected whatsoever he could find about the James brothers.
Yeah, got himself a little museum in his room.
Next time you come snooping around, you better strap on a shooting iron!
Well, you can see how scared I am.
You too, Wood Hite. Cross me again, I'll put a bullet through your head!
Son, you better recollect who my cousin is...
...because you've seemed to misremembered that Jesse loves me like the Good Book.
Now, you may play it like you're a dangerous person in the grocery store...
...but don't misremember who you be accounting to...
-...if I so much get my feelings hurt. I don't care!
Do I have to yell "suwee"?
Why don't we make up, be pleasant for once?
Why don't we pass the evening like pleasant human beings?
I like your nickel suit, cowboy.
You see something?
Just a bird.
The month of October came...
...and Jesse began seeing Pinkerton operatives in every floor walker...
...street sweeper, and common man poking about in a store.
On the morning of the 11 th, he would wake his wife...
...with the Scripture pertaining to the Holy Family's flight into Egypt.
Overnight, the Thomas Howard clan vanished from Kansas City.
Shortly thereafter, four of the Blue Cut train robbers...
...were arrested in shacks near Glendale.
How Jesse could have known remains a mystery.
Theirs was a wandering existence.
Men who choose to be outlaws...
...cannot afford to remain in one place for very long.
Goodness. Maybe I'll change my mind. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go.
Martha. Buck up, man.
Wood and Dick would bicker across the entire state of Kentucky...
...until they made Russellville, home of Major George Hite, Wood's father...
...and uncle to Frank and Jesse James.
You stay away from this one.
She's my daddy's wife.
You got it?
Did you cook this, ma'am?
I've got a nigger woman.
Dick asked if I cooked this.
She knew what he was like when she married him.
I guess we're the night owls, you and I.
You're interesting to look at.
You have a real pleasant disposition.
And I don't know, you sort of make me feel warm all over.
You know, I'm what they call a-- An inamorato.
Well, I knew there had to be a name for it.
You and the Hites don't get along too well...
...if I'm to trust Wood and his version of the situation.
We hate each other like poison, if you wanna know the truth.
Most of the Hites wouldn't spit on me if I was on fire.
They say that when a woman's on fire...
...you're supposed to roll her around on the ground and cover her with your body.
Well, you are a naughty tease.
Isn't it about bedtime?
Well, I'll just kiss those dainty nubbins.
Would you stop?
Boy, I believe I drank too much coffee.
I gotta go visit the privy something terrible.
This is embarrassing.
Now, you go ahead and do your duty. I don't mind.
I've sort of got stage fright with a strange man in the commode with me.
I ain't strange.
I'm built just like the rest of them.
You look awful pretty.
I haven't never in my life seen such well-shaped limbs.
Is Wood awake?
It's just me.
And I bet you thought I was a lady.
Well, you ain't much of a housekeeper, are you?
You didn't just happen by.
Go on and take a load off your feet.
You ought to get yourself a wife.
I was gonna ask Martha. Charley's sister.
I was gonna ask her if she could imagine it.
But I guess Wood has plans of his own.
And there's always Dick Liddil getting in the way.
I'll give it some thought, though.
Your crops come in?
No, I don't got much. Just a garden patch and a pasture.
I was sick at planting time.
Ed, how you feeling now?
You're acting queer.
Well, you and me ain't been just real good friends lately.
That's not your fault, you understand that.
You hear talk, though.
People tell you things.
Why don't you give me an example?
Jim Cummins come by here.
Oh, and Jim says:
"You know them boys that got caught in the Blue Cut deal?"
Well, Jim says he got word...
...that you're planning to kill them.
Why would I do that?
That's just talk probably.
Jim Cummins. He say anything else?
Nope. No, that was it, basically.
That still don't explain why you're scared.
Well, I'm in the same situation, you see.
I was terrified, I saw you ride up.
I just happened by, Ed. Suppose you heard gossip, though.
Suppose you heard Jim Cummins come by, you might have thought...
...that we were planning to capture you or get that reward, and that ain't true.
But you might have suspected it.
Haven't heard a lick of gossip lately.
I got 600 dollars stashed away. I don't need no governor's reward.
Well, it's the principle too.
I'm glad I stopped by. Oh, me too.
What do you say if we were to go for a ride?
We can go into town. I'll buy you dinner.
Then I'll be on my way.
You ready to go for a ride?
We going to your place?
You seen Ed Miller lately?
Must have gone off to California.
I'd still like to know where we're going.
If you were going to see Jim Cummins, wouldn't you follow this road?
I guess so.
Are you friends of my pa's?
We're friends of Jim Cummins.
Well, it so happens he's been gone since August.
And never said where he gone to.
I'm Matt Collins. Albert Ford.
Very happy to meet you.
Dick Turpin. Pleased to make your acquaintance.
I don't know where he is! Leave me alone!
Shut your mouth! You shut your mouth!
You shut your mouth. I don't know where he is!
I don't know! Get in there.
I don't know where he is! Shut up.
I don't know! Shut up.
Jesus. Shut up.
Jesse, he's just a kid.
He knows where his uncle Jim is and that's gonna make him old soon enough.
Maybe he doesn't know. He knows!
You need to ask and ask sometimes.
Sometimes a child don't remember so much at first. But it'll come back to him.
My goodness, she's about to rip off, sweetie.
Just a little more here to get her started.
Then I think I can rip her off like a page from a book.
Jesus, he can't even talk.
Where's Jim? Where's Jim?
Where's Jim? Where's Jim? Where's Jim?
Where's Jim? Quit it!
You bastard! I don't know where he is!
You won't believe me! You never even gave me a chance!
You kept my-- You kept my mouth shut!
I never know where Jim is or when he comes! So leave me alone.
Get off me, you son of a bitch!
I'm worn out.
I can't. No, see...
My mind's all tangled anyway.
Little deals like this just make me feel dirty.
Are you all right, Jesse?
Jesse was sick...
...with rheums, and aches and lung congestions.
Insomnia stained his eye sockets like soot.
He read auguries in the snarled intestines of chickens...
...or the blow of cat hair released to the wind.
And the omens promised bad luck, which moated and dungeoned him.
How come it's you that's gotta do all the chores?
Charley and Bob pay extry to Martha so that they don't have to.
It still don't seem fair.
Well, look what the cat dragged in.
You come from Kentucky?
Why do you have your head in a hole, Martha?
Wood and Dick had a shooting scrape a few months ago.
Cover the kettle, lda.
And what did you and Dick get in a scrape about?
Well, he tampered with my daddy's wife...
...while a pork chop burned on the skillet...
...so I shot at him.
Ida! Do not stick your thumb in the cream when you skim it.
His chicanery and his philandering ways...
...has instigated such malice.
He's a yellow snake in the grass and he can't be trusted, Martha.
Dick told me a complete other version of that affray.
Wood Hite's downstairs.
You mean he's here?
Yeah, he come in late last night.
Hey, simmer down!
Don't get into a fracas up there, you boys! I've got breakfast almost ready.
He's still sucking air.
But I think he's a goner.
Maybe y'all better come wish him well on his journey.
You were a good fellow, Wood.
Oh, I sure hope you're not in frightful pain, Wood.
I'd get you something to drink, but I'm afraid you'd just choke on it.
Little lda's gonna miss you.
So is the rest of the family.
Well, one thing's settled. Can't take him into Richmond.
Well, one, sheriff'll put Bob in jail.
And two, Jesse'll find out his cousin Wood's been shot in our house...
...and then that'll be the end of each and every one of us.
"And in one merciless, violent thrust broke in...
...and carried all before him, and scented and brewed...
...reeking with blood of my virginity...
...up to its utmost length in my body."
He ain't disappeared, if that's what you were hoping.
What chapter you on?
She's met some Algerian corsair down at Gibraltar.
Got herself all agitated.
How's that leg?
Full of torment, Bob. Thanks for asking.
Blessed are the poor in spirit...
...for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are them that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the...
Blessed are the meek.
Is it him? Yeah.
Why is he here? Does he know about Wood, do you think?
I don't know. All I know is he don't miss very much.
What should I say about you if he asks? Tell him I'm in K.C. with Mattie.
He was buffalo hunting. He was thrilled to meet yours truly.
Yeah, over there in Europe there's only two Americans they know for certain...
...Mark Twain and Jesse James.
Why, it's the kid. How's everything?
I never take off my gun belts. Yeah?
Well, Charley, did you hurt your leg?
Yeah, I slipped-- I slipped off the roof...
...and I smacked down into a snow bank like a ton of stupidness.
One second I'm screaming, "Whoa, Nelly!"
Next second, poof, I'm neck-deep in snow.
Well, whatever possessed you to climb a roof in December?
There was a k-- A kite. What am I saying? There was a cat.
A cat. it was on the roof and I went after him.
It was a tomcat yowling and what all, and I slipped.
I thought maybe your club foot was gaining on you.
Dick went to Kansas City to be with his wife. He was here for a bit.
Hey, here's a cute story, Jess.
Bobby was what, 11 or 12...
...and you were by far his most admired personage.
He couldn't get enough.
It was "Jesse this" and "Jesse that" and "Jesse this" from sunrise to sunset.
No, there's more. This is cute.
We're at supper and Bob asks, "You know what size boot Jesse wears?"
Charley, Jesse doesn't wanna hear this. Shush, now, Bob, let me tell it.
Bob says-- He says, "You know what size boot Jesse wears?"
He says, "Six and a half." He says, "Ain't that a big enough boot...
...for a man 5'8" tall?"
I decided to josh him a little, you know, he being my kid brother and everything.
So I said, "He doesn't have toes is why."
That's a really stupid story.
"He was dangling his feet off a culvert and a catfish nibbled his toes off."
Bob taxed himself trying to picture it.
That'd be a good joke if it was funny.
Isn't that a cute story, Jess?
Give me some more conversations, Bob.
I got one. This one's about as crackerjack-- it's the one about your--
Let Bob tell it.
I don't even know what you're talking about.
About how you and Jesse have so much in common.
Go on, Bob.
Yeah, come on, Bob.
Tell us a story.
Nope. No. Come on, entertain Jesse. He's here.
Well, if you'll pardon my saying so, I guess...
...it is interesting the many ways you and I overlap and whatnot.
I mean, you begin with our daddies.
Your daddy was a pastor at the New Hope Baptist Church...
...and my daddy was a pastor at the church in Excelsior Springs.
You're the youngest of three James boys, and I'm the youngest of five Ford boys.
Between Charley and me, there's another brother, Wilbur...
...with six letters in his name.
And between Frank and you, is another brother Robert, also with six letters.
And my Christian name is Robert, of course.
You have blue eyes, I have blue eyes.
You're 5'8" tall, I'm 5'8" tall.
Me, I must have had a list as long as your nightshirt when I was 12, but...
...I seem to have lost some curiosities over the years.
Ain't he something?
Did I ever tell you the story about that scalawag, George Shepherd?
Shepherd's one of Quantrill's lieutenants.
He give me a story much like Bob's, what bring him to mind.
Going on about how much we had in common, and so on...
...so he could get in the gang.
How could I have known he had a grudge against me?
How could I have known he was lying to get on my good side?
I said, "George, come on aboard. Glad to have you."
George thought he was smart, except he wasn't.
One morning, George rides into camp...
...and about 20 guns open up on him.
See, old George, he only had one eye. You gotta have two eyes, you wanna get Jesse.
You ought not think of me like you do George Shepherd.
You brought him to mind.
Well, it's not very flattering.
Sure is good eating, Martha.
Well, I'm so glad you enjoyed it.
How come George had a grudge against you?
I said, how come George had a grudge against you?
Well, you see, George had a nephew he wanted me to protect during the war.
This nephew had 5000 dollars on him.
It just so happens he winds up killed and someone swipes that money.
And when George is in prison, someone whispers to him:
"it was Jesse James slit the boy's throat."
it was just mean gossip, was it?
Bob's the expert. Let's put it to him.
Oh, dear, I made him cranky.
I'm not cranky. I just been through this before, is all.
Once people get around to making fun of me, they don't ever let up.
Someone's getting awful fresh over there.
Woman, shut your face for once.
Don't want you to skip off to your room and pout...
...without knowing why I come by for this visit.
Why? So you could tell us how sorry you are...
...you had to slap our cousin Albert around?
I come by...
...to ask if one of you two Fords...
...would care to ride with me in a journey or two.
I guess we both agree it ought to be Charley.
You been acting sort of testy.
Have you seen Wood Hite lately?
No. Not at all.
I swear that stew had some squirrel meat in it.
Still arguing with you, is it? Yeah.
You're Charles Ford? Yes, ma'am.
You've seen me once or twice before.
I got a letter from George Hite.
He hasn't seen hide nor hair of him.
And you say you haven't seen Wood?
No, I-- I can't imagine where he could be.
You finished with your sleeping?
I could use a couple more hours if it's no trouble.
I been holding a discussion with myself over if I ought to tell you this or no.
My good side won out and...
Well, I wanna make a clean breast of things.
Yeah, my mind's a little cobwebby is the only drawback.
I could use a little-- A little more sleep.
You know I went to Kentucky?
I come back through Saline County and...
...I think to myself:
"Why not stop by and see Ed Miller?"
So I do.
Well, things are not to my satisfaction.
Ed's got himself all worked up over something.
I can see that he's lying like a rug.
So I say to myself, "Enough's enough."
And I say to Ed, "Come on, Ed.
Let's go for a ride."
You understand what I'm saying?
Going for a ride is like...
Going for a ride is like giving him what-for?
...Ed and Jesse...
...they argue on the road.
Did you ever count the stars?
I can't ever get the same number. They keep changing on me.
I don't even know what a star is exactly.
Well, your body knows.
It's your mind that forgot.
You go on ahead, partner. I'll catch up with you.
It's okay, sweetheart. It's okay.
And when push came to shove...
...Jesse shot and killed him.
You got it.
So, you see, your--
Your cousin, he got off easy.
I was just playing with Albert.
Yeah, I made him squeal once or twice myself.
I'm just not as thorough as you are.
You got a tale to swap with me now?
I don't get your meaning.
Seems to me, if you have something to confess in exchange...
...it'd only be right...
...that you'd spit it out now.
I can't think of a single thing.
About Wood Hite, for example.
I'm not gonna-- I been saying over and over I can't figure out where he's gone.
Now, I'm not gonna change my story just to have something to spit.
Why was your brother so agitated? Which?
That's just his way. He's antsy.
You go on back to sleep now.
You got me agitated now, you see?
Yeah, just ain't no peace when old Jesse's around.
You ought to pity my poor wife.
Ed Miller was a good friend of mine.
He introduced me to you at that one poker game.
I'm a little angry with you, if you wanna know the God's honest truth.
You ought to pity me too.
As proof of his confederacy with the James Gang, Bob told the authorities...
...that Dick Liddil was sleeping over at the rented farmhouse...
...while his ruined leg mended.
And then, created a map of the Harbison property...
...leaving out the creek where Wood Hite's remains now moldered.
Right, you boys are cornered!
Come on out peaceably and nobody'll get shot up!
Come on out and show yourself!
We got him.
Give me that Colt, son.
All right. Andrew James Liddil...
...I have a warrant here for your arrest...
Snowstorms would move over Missouri that Sunday, February 19th...
...shutting down commerce for more than two days.
Go, go, go. Are the papers here?
Wants to know if the papers are here. I don't care what he wants.
Yet this wouldn't prevent Robert Ford...
...from presenting himself to Governor Crittenden...
...at the Craig Rifles Ball on Wednesday.
I deem it a great privilege on this glorious occasion...
...to recognize publicly...
...the intelligent and effective assistance...
...that Captain Henry Craig has rendered the state of Missouri and myself...
...in our joint quest to rid Jackson County...
...of the James band.
The task that Captain Craig has assumed...
...will require fearless courage, extraordinary vigilance...
...and an unerring selection of instrumentalities.
Well, I've gotten the signal from my wife that enough is enough.
However, before I sit...
...I would like to ask you to join me in a toast...
...to a great son of the state of Missouri...
-...my friend, Henry Craig. Here, here.
Just let my attorney know.
Who is that? Who is it?
Get out of the way, now.
You know, you're more goddamn trouble than you're worth, Bob.
I was just gonna say hello.
No, you weren't gonna do that, Bob. That's not why you're down here.
You think it's your goddamn coming-out. You think you're the belle of the ball.
Now you get upstairs and try to keep your identity secret, you silly little bastard.
The governor'll see you in good time. Take him up, boys.
Bob would later be cross-examined repeatedly...
...about the exact nature of the deal he had made with the authorities.
And he was never consistent in his recollections.
My wife's asleep in the other room, so let's speak as quietly as we can.
So you're Dick Little.
I beg your pardon?
I spell it with two D's.
He's given us a full confession, governor.
Newspapers haven't caught onto it yet.
And you've guaranteed him a conditional pardon...
...and amnesty for all the robberies he's committed.
You Robert Ford?
How old are you?
You surrender to Sheriff Timberlake as well?
No, no, governor. That's his brother, Charley Ford, he's in the James Gang.
But little Bob here, we got nothing on Bob.
He's just acting in the capacity of...
...a private detective.
Jesse James sent me a telegram last month...
...saying he'd kill me if he had to wreck a train to do it.
He said once I got in his hands, he'd cut my heart out...
...and eat it in strips like it was bacon.
I'll wreck his train first.
I'm sorry, Your Excellency. I was thinking about something else.
Jesse James is nothing more than a public outlaw...
...who made his reputation by stealing whatever he wanted...
...killing whoever got in his way.
You'll hear some fools say he's getting back at Republicans and Union men...
...for the wrongs his family suffered during the war.
But his victims have scarcely been selected with reference to their political views.
I'm saying his sins will soon find him out.
I'm saying his cup of iniquity is full.
I'm saying Jesse James is a desperate case...
...and may require a desperate remedy.
Y'all got the right man for the job.
Come on. Come on, now.
Come on, now.
Have you ever considered suicide?
I can't say that I have. There's always something else I wanted to do.
Or my predicaments changed, or I saw my hardships from a different slant.
You know all what can happen. It never seemed respectable.
I'll tell you one thing that's for certain.
You won't mind dying once you've peeked over the other side.
You'll no more wanna go back to your body than...
...you'd wanna spoon up your own puke.
Hey, since we're looking to rob banks...
...I was wondering if we could add another fella to the gang...
...and sort of see if we couldn't come out of our next job alive.
Bob wanted to know could he ride with us next time we took on a savings bank or--
A savings bank or a--
A rail road.
Bob isn't much more than a boy to most appearances.
But there's about two tons of sand in him.
And he'll stand with a shooter when that's what's called for.
And he's smart too. He's about as intricate as they come.
You forget I already met the kid.
Hell, he surely thinks highly of you.
All of America thinks highly of me.
Still, not like you got two million names to snatch out of a sock...
...whenever you need a third man.
I can see you trying to wear me down on this.
That's my main intention.
Robberies would be conceived but never carried out...
...in Nebraska, Colorado and Missouri.
During this time...
...Henry Craig enjoined Robert Ford to return to Elias' Grocery Store in Richmond...
...and await instructions from Sheriff James Timberlake.
All right, three cans...
...peaches. Two cans...
Two cans sifted peas.
...Mary's Morning Tonic, and a half--
Half a sack of flour.
I'll be right with you.
I haven't seen any sign of him.
Well, do you know where he's living?
Well, I can't guess how he does it...
...but he is always knowledgeable about what's going on.
He's gonna know I've been here with you. You ought to take that for granted.
And he will kill you if he gets the chance.
Are you willing to risk that?
Yes, I am.
I've been a nobody all my life.
I was the baby.
I was the one they made promises to that they never kept.
And ever since I can remember it, Jesse James has been as big as a tree.
I'm prepared for this, Jim...
...and I'm gonna accomplish it.
I know I won't get but this one opportunity...
...and you can bet your life I'm not gonna spoil it.
...wait for your chance.
Don't let yourself be found alone with him, and do not...
...let him get behind you.
You been chosen.
Well, what do you mean?
Well, your brother said that you might wanna join us.
But maybe you like this grocery store more than you said you did.
So you missed me? Oh, yeah.
I been crying myself to sleep every night.
Don't let him see us so much as wink.
He's suspicious as a damn coyote, and he don't trust you one iota.
Well, I guess that makes-- Hey.
He already put away Ed Miller. He said so like it was something piddly he'd done.
If we're ever alone for more than a minute, I'd like a chance to talk to you further.
They gave me ten days.
For arresting him.
You and me, huh?
It's gonna happen one way or another, Charley. It's gonna happen.
So it might as well be us who get rich on it.
Bob, he's our friend. He murdered Ed Miller.
And he's gonna murder Liddil and Cummins if the chance ever comes.
It seems to me Jesse's riding from man to man, saying goodbye to the gang.
So your friendship could put you under the pansies.
I'll grind it fine in my mind, Bob. I can't go any further than that right now.
You'll come around.
You think it's all made up, don't you?
You think it's all yarns and newspaper stories.
He's just a human being.
From now on, you two won't go anywhere without me.
From now on, you'll ask for my permission! From now on, you'll ask to be excused!
Charley, take them horses around the barn. Bob, you go on inside.
Hello, Mary. Hi.
Look at this rotten parsnip I found in the compost heap.
You never mentioned Bob would be here.
Maybe he was saving it as a pleasant surprise.
Got two cousins for company now.
How it's gonna be is...
...we'll leave next Monday afternoon and ride down to Platte City.
How far is that from Kansas City?
Platte City's 30 miles south.
You and me and Charley'll sleep in the woods overnight...
...and we'll strike the Wells Bank sometime before the court recesses.
What time will that be exactly?
Well, you don't need to know that.
You know, I'm real comfortable with your brother.
Hell, he's ugly as sin, he smells like a skunk...
...and he's so ignorant he couldn't drive nails in the snow...
...but he's sort of easy to be around.
I can't say the same for you, Bob.
Well, I'm sorry to hear you say that.
You know how it is when you're with your girlfriend and the moon's out...
...and you know she wants to be kissed, even though she never said so?
Well, you're giving me signs that grieve my soul...
...and make me wonder...
...maybe your mind's been changed about me.
Well, what do you want me to do? Swear my good faith on the Bible?
You two having a spat?
I was getting ready to be angry.
Sit over here closer, kid.
Charley, you'll stay with the animals.
Me and the kid...
...will walk into that bank just before noon.
Bob will move that cashier...
...away from the shotgun that's under the counter...
...and I'll creep up behind that cashier...
...and I'll cock his head back like so.
And I'll say:
"How come an off-scouring of creation like you is still sucking air...
...when so many of mine are in coffins?
How did you get to reach 20 without leaking out all over your clothes?"
And if I don't like his attitude, I will slit that phildoodle so deep...
...he will flop on the floor like a fish.
My God, what just happened?
Boy, I could hear your gears grinding...
...hear your little motor wondering, "My gosh, what's next?
What's happening to me?"
You were precious to behold, Bob.
You were white as spit in a cotton field.
You got him. You got him.
You wanna know how that feels? Unpleasant. I honestly can't recommend it.
The old Charley looked stricken!
I was. I was.
"This is plumb unexpected," old Charley was thinking. "That done ruined my day."
Jesse slept with Bob in the children's room that night.
And Bob remained awake.
He could see that there was a gun on the nightstand.
He could imagine its cold nickel inside his grip...
...its two-pound weight reached out and aimed.
I need to go to the privy.
You think you do, but you don't.
You wait for grace, now.
Thank you, Mama. Thank you, Zee. God, that looks good.
Thank you, Zee. You're welcome.
Well, is this fit to eat or will it just do?
Woman's cooking's always been a scandal.
Cut her meat and the whole table moves.
You want a biscuit? You gonna have a biscuit?
Here's some butter. Come on. Come on.
And so it went, Jesse was increasingly cavalier...
...merry, moody, fey...
He camouflaged his depressions and derangements...
...with masquerades of extreme cordiality, courtesy...
...and goodwill towards others.
But even as he jested, or tickled his boy in the ribs...
...Jesse would look over at Bob with melancholy eyes...
...as if the two were meshed in an intimate communication.
Bob was certain that the man had unriddled him...
...had seen through his reasons for coming along...
...that Jesse could forecast each of Bob's possible moves and inclinations...
...and was only acting the innocent...
...in order to lull Bob into stupid tranquility and miscalculation.
How long you been studying me?
You're gonna break a lot of hearts.
How do you mean?
It's a present.
Well, you gonna look inside?
It's April Fools' Day, you know.
It ain't no joke.
Oh, such extravagance.
Don't that nickel just shine, though?
It's more than I could hope for.
I figured that granddaddy Colt may blow into fragments...
...next time you try to squeeze the trigger.
Well, you might have something there.
Tom, supper's ready.
I'll be right there, sweetheart.
I might be too excited to eat.
You know what John Newman Edwards once wrote about me?
He said I didn't trust two men in 10,000...
...and even them I was cautious around.
Government's sort of run me ragged.
I'm going the long way around the barn to say that...
...I been feeling cornered and just plain ornery as of late...
...and I'd be pleased if you'd accept that gun as my way of apologizing.
Heaven knows I'd be ornerier if I were in your position.
No. No, I haven't been acting correctly.
Seems I hardly recognize myself when I'm greased.
I go on journeys out of my body...
...and look at my red hands and my mean face...
...and I wonder about that man that's gone so wrong.
I've been becoming a problem to myself.
I better wash my hands if supper's on. Yeah, go ahead.
The day before he died was Palm Sunday.
And Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Howard, their two children...
...and their cousin Charles Johnson...
...strolled to the Second Presbyterian Church to attend the 10:00 service.
Bob remained at the cottage...
...and slyly migrated from room to room.
He walked into the master bedroom...
...and inventoried the clothes on the hangers and hooks.
He sipped from the water glass on the vanity.
He smelled the talcum and lilacs on Jesse's pillowcase.
His fingers skittered over his ribs...
...to construe the scars where Jesse was twice shot.
He manufactured a middle finger that was missing the top two knuckles.
He imagined himself at 34.
He imagined himself in a coffin.
He considered possibilities...
...and everything wonderful that could come true.
He's not gonna kill us.
Yeah, he is.
Well, I'll stay awake so he can't.
You're imagining things.
Ain't gonna be no Platte City.
That's Jesse fooling with us.
Go to sleep, Charley.
Bob, how much did you want to eat?
I'm feeling sort of peculiar.
Why is it you're looking so interested?
You think it's intelligent to go out like that...
...so all creation can see your guns?
Come on, let's go see what your mama's doing.
Timmy, get that door, would you?
Well, you lost your shoe, sweetheart. Yeah, I did.
That's gonna be a problem. They don't sell those one at a time.
We lost a shoe, Mama.
Will you put that up for Daddy, would you?
What you doing, you lose a shoe? Yeah.
It's only meant to go on top, to complement.
Yeah, I know. Sometimes, I--
Bob, everything's getting cold!
Where's Mary? She's outside, darling.
What do you think goes on in that noggin of his?
I was talking about his mind, not yours.
Oh, I get it.
Well, hello now.
"The arrest and confession of Dick Liddil."
You don't say so.
That's very strange.
Says here Dick surrendered three weeks ago.
You must have been right in the neighborhood.
Well, apparently, they kept it a secret.
If I get to Kansas City soon, I'll ask somebody about it.
You two ready?
I will be, by noon.
There is a ship She sails the sea She's loaded deep As deep can be But not as deep As the love I'm in I know not if I sink or swim The water is wide I can't cross o'er And neither have I wings to fly Give me a boat That can carry two Both shall row My love and I For love is gentle And love is kind Sweetest flower When first it's new But love grows old And waxes cold And fades away Like the morning dew There is a ship She sails the sea I guess I'll take my guns off...
...for fear the neighbors might spy them.
Don't that picture look dusty?
What have--? What have you done?
Come back. Oh, come back.
Oh, Jesse! No!
Oh, Bob. Have you done this?!
I swear to God I didn't.
It was an accident, Zee.
Come on. Pistol went off accidentally.
Put my name.
Why, what'd you do? I shot him.
You might wanna keep that.
Thank you all very much.
The resulting prints sold for 2 dollars apiece...
...and were the models for the lithographed covers on a number of magazines.
Soon a thousand strangers were making spellbound pilgrimages to the cottage...
...or were venerating the iced remains in Seidenfaden's cooling room.
The man who offered 30,000 dollars for the body of President Garfield's assassin...
...sent a telegram to City Marshal Enos Craig offering 50,000...
...for the body of Jesse Woodson James...
...so that he could go around the country with it...
...or at least sell it to P.T. Barnum for his Greatest Show on Earth.
Another photograph was taken of the renowned American bandit...
...nestled in his bed of ice.
And it was this shot that was most available in sundries and apothecaries...
...to be viewed in a stereoscope alongside the sphinx...
...the Taj Mahal, and the catacombs of Rome.
"The arrest and confession of Dick Liddil."
Young man, I thought you told me you didn't know Dick had surrendered.
You mean he did? I didn't know.
But I knew I had not fooled him.
And he knew, as well as I, in that moment that I intended to bring him to justice.
But he would not kill me in the presence of his wife and children.
And so he was smiling to throw me off-guard.
Well, it's all right, anyway, Bob.
It was widely felt that Bob possessed some acting talent...
...and Charley, not a jot.
That picture's awful dusty.
Charley was only expected not to slouch or mutter...
...and to transport his sicknesses to the alley before letting them go.
...how I killed Jesse James.
By October of 1883, Bob Ford could be identified correctly...
...by more citizens than could the president of the United States.
He was as renowned at 20 as Jesse was after 14 years of grand larceny.
You won't get your hooks into me.
That's right. That's right. Sit next to your boyfriend. Jezebel.
Charley was increasingly superstitious...
...increasingly subject to the advice of soothsayers...
...who promised to cure his miseries with pipe smoke and poultices.
You been spending too much time with Gypsies, Charley.
The picture's awful dusty.
Something began to change in Charley's stage portrayal of Jesse.
His gait seemed more practiced.
His voice was spookily similar to the man's.
His newly suggested dialogue was analogous...
...to a script Jesse might have originated.
He began to look at his younger brother with spite...
...as if he suspected that in some future performance...
...he might present himself to a live cartridge in Robert Ford's gun.
You wanna investigate my courage? Do you?
Find out! Find out!
By his own approximation, Bob assassinated Jesse James over 800 times.
He suspected no one in history had ever so often or so publicly...
...recapitulated an act of betrayal.
Bob always challenged the allegations of cowardice...
...but Charley seemed to agree with them.
He spoke of Mrs. Zee James as certain priests might the Madonna...
...and composed long soul-describing letters to her...
...begging her forgiveness...
...none of which he mailed.
Charley Ford became all that his countrymen wanted an assassin of Jesse James to be.
Jesse James was a man Who killed many men He robbed the Glendale train And he stole from the rich And he gave to the poor He had a hand And a heart and a brain Well, Jesse had a wife To mourn for his life Three children They were brave But that dirty little coward Who shot Mr. Howard Has laid Jesse James in his grave It was Robert Ford That dirty little coward I wonder how does he feel For he ate at Jesse's bread And he slept in Jesse's bed And he laid poor Jesse in his grave Well, Jesse had a wife To mourn for his life Three children They were brave But that dirty little coward Who shot Mr. Howard Has laid poor Jesse in his grave
I'm Robert Ford.
It was two children, not three.
You get yourself home, son, okay?
Come on. Get out of here. Get out of my place.
He thought, at his angriest...
...about visiting the kin of Jesse's slaughtered victims:
Mrs. William Westfall in Plattsburg...
...the Wymore family in Clay County...
...perhaps even Mrs. Joseph Heywood in Northfield, Minnesota.
He would go to their homes and give his name as Robert Ford...
...the man who killed Jesse James.
He imagined they would be grateful to him.
It was only with Dorothy Evans that Bob spoke revealingly or plainly...
...and it was with her that he spoke of things he didn't know he knew.
He told her that he had no real memory of the shooting and its aftermath.
He could remember lifting the gun that Jesse had given him...
...and then it was Good Friday and he was reading about the funeral proceedings...
...as if they'd happened a long time ago.
Why did you kill him?
Well, he was gonna kill me.
So you were scared and that's the only reason?
And the reward money.
Do you want me to change the subject?
You know what I expected?
I was only 20 years old then. I couldn't see how it would look to people.
I was surprised by what happened.
They didn't applaud.
He was ashamed of his boasting...
...his pretensions of courage and ruthlessness.
He was sorry about his cold-bloodedness, his dispassion...
...his inability to express what he now believed was the case:
That he truly regretted killing Jesse...
...that he missed the man as much as anybody...
...and wished his murder hadn't been necessary.
Even as he circulated his saloon...
...he knew that the smiles disappeared when he passed by.
He received so many menacing letters...
...that he could read them without any reaction except curiosity.
He kept to his apartment all day, flipping over playing cards...
...looking at his destiny in every king and jack.
Edward O'Kelly came up from Bachelor at 1 p.m. on the 8th.
He had no grand scheme, no strategy...
...no agreement with higher authorities...
...nothing beyond a vague longing for glory...
...and a generalized wish for revenge against Robert Ford.
How'd it go last night? Not so bad.
The other one.
Edward O'Kelly would be ordered to serve a life sentence...
...in the Colorado Penitentiary for second-degree murder.
Over 7000 signatures would eventually be gathered...
...on a petition asking for O'Kelly's release...
...and in 1902, Governor James B. Orman would pardon the man.
You shouldn't be wearing that stickpin again there, Bob. Opals are unlucky.
My luck's not very good as it is. I don't think an opal's gonna change that much.
I hear you.
There would be no eulogies for Bob...
...no photographs of his body would be sold in sundries stores...
...no people would crowd the streets in the rain to see his funeral cortege...
...no biographies would be written about him...
...no children named after him.
No one would ever pay 25 cents to stand in the rooms he grew up in.
The shotgun would ignite, and Ella Mae would scream...
...but Robert Ford would only lay on the floor and look at the ceiling...
...the light going out of his eyes...
...before he could find the right words.