Ron Hansen’s novel The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was published in 1983. In 2009, actor Brad Pitt turned the novel into a stunning film that sadly flopped at the box office.
Both Hansen’s book and Pitt’s movie are fictional depictions. Yet both survive as the most representative of their genres regarding the accuracy of their subject icon and his factual history.
When writing Jesse James’ Soul Liberty, author Eric James twice attempted to contact Ron Hansen, seeking an interview. Soul Liberty is a history of the James family. Knowing the connections of the James family to the Catholic order of the Jesuits and that Hansen taught at a Jesuit school, the author wanted to compare notes with Hansen about the spiritual life of the James family. No response came from Hansen.
The following video is about the closest Ron Hansen comes to revealing the spirituality that guides his life and connects him to his subject matter.