Jesse James has lived far longer in the movies than he did in real life. Since his first celluloid depiction in 1908 in The James Boys in Missouri, the legendary outlaw has been the subject of more than 40 films.
Award-winning Western writer Johnny D. Boggs, author of Jesse James and the Movies, compares Hollywood's version of history to the hard facts on Sunday, July 15, 2012, at 2 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
There have been some solid films about the famous Missouri outlaw, among them Jesse James (1939) with Tyrone Power, Kansas Raiders (1950) with Audie Murphy, The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid (1972) with Robert Duvall, and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) with Brad Pitt.
But for every film that does right by James (or at least presents his story in an entertaining fashion), there are several others that deal in falsehoods, speculation, and sheer silliness.
In reviewing Jesse James and the Movies, True West magazine notes that Boggs "understands perfectly that historical accuracy and entertainment value often have nothing whatsoever in common, but he's thankfully determined to test the facts in every movie he discusses, which is a history lesson in itself."
Boggs has written more than 40 novels about the Old West. He is a six-time winner of the prestigious Spur Award from Western Writers of America, and in 2004 received the Western Heritage Wrangler Award for his novel Spark on the Prairie. Boggs has written articles about many aspects of the American West: travel stories, environmental issues, fashion news, history articles, reviews, and celebrity profiles. He is a staff writer for Persimmon Hill and a frequent contributor to True West, Wild West and Boys' Life. He is a past president of the Western Writers of America.
Admission is free. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.
This presentation is part of the Missouri Valley Sundays series, a program of the Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Central Library. The series is made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.