Hot Springs' Most Notorious Tourist

This photo of Jesse James is believed to have been made in Hot Springs around 1874 - about the same time as the stage holdup.

(Photo courtesy of Garland County Historic Society)


This Man and His Brother Left an Impact on the City

Frank and Jesse James are reported to have visited Hot Springs as tourists at least twice - robberies on Malvern Road. Each time they held up the stagecoach. They usually did "big money jobs" - banks and railroads. Rich people from the east came on stagecoaches to Hot Springs for health reasons (the hot mineral baths) and they carried 3 or 4 months worth of cash on them. (they didn't have Visa or MasterCard back then)

During a robbery on January 15th, 1874 - one of the ladies being robbed shrieked! One of the James boys replied, "You ladies don't have to worry, our mothers were ladies too." This is evidence of early southern hospitality!

They never robbed Confederate veterans. Mr. G. R. Crump spoke up giving the name of the southern unit he served with, and his money and watch were politely returned.

One story goes that the James boys robbed a coach, and took everyone's guns and put them under a tree. While they were riding off, they reminded the victims, "Hey, don't forget your guns!"

Notorious tourists with southern manners? Frank James returned to Hot Springs to retire, and worked at Happy Hollow for 2 or 3 years before his death.

Dr. Rando

P.h.D. of Wit



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