Belle Starr was an American outlaw known as the Bandit Queen. As a child, she excelled in several subjects but as she grew older, she fell into the wrong crowd and led a life of crime. Learn more about her story after the break.
You may have seen the latest additions to the growing La Sardina family — Belle Starr and Coyote. But who exactly was Belle Starr and what did she have to do with the Wild West? Read on to find out.
Myra Maybelle Shirley was born to an affluent family in Carthage, Missouri in 1848. During her formative years, Belle Starr attended Carthage Female Academy where she excelled in grammar, reading, spelling, Greek, Hebrew and Latin. She was also musically inclined and learned to play the piano. When she was in her late teens, she got romantically involved with Cole Younger, a member of the American outlaw group called the James-Younger Gang. This was the start of Belle Starr’s life of crime.
Belle Starr eventually married Jim Reed, another American outlaw. When Jim Reed was killed during a shootout, Belle Starr married Bruce Younger, Cole Younger’s uncle. However, their marriage didn’t last long as she fell in love with Sam Starr, another bandit. She carried Sam’s name and together they committed crimes, thus getting the name ‘Bandit Queen of the Old West’. In 1886, Sam Starr died when he was in a duel with another outlaw. After Sam’s death, Belle Starr carried on with Jim Starr, the adopted brother of his dead lover, Sam Starr.
During her lifetime, Belle Starr had several criminal charges against her and prosecuted for robbery, bootlegging, and horse theft among others. Although she was prosecuted for these crimes, she was only convicted of horse theft and sentenced to a year in prison.
Bella Starr died of gunshot wounds when she was shot by an unknown assailant on the way to the courtroom. She is now the subject of films and books, but sources say that her many of the stories about her are overstated. A statue of Belle Starr is erected in Woolaroc, Oklahoma.