The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
By Ron Hansen
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780060976996, 320pp.)
Publication Date: February 1997
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Hansen re-creates the real West with his imaginative telling of the life of the most famous outlaw of them all, Jesse James, and of his death at the hands of the upstart Robert Ford. James, a charismatic, superstitious, and moody man, holds sway over a ragged gang who fear his temper and quick shooting. Robert Ford, a young gang member torn between worshipping Jesse and taking his place, guns him down in cold blood and lives out his days tormented by the killing.