Jesse was living in a house in St. Joseph , Missouri , at the time . He had assumed the name Thomas Howard .
A member of his gang , Bob Ford , shot Jesse in the back of the head when Jesse stood on a chair to straighten a picture that was crooked on the wall . Ford had made a secret deal with the Missouri governor for a $5000 reward .
Crowds came to the house to see the dead outlaw . Bob Ford and his brother were arrested for murder . Within a day they were indicted , pleaded guilty , were sentenced to hang , and two hours later were pardoned by the governor .