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Missouri’s Jesse James Trail
In Missouri, the legend of Jesse James is very much alive, said Jim Winnerman in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. One of the state’s most popular tourist brochures maps a daylong road tour that traces his story from his 1847 birth in Kearney to his murder in 1881 in St. Joseph. Jesse, along with his brother Frank, led a gang tied to 26 bank, stagecoach, and train robberies, many of them innovative exploits that fascinated the public despite the gang’s violence: “It took a lot of planning and nerve to bring a huge train to a stop, rob it, and then escape on horseback.” Jesse James is buried near the farmhouse where he grew up, and plenty of his crime sites still stand. Even so, the most visited stop along the trail is St. Joseph’s Patee House, where James was shot in the back of the head by a gang member motivated by a $10,000 reward. James was straightening a framed piece of needlepoint at the time. The wall he was facing still bears a bullet hole.