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The Story of Cole Younger

The Story of Cole Younger

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Author Cole Younger, Introduction by Marley Brant

Minnesota Historical Society Press (October 15, 2000)

Missouri guerrilla, Confederate officer, bank robber, notorious outlaw, Wild West showman—Cole Younger’s life was the stuff of myth and legend. In The Story of Cole Younger, long out-of-print, he tells his story in his own words after his parole from prison at the age of 59.


Born near Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Thomas Coleman (“Cole”) Younger (1844–1916) rode with William Clarke Quantrill’s Confederate raiders during the Civil War, participating in many daring and bloody exploits, including the infamous Lawrence, Kansas, massacre of 1863. Following the war, Younger continued his celebrated career as a desperado, robbing banks and trains with Jesse James and other members of the James-Younger gang. A fateful attempt in 1876 on the Northfield, Minnesota, bank sent Cole to the state prison in Stillwater, Minnesota for decades. There he became a model resident, helping both to protect women convicts during a fire and found the Prison Mirror, a newspaper intended to shed “a ray of light upon the lives of those behind the bars.” Paroled in 1901, Younger successfully sought a pardon, operated a Wild West show with his old comrade Frank James, and lectured on “What My Life Has Taught Me.” Always known for intelligence and coolness under pressure, he published this autobiography in 1903, reflecting on the colorful and sometimes violent experiences of “the gentleman, the soldier, the outlaw, and the convict.”

Author information

Marley Brant is the author of The Outlaw Youngers: A Confederate Brotherhood; Outlaws: The Illustrated History of the James-Younger Gang; and Jesse James: The Man and the Myth.

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 152 pages
  • 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873513937

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