Actually, they failed to pay a guy, Daniel Smoote, who sued them after they stole his horse following a bank robbery in Daviess County, Missouri in 1869. During the robbery, Jesse shot and killed the bank owner, John Sheets, whom he misidentified as Samuel Cox, the man who led the force that killed "Bloody Bill" Anderson in 1864. Smoote sued Frank and Jesse for $223.50, the price of his horse, bridle, and saddle. Frank and Jesse denied having been in Daviess County on the day of the robbery, but lost the suit when they failed to appear in court. Smoote, however, apparently never received payment from the James boys, who in this case at least felt no need to give to the poor-- or rather, the poor man whose horse and equippage they stole.
The papers documenting this law suit were recently sent by Daviess County Circuit Clerk Sue Bird to the Missouri State Archives for preservation and microfilming.