Americans love an outlaw, an anti-hero, a longer-rebel. This probably has something to do with the history of the founding of our country. Countless films have tried to capture and romanticize the lives and dirty deeds of our most notorious criminals.
The closest we might ever get to any kind “truth” about some of these infamous outlaws is visiting the places related to their histories.
Jesse James, Missouri
Jesse James is a well know Wild West outlaw who characterized by many films and actors. Credited for robbing dozens of banks and trains all over the West, he lived an died in the state of Missouri. However, the so-called James Gang committed heists in other states.
After being pursued by law enforcement for nearly 20 years, ironically James was shot and killed by one of his fellow gang members for a $10,000 reward.
In Liberty, Missouri there is a Jesse James Bank Museum. It is supposedly the site of the nation’s first successful daytime and “peaceful” bank robbery. The robbery occurred in 1866 and the robbers were never caught nor identified, but the robbery is usually attributed to the James Gang.
St. Joseph Missouri is the location of the site where James was killed. The Jesse James Home Museum includes many artifacts of James’ life and death. You can also visit the Jesse James Farm and Museum in Kearney, Missouri—this is James’ birthplace and childhood home. Visitors can tour the restored home and the town host a Jesse James festival annually in September.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Wyoming
Most famously played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, if you want to re-live the adventures of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid you need to go to Cody, Wyoming. There you can find Cassidy’s home in Old Trail Town and Outlaw Cave. There is also a set of trails often traveled by his gang (and others) while seeking reprieve.
You can also visit Hole-in-the-Wall pass in the Big Horn Mountains. This was once the meeting place of the Wild Bunch gang. The Cabin is preserved at the Old Trail Town Museum. Finally, 20 miles outside of Kaycee is the Outlaw Cave Recreation Area. This is another area where the gang used to hang out.
The Crime Museum, Washington, D.C.
Don’t have time to wander the wild west like these famous outlaws? Look no further than the Washington, DC Crime Museum. It is home to one of the country’s biggest collections of outlaw artifacts! It includes items belonging and related to the country’s most famous outlaws. It even includes galleries depicting the history of crime dating as far back as the Middle Ages.