Robert Ford
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Robert Ford

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

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About Him

Grew Up… with his brother, Charley. Robert idolized Jesse James from a young age, collecting pulp books and newspaper clippings about the renowned outlaw. Robert even kept a list of similarities that he shared with Jesse James. 

Living… among the James gang. He spent his whole childhood dreaming of the outlaw life he read about as a boy. And now that his brother Charley has joined Jesse James' gang, Robert may finally have a chance to make those outlaw dreams a reality. Robert didn’t make a great first impression, and gives a few members of the gang “the willies,” but he’s absolutely determined to prove his “grit and intelligence.” Jesse James isn’t sure that he can trust Robert, for in his line of work conspiracies lurk in every shadow. But for this train robbery, James needs all the help he can get.

Profession… outlaw. Once he joins Jesse James’ ranks with his brother Charley, there’s no turning back. He helps Jesse rob a train, and realizes the rewards of the lifestyle he has so long cherished. 

Interests… becoming a legend. Robert spent his whole life reading about the escapades of the mythic Jesse James. He wants to add his own name to the catalogue of famous gunslingers and outlaws that have left their mark on the American West. In pursuit of this goal, he tries to emulate the inimitable James, but is failing to ingratiate himself to the storied outlaw and his gang.

Relationship Status… single. Some of the other guys from the gang have their eyes on one girl or another, but Robert keeps to himself. He’s fixated on bigger and better things. 

Challenge… becoming like Jesse James. Though Robert’s actual intentions are unclear, to everyone including James himself. Jesse challenges him, “Do you want to be like me, or do you want to be me?” When Robert fails to earn the acceptance he so desperately craves, he turns to other methods to make his legend and fortune – methods that set him on a lethal collision course with his former hero.

Personality… sensitive, quiet, and analytical. In many ways, Robert doesn’t seem cut out for the life of an outlaw. He’s both easily influenced and easily embarrassed, a weakness that the gang takes pleasure in exploiting as they mock him, often causing him to leave the room. Despite everyone’s insistence that he “doesn’t have the ingredients” to be a gunslinger, Robert demands respect, and believes he could be as great as Jesse James if only given the opportunity.

Robert Ford's popularity ranking on CharacTour is #3820 out of 5,600+ characters. See our top-ranked characters and read their profiles.

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