A new release history book takes an in-depth look at the infamous James-Younger Gang 1876 raid at Northfield, Minnesota, and the pursuit of brothers Jesse and Frank James that followed. Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West’s Greatest Escape (2013), by Mark Lee Gardner, explores the background and aftermath of the failed robbery of the First National Bank of Northfield.

On September 7, 1876, the southern-based gang struck the Northfield bank, a target far from their home state of Missouri. Resistance from both the bank clerk, Joseph Heywood, and the armed citizens of Northfield left two of the gang members (Clell Miller and Bill Stiles) dead in the town and the remaining six on the run. Jesse and Frank would eventually split up from the three Younger brothers (Cole, Bob and Jim) and Charlie Pitts. A posse caught up to the Youngers and Pitts and in an ensuing gun battle Pitts was killed and the Youngers forced to surrender.

While the James-Younger Gang came to an end in Minnesota, the James Brothers did not. Despite a pursuit of over two weeks by collectively over 1000 men, Jesse James and his older brother Frank travelled some 500 miles to refuge in the South. Jesse James would be assassinated by later gang member Bob Ford in 1882 and Frank would die in 1915 at age 72, having escaped any conviction for crime.

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)


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