The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (novel)

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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (1983) is a novel by American writer Ron Hansen. It explored the life and times of Jesse James and his gang, and his death at the hands of Robert Ford.

Plot[edit]

The title is based on a folk song of the era. Based on deep research, the novel imagines the lives of Jesse James, his brother Frank and their followers, including their guerrilla activities during the American Civil War and their insurgency afterward as robbers. While they achieved a folk status, the novel reveals they kept all their money for themselves.

Reception[edit]

This novel was both popular, with strong sales, and critically acclaimed for Hansens's vivid portrayal of James, his gang and family, and his times, it made the short list for the PEN/Faulkner Award.

Adaptations[edit]

In 2007, the novel was adapted as a film of the same name, the screenplay was written and the film directed by Andrew Dominik. It starred Brad Pitt as James and Casey Affleck as Ford.