Jesse James (September 5, 1847 – April 3, 1882) was a feared outlaw in the 19th century American West. Along with his brother/partner Frank James, he scourged the Missouri countryside, committing several stagecoach and bank robberies. He was shot in the back and killed in St. Joseph, Missouri by a bounty hunter, Robert Ford, on April 3, 1882. Though Ford was a personal friend of the James brothers and a member of their gang, he turned traitor to receive the reward being offered by Missouri Governor Thomas T. Crittenden.
Since his death, Jesse James has become a legendary and controversial figure in Wild West lore, with many historical revisionist accounts (including in literature and Hollywood Westerns) portraying him as a Robin Hood type of figure. In the next century, some viewed the notorious outlaws Bonnie and Clyde in the same genre.