Hey cowboys and cowgirls! Today I will introduce you to two Wild West legends, whose names you might know from Hollywood movies or Lucky Luke comics. A tough guy and a prickly lady. Saddle your horse and load your colt!
This madcap was the most well-known member of the James-Younger Gang, a famous band of outlaws that harassed and attacked townships and cities. Born in Missouri, he fought for the South in the American Civil War together with his brother. After the war, Missouri was in a desolate state of disorder, socially. Jesse joined one of his former cronies from the civil war times and together, they robbed some banks, starting their glorious career as criminals. Among their victims were mainly banks and stage coaches. The gang’s downfall began with the attempted but miscarried robbery of the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota, where the scoundrels had to flee. Years later, Jesse was murdered by a fellow he deemed as one of the few persons he could still trust. Thus, his headstone reads ‘Murdered by a Traitor and Coward Whose Name is not Worthy to Appear Here’.
Martha Jane Burke, also born in Missouri, was the oldest child of a preacher in a family with six children. Her parents died when she was still in her teen years, promoting her to the role of protector of her younger siblings. She gained respect among the coarse men of the Wild West because she knew how to drink, smoke, chew tobacco and to swear a lot. Possibly, she was married to the Gunfighter Bill Hickok who killed no less than eight men in firefights. Bill himself was shot from behind, in a saloon, during a poker game. Cliché ahoy! When Jane saved a cavalry captain from certain death during a skirmish with Indians by riding back to the danger zone and hauling him back on her horse, this guy baptized her Calamity Jane. However, that story might be just fabricated. Suffering from alcoholism and manic depression, she died at the age of 51, lonely, in a hotel room in South Dakota.