The story starts in Tennessee in 1840, with three strong young men, cousins, starting West with horses and mules, immediately being victims of an attempted robbery, which leaves one robber dead and the boys with a reputation and part of an international dispute.
The story follows their escapades and increasing tough reputations to the Ohio River and as they travel by barge to the Santa Fe trail and on to Santa Fe, where they trade successfully, narrowly avoiding the Mexican army. They return, much wiser, to several surprises.
The story involves a number of women and some tragic happenings and some joyful occasions and a display of faith in God and humanity.
"Readers interested in gangsters, outlaws, and Western bad guys should be happy."
--School Library Journal
"Gilmore's vivid retelling of this event is extremely detailed and keeps the reader engrossed in the daring story. This is a great read all around."--Historical Novels Review
Years before John Brown raided Harpers Ferry in 1859 and the Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter in 1861, the western front was the scene of the bloody and brutal Border War between Kansas and Missouri. By 1865, these lawless and volatile border counties were transformed into a treacherous and chaotic wasteland, abandoned by the Union forces and utterly devastated after the Civil War. With the infrastructure destroyed and the communities in collapse, a young band of patriotic guerilla warriors known as the "James Gang" emerged. Trained for war, these talented men quickly proved themselves to be outlaws unlike any before seen in America.
Spanning the Civil War, its aftermath, and the scores of train robberies, bank robberies, and murders carried out by this group of bandits, this novel from historian Donald Gilmore is an expansive and riveting chronicle of the rise and fall of the James Gang. Featuring a colorful cast of characters based on historical figures, including Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody, and William Clarke Quantrill, the author examines the motivations and underlying psychological dimensions of the infamous outlaws. It took the combined efforts of a national detective agency, sheriffs from various states, detectives and policemen from major cities, politicians, and citizens alike the course of sixteen years to destroy this gang of criminals. Now Donald Gilmore continues the pursuit in this dramatic and riveting ride through history.