Jesse James: Frontier Robin Hood or Cold-Blooded Killer? Find Out During Colorado State’s American West Program

How could the son of a Baptist minister go so wrong?

Of all the characters in the wild West, few have attracted as much fascination as the outlaw Jesse James. Some call him America’s Robin Hood, while others say he was a cold-blooded killer. He was, above all, one of America’s first real outlaws.

Join the American West Program at Colorado State University for a presentation of "Jesse James Was My Neighbor" by Gary Chilcote at 7:30 p.m. June 19 in Room C146 Plant Sciences Building on campus.

Chilcote, native and lifelong resident of St. Joseph, Mo., served as a reporter for the St. Joseph News-Press & Gazette for 40 years before retiring in 1994. He founded the Pony Express Historical Association and is former president of the National James-Younger Gang, an organization of historians, authors, researchers and relatives of the famous outlaw band from Missouri.

Other nefarious bandits, rascals and villains will run wild during the 24th American West Program this summer on campus. A visit by Belle Starr, the "Bandit Queen" of the West as portrayed by VanAnn Moore, a performance artist from New Mexico, will highlight the series this year.

Following is a schedule of events for the American West Program. All talks begin at 7:30 p.m. in Room C146 Plant Sciences Building except for the July 24 program, which takes place in the Lory Student Center Theatre. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information, call Harry Rosenberg, history professor and coordinator of the American West series, at 491-5230.

  • June 19 – "Jesse James Was My Neighbor," Gary Chilcote, St. Joseph, Mo.
  • June 26 – "Wild and Wooly Colorado," Roger McGrath, professor of American studies, Pepperdine and California State University-Channel Islands.
  • July 3 – "The Cultural Borders of the Outlaw," John-Michael Rivera, English department, University of Colorado-Boulder.
  • July 10 – "Billy the Kid and Wyatt Earp: What Did They Actually Do to Deserve Their Fame?" Bob Boze Bell, Cave Creek, Ariz.
  • July 17 – "An Ear in His Pocket – The Life of Jack Slade," Kenneth Jessen, Loveland, Colo.
  • July 24 – "Belle Starr, the Lady Bandit," VanAnn Moore, Belen, N.M., accompanied by Mark Zwillig, Denver. The performance takes place in the Lory Student Center Theatre.
  • July 31 – "No God West of Fort Smith: The Outlaws of the Indian Territory," Garrick Bailey, Department of Anthropology, University of Tulsa, Okla.