Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Jesse James: Riding Hell-Bent for Leather into Legend


T.T. Crittenden, a little man with the gaze of a hawk, turned from his office window where he had been studying the rooftops of Jefferson City, his state's capital. His secretary announced that a young man was in reception, awaiting to see him at his earliest disposal. "He says it's a matter of some urgency, governor," the attendant explained.

"Some urgency?" the statesman's eyebrows elevated. "John, John, John, you know it's off-hours. Visitations are done for the afternoon."

"But, he says this concerns Jesse James, the outlaw. He claims he can help us capture him."

Governor Crittenden stared at the other man a moment, discerning whether or not this was just a wonderful dream from which he might awaken at any moment, disappointed. When his attendant refused to dematerialize and the golden orb that was a setting Missouri sun didn't dissolve into nothingness beyond his window pains, he realized he was indeed fully awake.

"Usher him in!" ordered Crittenden, then adjusted his cravat and creased his cuffs in order to look presentable to this important caller. When the young man entered, shown the way by the attendant, Missouri's most influential man stuck out his hand to possibly Missouri's second most influential man. "Hello, son, I'm Tom Crittenden. And you are...?"

"Ford, sir," the boy said. "My name is Robert Ford."

As they talked over the next hour, the office grew dark as that great golden sun beyond melted into a blood red haze before dipping out of sight from the great western sky.

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