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"Outlaw" author to to visit Pipestone

PIPESTONE -- For some, Jesse James is considered a romantic figure -- the subject of songs, movies and many books. The Meinders Community Library in Pipestone, counting on the public's fascination with the outlaw, will host author John Koblas for a presentation and book signing at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Koblas, considered a leading authority on James and the James-Younger Gang, is a Minnesota native and the author of more than 60 nonfiction books focused on U.S. history and American literary figures, as well as a popular fiction series for young readers. He has served as a script writer and consultant for various television documentaries, and wrote a trilogy on the 1862 Sioux Uprising.

Meinders Library Director Stephanie Hall expects the turnout for the presentation to be very good.

"Because of Jesse James' connection with the area and the fact that there are a lot of people in Pipestone that are really interested in Westerns," Hall explained. "We check out a lot of Western books, a lot of Western movies."

In 1999, Koblas and the North Star Press released "The Jesse James Northfield Raid: Confessions of the Ninth Man," the product of 16 years of research in which he chronicles the 1876 robbery attempt. "Jesse James Ate Here: An Outlaw Tour of Minnesota" and "Faithful Unto Death: The James-Younger Raid on the First National Bank" fill out that trilogy.

Another book, "Minnesota Grit: The Men Who Defeated the James-Younger Gang," is a tribute to the men who resisted the gang's demands and relentlessly pursued, captured and killed most of the outlaws.

"Jesse James supposedly hid out in Devil's Gulch in Garrison, S.D.," Hall said. "We figured people would be drawn to come see (Koblas). They seem excited about it, and I think it's going to be good."

Koblas wrote "Robbers of the Rails: The Sontag Boys of Minnesota," an account of two brothers born in Mankato who pursued the occupation of robbing trains.

"The Cole Younger and Frank James Historical Wild West Show," recounts the later years of two aging outlaws who had served out their prison time and decided to cash in on their notoriety.

"I think it will be very entertaining," Hall said of the upcoming presentation. "And there will be a book signing as well."

For more information, contact Meinders Library at (507) 825-6714. For a closer look at some of Koblas' work, check out his Web site at