July 14th 1881: Billy the Kid dies
On this day in 1881 the outlaw William McCarty, known as Billy the Kid, died at Fort Sumner aged 21. He was an outlaw who had killed several people and was known for his skill with a gun. Billy the Kid was killed by local law enforcement. He has become a legendary figure of the American West.
April 3rd 1882: Jesse James killed
On this day in 1882 the famous outlaw of the Wild West, Jesse James, was killed by Robert Ford. James was a robber and murderer and a member of the James-Younger Gang from Missouri and became a legendary figure of the Wild West. His gang gained notoriety in the period 1866 to 1876 as they robbed banks, stagecoaches and trains. He first gained national attention after shooting a cashier during a robbery of a Missouri bank. Their decline began with an attempted robbery of a bank in Northfield, Minnesota when the majority of the gang was captured or killed. James and his gang were pursued by law enforcement until the outlaw Robert Ford, who had posed as James’ friend, shot him in the back of the head in order to collect the bounty on his head. The governor of Missouri quickly pardoned Ford, which shocked the public as it suggested their governor had conspired to kill a private citizen. James’ mother wrote the epitaph for Jesse James:
"In Loving Memory of my Beloved Son, Murdered by a Traitor and Coward Whose Name is not Worthy to Appear Here"
June 28th 1880: Ned Kelly captured
On this day in 1880 the infamous Australian bushranger Ned Kelly was captured after a violent confrontation at Glenrowan. Kelly was an outlaw, wanted on charges of murder. At Glenrowan, Kelly wore home-made armour to fight off police, but he was captured and jailed. He was convicted of murder and hanged at Old Melbourne Gaol on 11th November 1880, aged 25. Kelly has entered Australian folklore and popular culture, with a film being made about his life.