Arrows of the Wild West
A senseless, brutal attack shocked America. The newspaper men attacked the Pinkerton, calling them child killers, monsters in the guise of a man, attacking defenseless women. Allan Pinkerton dodged, as if trying to convince the public that his people were not there at all and therefore could not drop bombs, but no one believed him. Moreover, one of the attackers in a hurry dropped a pistol engraved with the abbreviation “P.G.G.” – “Pinkerton Government Guard.”
Many years later, historians managed to find documents confirming that everything was done on the orders of the head of the agency. In a letter from Allan Pinkerton, stored today in the archives of the Library of Congress, we read: “By all means destroy the house, wipe it off the face of the earth.” The authorities knew about Pinkerton’s involvement, but he had too many friends at the top, and the perpetrators went unpunished. Only one of the participants in those sad events paid for the deed – John Askew, then recruited by Kicks to spy on James’ house, was shot dead in the courtyard of his house.
Luck could not always accompany even such desperate daredevils as Jesse James. The day Jesse drove into Northfield was the day fortune turned away from him. For the Yangers, this day was a disaster. The city of Northfield in the state of Minnesota, populated by God-fearing immigrants from Sweden, from the outside could seem like easy prey. But it was the good-natured inhabitants of Northfield who were able to do what so far neither Pinkerton agents nor numerous police officers had been able to – to break the back of the James-Yangers gang.
Everyone in Northfield knew each other, and when eight strangers suddenly appeared on the city street on September 7, 1876, they immediately attracted attention. No, nobody in the city treated strangers badly. In contrast, the inhabitants of Northfield have always been famous for their hospitality. But the sight was very impressive. Armed to the teeth, strangers rode on magnificent horses and held very proudly and independently. They were not at all like bandits. Did anyone in Northfield hear the bandits go to work in such expensive clothes and boots polished to a shine? Of course not! The riders must have been wealthy herders, about to buy a large herd.
Jesse was interested in the contents of the First National Bank located in the city. He did not seriously consider the “speakers of funny English” townspeople, believing that he could take the bank aback. Next to him were his brother Frank, Cole, Bob and Jim Youngers, Charlie Pitts, Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell. He thought that in such a composition it would be easy to break any resistance and fight off any pursuit. But he was mistaken.
While strangers rode around the city, dozens of invisible eyes looked at them curiously from the windows of houses and shops, but when strangers divided into three groups, even the children realized that they were up to something bad.
Frank James, Jim Younger and Bill Chadwell held their horses at the far end of the street and began to chat among themselves, looking around from time to time. Jesse, Bob and Charlie Pitts dismounted near the bank and resolutely went inside, while Cole Younger and Clell Miller remained at the entrance.
The strange behavior of strangers alarmed the residents of Northfield, but they were not in a hurry with conclusions. Its owner came out of the hardware store opposite the bank and went straight to Miller.
“What’s going on here, young man?” He asked, seeing how suddenly his interlocutor tensed up.
“Shut your mouth and get out of here,” Miller hissed, pushing him away.
Arrows of the Wild West. Sheriffs, bandits, cowboys, gunfighters
Gang. Hood. E. Thomas
Jesse did not know what was going on outside. While Pitts was keeping visitors at gunpoint, he tried to persuade threats to bank teller Joseph Haywood to open a safe. A punch in the ribs, a pistol barrel hit on the cheek … Haywood remained adamant. He was not going to let the bandits take the money from the townspeople. Jesse had never before encountered such courage. He was bewildered. At that moment, a door swung open behind him and Cole’s excited cry rang out:
– Forget about it, you have to blame! – He waved his hand, hastily: – We have it brewed there!
– Damn it! – Bob sharply glanced out the window. – This is the whole army! Cole is not joking!
Dozens of Northfield residents walked to the bank. Some of them were clutching revolvers and shotguns. Others grabbed everything that could serve as weapons – knives, heavy brooms, stones. They were brave people, these Northfield people.
Jesse forcefully shoved Haywood and, along with Bob, rushed to the exit. Charlie Pitts rushed after, but stopped for a moment, as if he had forgotten something, turned around and shot his head to Haywood lying on the floor. He was beside himself with rage, but the killing of the cashier did not make him any easier.