Cole Younger Essay

2615 words - 10 pages

Cole Younger is thought to be one of the cruelest men the mid-west has ever seen. He is commonly associated with the likes of Frank and Jesse James, two of Missouri's other notorious outlaws. It is assumed that because Cole lived a life of crime and bloodshed he was a man without morals. I strongly disagree and I think that Cole was forced into a criminal way of life because of the border war tension and his treatment after the Civil War. Otherwise "Cole would have probably gone into politics. He was a fairly good speaker and could, when the occasion was right, extend a glad hand" (George 89). Regardless, hundreds of banks accused Cole Younger of robbing them. It is amazing that if indeed he is guilty of all of them, he was only arrested and convicted for one robbery. On September 7, 1876 eight men on horseback rode into Northfield, Minnesota. They came in quietly from three directions so that they would not attract any unwanted attention. Cole Younger took his position in the middle of the street, dismounted, and pretended to adjust the girth of his saddle (Croy 112). Another man, Clell Miller, was to keep watch nearby. Bill Chadwell, Jim Younger, and Frank James were at an adjacent bridge serving as backup. They were waiting for a signal "“ a pistol shot "“ to know they were needed. The remaining three men, Bob Younger, Charlie Pitts, and Jesse James, were to rob the Northfield Bank (Younger 78). In no time at all Joseph Lee Haywood, the cashier, was dead, as was an innocent bystander. The town sprang into arms almost at once. "Rifles peeped out of windows like guns from a fort." The robbers did not plan on such a small town having such a complete arsenal. Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell lay in the middle of the street dead. Jim Younger had been shot in the jaw while Frank James had been shot in the thigh. From a window Bob Younger had been shot in the elbow (Croy 113). The six remaining men rode off on five horses. They had escaped the gunfire, but without a penny. There had been no time to wreck the telegraph office and an alarm was soon sent throughout the country. A thousand dollar reward was offered for each of them, dead or alive.The robbers set out on the kind of ride they knew so well. Never in all their years had a posse overtaken them, but they had also never left two of their men on the ground. The men were in a strange county. On the prairie their maps were all right, but when they got into the woods and among the lakes they were practically lost. There were nearly 1000 men on the gangs trail. They were watching for them at fords and bridges where it was thought they were likely to go (Younger 82). Bob's shattered elbow was requiring frequent attention and Frank and Jesse felt they were losing valuable time because of Bob's wound. Jim was also injured worse than first anticipated. A bullet had swept away part of his jawbone and he was losing blood quickly (Croy 123). It was decided that the men...

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