Robert Ford (Casey Affleck) shoots Jesse James (Brad Pitt) in the back of the head on April 3, 1882 in James's living room in St. Joseph, Missouri. As portrayed in the film, James took off his pistols and got up to "dust off" a picture on the wall, with an almost fatalistic resignation that his life was coming to an end. Bob Ford had secretly made a deal with Missouri governor Thomas Crittenden (James Carville!) to collect a $10,000 bounty.
Jesse James becomes a folk hero upon his death. Robert Ford and his brother Charlie (Sam Rockwell) are tried and convicted of murder but both are pardoned by Gov. Crittenden. Robert and Charlie tour the country with a stage play that reenacts the murder until Charlie commits suicide in May of 1884. Robert Ford is vilified, never receiving the praise or fame for he so craved.
Robert Ford is killed by a shotgun blast in his tent saloon in Creede, Colorado, on June 8,1902 by Edward O'Kelley, Kelley was sentenced to life in prison, but his sentence was commuted, and O'Kelley was released on October 3, 1902.
Thanks, Evil Ed!