I'm taking your horse Jesse James
April 28, 2008 8:44 AM Subscribe
In the Matter of Daniel Smoote v. Frank & Jesse James As bank robberies go, the 1869 heist pulled off by legendary outlaws Jesse and Frank James in Daviess County, Mo., wasn’t much of a success: They may have left with no money, they probably shot the wrong man, and Jesse James lost his horse.
Perhaps even more frustrating for the outlaw duo, they ended up getting sued by a local farmer and his ambitious young lawyer—the first and only successful civil action against the former Confederate guerrillas-turned-outlaws.The court awarded Smoote $223, which amounted to the value of the property the James brothers had taken. To collect the judgment Smoote took possession of the horse James left behind at the robbery.
The judgment made Smoote whole, and then some. The horse was believed to be from Kentucky racing stock, and was valued at $500....
In the end, things went better for Frank.
Frank James turned himself in shortly after his brother’s death, stating that he was tired of running from the law. He was tried, and ultimately acquitted, for robberies and murders in Missouri and Alabama.... Seven of the country’s best lawyers, some of whom were former Union soldiers, defended him on a pro bono basis. Many say they packed the jury with former Confederates. ... After his acquittal, frank James led a quiet life on the family farm, occasionally selling tours of the property.