Jesse James and Robert Ford Photograph Restoration And Clean Up

The Jesse James and Robert Ford photograph inspired me so I decided to restore and clean it up while preserving its grungy western feel.

Jesse James & Robert Ford Restoration by Matthew T Rader

I recently saw an article, Does photo show outlaw Jesse James with his killer?, on CNN about a recent discovery and verification of an approximately 130-year-old photo of the outlaw Jesse James and his Robert Ford together. I find photos like this absolutely fascinating. At this time they both really trusted each other and had their photo taken together.

Little did Jesse James know that some years later Robert Ford would shoot him in the back of the head to claim a $10,000 bounty on him.

CNN said in their article that, “The original tintype belongs to Sandra Mills, who lives north of Spokane, Washington. She says the photo was passed down to her from her grandmother in 2003 with instructions to sell it and buy some land. Family lore says her ancestors used to shelter James and his gang from time to time. Mills told the Houston Chronicle that she has tried doing selling the photo over the years, but nobody would believe that the image was genuine.”

“I’m just a farm girl, so nobody wanted to listen,” the newspaper quoted her as saying. “We got no respect from anybody.”

Below is the original image of them, the one above is my restored and cleaned-up version. I wanted to keep its very western and grungy feel and look by not restoring it up too much. I removed all the major visible damage while leaving the fine scratches and marks.

Here you can compare my edits before and after:

Jesse James & Robert Ford
Jesse James & Robert Ford edited by Matthew T Rader


  1. Gibson was wrong – it is Robert Ford & his brother Elias “Captain” Ford.
    I have several pictures of the 2 together & many of Jesse James.
    She stated she matched Jesse to the post mortem photo in St Joseph.
    That was not Jesse either xs nor was it Elias “Cap” Ford.
    I know who it was.
    If interested, visit my website to see photos of them.
    Then go to the James Gang page.
    The Ford photos can be found there.

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