Jessie James was a gunslinger – he robbed banks for himself and his gang: the James-Younger Gang of disaffected and impoverished criminals who robbed from institutions, other people’s money and the folklore around him is as an American Robin Hood, if not actually giving to the poor, striking a blow against “establishment”.
Not that Robin Hood actually redistributed the wealth either; they serve a sort of social anxiety-steam letting through stories and popular entertainment telling vigilante justice; ignoring that these are guy who chose criminality and violence and lots of so called innocent bystanders died.
Proving there is no honor among thieves, as the poem of the day “The dirty little coward who shot Mr Howard” was a member of his own gang.
Gunslingers Jessie and brother Frank James operated the Wild West James-Younger Gang and rode into Wild West Legend, the Wanted Poster, the Pulp Dime Novel and American Tall Tale Lore best personified in Mark Twain.
Billy the Kid, falls more on the Outlaw side, his crimes were mostly petty thievery and murder – what makes him slightly heroic is the being in the private Cattle Rancher Armies fighting for who’s pocket the local law enforcement was sitting in. Billy becomes a sort of social justice fighter in a corrupt legal system on frontier time.
Then, there is this Billy the Kid and lawman Pat F. Garrett friendship and Judas moment of the betrayal that makes them legends in Wild West Lore, where justice was the gun on your hip.
In Europe, the tradition of dueling to settle matters of honor were so well established that the need to carry actual weapons could be dispensed with gloves to smack one’s opponent with. However, this Wild West being a frontier with dangers all around, manners are fine for city – matters of honor are settled in the main street in view of everyone, or in the back alley where one or the other has pals lurking to alter the odds.
Billy the Kid had two claimants to have been the lad that Garrett allowed to live.
Robin Hood, of legend starts as a yeoman in the wood and ends up a noble in a hood.
The most likely actual figures that the stories can be historically associated with, draw comparison fairly to both of the American Gunslinger Outlaws
Robin Hood of Wakefield
- Robert Hood who is documented as having lived in the city of Wakefield at the start of the fourteenth century.
- “Robyn Hode” who is recorded as being employed by Edward II of England during 1323.
Robin Hood of York
Robin Hood (Robert Hod) are from 1226, found in the York Assizes, when that person’s goods, worth 32 shillings and 6 pence, were confiscated and he became an outlaw. Robert Hod owed the money to St Peter’s in York. The following year, he was called “Hobbehod”. Robert Hod of York is the only early Robin Hood known to have been an outlaw.
Roger Godberd as Robin Hood
But Most of All: there are stories and events and time to time, situations and circumstances arise and people behave as people do, and it’s just in the modern data capture age – the dawn of Photography for the masses and mass media transmission of data and data recycling from News True Stories as they Developed or Based on True Stories as they occurred in the narrative medium confines vs private copyright domain and public domain and folklore…. welcome to Criminal Profiling 101 or how to write characters in their context through space and time.
Robin Hood as an alias
It has long been suggested that “Robin Hood” was a stock alias used by thieves.
Elvis Presley’s first movie, Love Me Tender is actually fairly informative – Rebel Soldiers with no jobs or land to return to, turn to stealing and banditry and the difference between the American outlaws and the English/European Highwaymen were the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.
They were the hunter-gatherer nomadic and seasonal occupational of lands in the north, and in the American south the first of the groups that built cities and highways and communication networks of runners and fire signalling down to the southernest part of South America – where the Spanish and Portuguese were overtaking the Inacs and where the Mayans that remains and Europe carved up what became the United States of America and Canada, eh?
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