Review by Catherine Stricklan
In the lead up to the Defeat of Jesse James Days (September 8-12) in Northfield, I read the adult graphic novel, Shot All to Hell by Nate Olson, Mark Lee Gardner and Nic Chapuis. The novel depicts (with an abundance of gore) the raid of the infamous James-Younger Gang on the First National Bank of Northfield on September 7, 1876.
The novel begins with the colorful story of the James- Younger Gang robbing a train on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, after which the robbers decide to head to Minnesota.
The heist itself takes up the majority of the book, and is depicted in almost moment-by-moment detail. The authors clearly did their research, evidenced by their ability to detail the actions of the robbers and townspeople in and around the First National Bank. The characterization of the robbers feels well-balanced, and the authors are quick to mention when some details are missing from the story.
The novel also includes the lengthy post-raid action, following the wounded gang as they retreat from their failed heist in Northfield. The authors seemed careful to not dehumanize the villains of the story, while also not making them into martyrs.
If you can tolerate quite a bit of visual gore and are interested in a creative way to learn more about a piece of local history, Shot All to Hell is just the book for you.
Recommended for adults.