The Great Cole Younger and Frank James Historical Wild West Show
1 journaler for this copy...
This is the third of a trilogy, and deals mainly with the surviving members of the gangs, Cole and Jim Younger - who spent 25 years in prison - and Frank James, who managed to avoid extensive jail time somehow. Once the Youngers were paroled in 1901, they found themselves facing a mix of celebrity and wrath - many people thought they should have been hanged outright, and weren't pleased that they'd been paroled from life sentences. [According to the book, they were the first men to be paroled from life sentences in the state, leading to lots of mixups re possible legal precedents. Among other things, they weren't allowed to marry without special dispensation from the governor, and this caused grief to Jim especially.]
Jim Younger did not last much more than a year before growing depression (and the possible side effects of the many bullets he still carried in his body) caused him to commit suicide. After that, Cole and Frank got the idea to try and cash in on the popularity of Wild West shows - but, as the book describes through many interviews and newspaper accounts, they had mixed success. Headaches regarding grifters and other con artists, maintaining the talent, getting venues, publicity... a tough business at the best of times, and harder with all the competition.
Overall I found the book rather sad, but it did provide an interesting look at the rapid shift from the days of the Old West to the dawn of the new century. Frank James lived until 1915, and Cole Younger until 1916, connecting the days of the outlaws with the beginnings of WWI...
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
*** Released as part of the 2016 What's In A Name release challenge. ***