"Western Author/Lecturer & Jesse James Authority"

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Select a book title for further information:
Jesse James Ate HereThe Ninth ManWhen the Heavens Fell
Cole Younger & Frank James Wild West ShowFaithful Unto Death
Robbers of the Rails: The Sontag Boys of Minnesota.
Bushwhacker! - Cole Younger and the Kansas-Missouri Border War
Minnesota Grit: The Men Who Defeated the James-Younger Gang

Doc & Tweed History Mysteries for young adults

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Read About John Koblas in the Cambridge Star

Jesse James in Iowa

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Broken Dreams Poetry of John Koblas - Minnesota

Broken Dreams
Selected Poems of John Koblas

Mr. Koblas is one of the most prolific and detail-oriented authors of our day, having over fifty non-fiction books to his credit. Poetry publshers like to say that they are "always seeking new and original talent" . . . as long as it's like everything else they publish.

Here Mr. Koblas has assembled a book of poems that are packed with unique and powerful visual images that punch through the conscious brain into tantalizing realms so intense that readers no longer feel they are on this planet, in this plac, holding this book in their hand.

I highly recommend this book for poetry lovers as well as for other poets who feel that most modern poetery is suffering from lack of originality.

- Roger Brezina,
an accomplished poet whose works have appeared on radio and television as well as numerous publications such as Byline Magazine and The Saturday Evening Post.

"Ma" The Life and Times
of Ma Barker and Her Boys

Ma Barker and her boys . It's the stuff of legend. A criminal mother and her four sons. The aging matriarch dying side-by-side with her youngest boy in a Tommy gunduel with "G-men" at a Florida bungalow.

It's a haunting, somewhat Oedipal, image of a family-style crime that must have captivated Americans in a vein similar to the "romantic" boy-and-girl bandit team of Bonnie and Clyde.

- Rick Mattix, author of The Complete Public Enemy Almanac

Jesse James in Iowa

Jesse James in Iowa

Jesse James and his gang roamed the fields and valleys of Iowa, seeing targets in the many trains and banks in small towns scattered across the countryside.

From the robbing of the bank in Corydon to the derailing of the train at Adair the gang made their mark!

It was in Iowa where he and his gang honed their skills and practiced for the attempt at robbing the Northfield Bank in Minnesota.

Jesse James in Iowa


John Koblas is one of the most dynamic, interesting and prolific writers in the outlaw genre and is the foremost authority on the James-Younger Gang's exploits in Minnesota.

Among his other biographical works are six books on the lives of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis. He was chosen by the Postmaster General to present the Sinclair Lewis stamp at its First Day of Issue ceremony and has been a featured guest on national television shows including Good Morning America and CBS Sunday Morning.

Koblas is the author of more than 500 short stories, articles, and poems published worldwide, a nationally syndicated column, and feature stories for the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

John Koblas has appeared throughout the country giving speeches to outlaw/lawmen groups, civic clubs and library associations.He was the 2001 recipient of the Charlie Pitts award and is an honorary member of the James-Younger Gang in Northfield. He is also a member of both the national James-Younger Gang and the National Outlaw and Lawman Association (N.O.L.A.).

Mr. Koblas recently wrote a book about the Sontag Brothers, who were raised in Mankato, Minnesota and later in life became California train robbers.

Included in his works are two books about Col Dickison, a Confederate colonel during the Civil War:

Outlaw Books

Minnesota Grit.

When the notorious James-Younger gang rode into Northfield, Minnesota they didn't expect much resistance from the sleepy little farming community.

However, when they attempted to rob the bank, the town mobilized against them killing two of the outlaws and causing the rest to flee. Posses were formed and the gang was relentlessly pursued through the countryside. Jesse and Frank James escaped while the rest either lay dead or in custody.

The brave citizens who were involved in the defeat of the James-Younger gang deserve more credit than the anonymity of history. Here are the stories of twenty-one of these men, including Madelia's Magnificent Seven, who captured the Younger Brothers at Hanska Slough.

Minnesota Grit - Right

The Last Outlaw, Pat Crowe The Last Outlaw: A Life of Pat Crowe.

"My favorite stories are in a category I call 'unbelievably true tales.' They are wild enough that they might not work as fiction, because they aren't quite believable.

The story of the outlaw Pat Crowe belongs in this category. He was Jesse James without the name recognition. A bank robber, escape artist, low-life and devout ex-Catholic, Crowe wasn't a lunkhead criminal, although he did plenty of stupid things. He was a character with some appeal and flair. He proved it in spades when he sent wedding congratulations to his kidnap victim years after the kidnapping.

But I'm not going to spoil the story. Read the book. Jack Koblas has done his homework and told this true tale well. You'll be handsomely rewarded for the time you invest in it."

---David Harding
History Columnist
Omaha World-Herald


Cole Younger: outlaw, train robber, bank robber, prisoner and a promoter of a wild west show. But before that, during the Civil War he was a Missouri Guerrilla fighting for the Confederacy.

This book details the life of Cole Younger as a member of the infamous Quantrill's Raiders during the War Between the States. Beginning with his early years Bushwhacker! describes the events that led Cole Younger into a life of outlawry.


Jesse James Ate Here.

Over the years many stories have been reported by people claiming to have seen Jesse James before and after the gang's raid on the bank at Northfield, Minnesota.

Jesse James Ate Here

Here is a collection of all the reports that have surfaced, some factual, some not. Included is information discussing whether or not a particular account is accurate or just something that has evolved through folklore.

Confessions of The Ninth Man.

In September of 1876 a daring holdup occured at the First National Bank of Northfield. A holdup attempted by 8 men. Or was there a Ninth Man?

This book explores the story of a man who, in 1911 believing he was being followed by Los Angeles police, ducked into a mission and there found religion. Years later, in 1931, he claimed that his name was Bill Stiles and he was part of the gang that fateful day.

The Ninth Man

Recently, Confessions of The Ninth Man was filmed as a documentary by the Old West Society of Minnesota. The soundtrack featuring both tradional and new songs was recorded by Lonesome Ron and The Riverboat Cowboys with Carol Gappa and John Koblas adding background vocals.

The Ninth Man DVD
Read about the Ninth Man Film
The Confessions of the Ninth Man DVD is now available at your local bookstore.

To order the Ninth Man DVD
ECM Video

To order the Ninth Man Soundrack
Riverboat Cowboys

The National Hometown Video Award Ceremony was held in Monterrey, California.
There were 1500 entries in the serious documentary category.
The Ninth Man took first place honors and won the award!!

When The Heavens Fell When The Heavens Fell.

On November 14, 1876, Cole, Jim and Bob Younger were arraigned in Rice County District Court in Faribault, Minnesota.

The three brothers had been part of a gang assault on the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota, on September 7, 1876.

When the Heavens Fell tells the story of the Younger Brothers' life behind bars in the Stillwater State Prison.

Cole Younger & Frank James The Cole Younger & Frank James Historical Wild West Show.

By 1903, Cole Younger had served 25 years in prison and was finally pardoned. That year he met up with Frank James, who had earlier been acquitted of all crimes.

Together they laid the plans to form the Great Cole Younger & Frank James Historical Wild West Show.

This book involves the two aging outlaws who decided to cash in on their notoriety by touring the country in their wild west show.

Faithful Unto Death.

Faithful Unto Death is the most accurate and detailed history yet written of the 1876 James-Younger raid on the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota.

Now, on the 125th anniversary of the defeat of the gang, author John Koblas provides a detailed compilation of the known facts surrounding the foiled robbery.

Faithful Unto Death
Robbers of the Rails:
The Sontag Boys of Minnesota.

The Sontag Brothers were born in Mankato, Minnesota during the Civil War years of the 1860's. John Sontag, after becoming of age, went to California where he worked for the railroad and, for a time, operated a livery stable with partner Chris Evans. Eventually the two of them decided to pursue the occupation of robbing trains.

George began a life of crime early when, at 15 years of age, he was sent to reform school for the theft of cigars. He would later join his brother and Chris Evans to become the train robbing outlaw gang of Sontag and Evans.

Robbers of the Rails - Sontag Brothers

Robbers of the Rails traces the humble beginning of the Sontag Brothers in the Minnesota River Valley to their life as feared bandits who terrorized the railroads of California.

Third in a series of young adult books about Doc & Tweed
who solve mysteries and, in the process, learn a lot of history.
Designed to both entertain and educate the reader.

The Benedict Arnold Cipher - Doc & Tweed History Mystery #4.
Doc and Tweed The Benedict Arnold Cipher

Learn about history the fun and exciting way.

Doc & Tweed, two fourteen-year olds with a thirst for history as well as adventure, discover a whole lot more than they thought they'd find.

Don't miss these other Doc & Tweed adventures!!

  • Doc & Tweed History Mystery #1:
    Peril of Pig's Eye Cave

  • Doc & Tweed History Mystery #2:
    The Return of Jesse James

  • Doc & Tweed History Mystery #3:
    The F. Scott Fitzgerald Caper



Swamp Fox and the Columbine

J. J. Dickison: Swamp Fox of the Confederacy.
Captain John J. Dickison, 2nd Florida Cavalry, CSA, was Florida's equivalent during the Civil War to Virginia's celebrated partisian John Mosby, or to Kentucky's John Hunt Morgan. It was Dickison and his small band of horsemen who almost single-handedly kept Florida's interior from falling under Union control. Using the states natural terrain for cover and employing modern guerilla tactics, he inspired such fear and respect in his northern enemies that Federal forces rarely ventured west of the St. Johns River in central and north Florida. This land became known as "Dixie-land", a play on his last name, and he became known to all as the "Swamp Fox". Using numerous published and unpublished primary sources, Mr. Koblas has written the first-ever thorough military biography of this legendary and overlooked Confederate.

Swamp Fox and the Columbine.
In the early days of the Civil War, the Federal government controlled many of the rivers and coastal waters, forcing the South to use barricade runners to resupply its armies. Even in Florida, the Federal government controlled the waterways, using them to split armies and funnel the resources of the state to the north. J. J. Dickison, Florida's Swamp Fox, and his small army put more pressure on them than any other force. At the end of the war, he and his loyal band held the distinction of never having lost a single battle and having managed to sink the Columbine with land-based forces.

After the war, Dickison continued to be important in Florida history. In 1877, he was appointed adjutant-general by Governor George B. Drew, thus becoming a member of the first Democratic cabinet after Reconstruction. In 1899, Dickison authored Military History of Florida. Florida's gallant Swamp Fox passed away on August 23, 1902.
He was buried in Jacksonville's Evergreen Cemetery.

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For the Minneapolis/St Paul area!!

* Check listings to verify times and dates. *

MCN (Metro Cable Network)--Channel 6 has been showing the documentary based on the book "The Northfield Raid: Confessions of the Ninth Man" by John J Koblas. A discussion with author John Koblas about the making of the film will be presented after the viewing.

The movie was filmed in the Northfield bank, Murphy's Landing and at various other Minnesota locations. It's the story of Bill Stiles who, in 1931, claimed to have been part of the Jesse James gang at Northfield, Minnesota. Through the years after the raid, many historians have believed there were only eight outlaws. Bill Stiles says he was there and he was "The Ninth Man."

The film features members of the Old West Society Re-enactment group plus music written and performed by Lonesome Ron and the Riverboat Cowboys.

Tell your friends! This is a part of American history that must never be forgotten!!!

Read about the filming of the Ninth Man:
ECM Films, Produces of the Ninth Man:

Email for more information:

Information Younger Brothers Capture Re-enactment Madelia
Kerrville, Texas Round Table Discussion: San Angelo Standard-Times
National Outlaw and Lawman Association (N.O.L.A.) Home Page
     - 1862-1899 Old West Reenactor, Educator, and Horseman
Midwest Mounted Reenactors Film & Entertainment Group
Wild West Performers - Where the Wild West Meets the Web
Shadows of the Old West - Historical Re-enactors
Dakota Rose Entertainment
     - Old West entertainment with Zest and Style
Schatzlein Saddle Shop Inc - Western Apparel, Riding Equipment
Cowboy Action Photos - Relive the exciting time of the Old West.
The James-Younger Gang: Come Ride With Us.
Cannon Old West Society
Moondance Emporium - Gift Shop and Old West Experience
Cowboy & Western Entertainers and Historical Re-enactors.

True West Magazine - Learn All About the Old West

Watch the Americn West on YouTube:

Legends of the Old West: Wyatt Earp, Buffalo Bill Cody, Pecos Bill

Western Cowgirls

Can Can Dancers of the 1880s

Lonesome Ron - King of the Valley Yodelers
- Western Singer -

Read about the Movie Sweet Land directed by Ali Selim
A love story between a Norwegian immagrant and his German bride set in 1920 Minnesota.

Also from John J Koblas:
Tumithak of the Corridors - Science Fiction/Fantasy from the 1930's
Four Novellas by Charles R. Tanner
Collected and edited by John J Koblas and A. M. Decker

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