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Every year the Minnesota town of Northfield places its civic pride on display in a three-day festival called the Defeat of Jesse James Days. The town celebrates its historic dismantling of the James-Younger Gang following their robbery of the First National Bank of Northfield on September 7, 1876, two days after Jesse James’ 29th birthday. The Younger brothers were captured, convicted, and imprisoned. Five years later, Jesse James was assassinated. Year after year, as re-enactors perform the historic bank robbery, Northfield rakes in the cash.
Since then, Northfield ironically has been the only place to truly capitalize on the James-Younger Gang’s exploits with phenomenal success. For any cash that was lost on the day of the robbery, Northfield has recouped its losses in spades.
One of the town’s most favorite events is the re-enactment of the Northfield robbery. The actors authentically recreate the event with historical accuracy gleaned from first-hand accounts. The only thing missing is dirt on the street.