Jessie James was a fine young lad,
When he joined the Confederate troops.
He learned his craft as a shootist and spy,
While traveling with this group.
His commander was one Capt. William Quantrill,
A man with a checkered past;
And under this man he learned hit and run,
Leave your enemies standing aghast.
After his death in 1865,
Quantrill's celebrity stayed,
And Jessie and Frank used what they had learned,
And found guerrilla warfare paid.
They formed with their friends a wild outlaw band,
And looted the banks and trains.
It seemed to work out just as they planned.
To them it seemed quite a good game.
The money came easy and life was good,
And Jessie took him a wife;
Deciding to settle down for a while,
And lead a respectable life;
But two men were killed in a robbery gone bad,
And the governor wanted his life;
And one of his friends thought he'd turn him in,
And get paid and save himself strife.
Dead or Alive made no difference to him,
The reward would still be the same,
But Jessie was fast and his aim was true,
So it seemed to Bob Ford it was plain,
Jessie would have to be caught unawares,
If he would celebrity claim,
The honor, prestige, reward and glory,
As the man who shot Jessie James.
April the third, eighteen eighty-two,
Robert crept up on his friend,
Shot him in the back as a coward will do,
And that's how his story ends;
But Robert lived on in shame and disgrace,
As a low down, back stabbing coward,
Who betrayed his friend for money and fame,
On the day that he shot Thomas Howard.
"AND JESUS SAID UNTO PETER,'PUT UP AGAIN YOUR SWORD INTO IT'S PLACE FOR ALL THEY WHO TAKE THE SWORD SHALL PERISH BY THE SWORD."
For Dana's History Contest