Is The Time-Life Photo Of The James Gang Authentic?

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Is the Time-Life photo of the James Gang authentic? I have found a photo that has all these men in it.

Robert Friedel
Beaufort, Missouri

Unfortunately, no. The photo that appears in Time-Life’s Old West series volume The Gunfighters is a fake. I ran the details you provided of your photo by some of our Old West photo experts, Robert G. McCubbin and John Boessenecker, and they confirm that this is also not a photo of Jesse James and his outlaw gang. Even if the first photo was authentic, your photo would need a chain of custody linked to the James to provide clear provenance before being deemed authentic. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. . His latest book is Arizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen; History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write:  Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at  marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu

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Unfortunately, not all the photos included in Time-Life’s Old West book series (1973-80) were authenticated. The Gunfighters volume claimed the top photo showed Jesse James with his outlaw gang. Using this image as a guide, reader Robert Friedel was hoping his photo (above) was of the James Gang too. – Time-Life photo published in Time-Life Old West series volume The Gunfighters; Friedel photo courtesy Robert Friedel –

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian, board president of the Arizona Historical Society and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen; History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu