Driving through Kansas and Missouri the last couple of days, we stumbled upon the Jesse James Death House in St. Joseph, MO. Here, I am actually standing in the spot where "...that dirty little coward, that shot Mr. Howard..." ...that is to say, Bob Ford, pulled out his gun and shot Jesse James in the back of the head as he stood on a chair and dusted a framed needlepoint.
Small room. Don't know if I could shoot a friend in the back of the head in a room that size. Or any size, come to think of it. Underneath the needlepoint is a hole in the wall that legend holds is the bullet hole from the fatal shot. It was picked at by tourists over the years until it was this gaping opening and then they sealed it off with a clear framed plastic shield. Here's a closer look.
Like so much about this whole thing, though, it's not quite real. The doctor attending claims the bullet never left Jesse's head, so the hole is fake. But then again, the house was at another location, a few blocks away at the time of the shooting and has been moved four times since. Also, the wallpaper, furnishings -- just about everything, has been replaced and is not original. Essentially, you stand in a room that once was somewhere else and looked completely different and pretend it's not. Weird.