The Great Northfield Bank Robbery: A Love Story

Sep 7 2019 7:30 pm
Northfield Arts Guild Theater, 411 Third Street W.

The Northfield Arts Guild and director Rachel Haider present The Northfield Bank Robbery: A Love Story.  This world premier play by Minnesota playwrights and former Star Tribune journalists Bill McAuliffe and Graydon Royce performs Thursday through Saturday, September 5, 6, and 7 at 7:30pm in conjunction with Northfield’s popular Defeat of Jesse James Days.  All shows are held at the Guild Theater, 411 Third Street West, Northfield.

Set in 1901, The Great Northfield Bank Robbery: A Love Story tells the true tale of forbidden romance between James Younger (an infamous ex-member of the Jesse James gang) and Alix Muller (an upper-class, ambitious St. Pioneer Press reporter).  The play depicts the lesser-known story of what happened to the Younger brothers following their capture and incarceration in 1876. The convicted criminals have spent over 20 years in prison, and Alix and others are working to get the ex-cons pardoned and assimilated back into society. However, as an unlikely romance blossoms between Alix and the self-declared “reformed con” twice her age, a tragic and stranger-than-fiction story unfolds.

Playwright Bill McAuliffe, a 33 year veteran at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, came upon the story while digging through the Minnesota Historical Files for a different project.  “That’s a play,” thought McAuliffe.  “Maybe I’ll write it when I retire.” Twenty-five years later, McAuliffe has joined with retiredStar Tribune theater critic and playwright Graydon Royce to bring this forgotten tale to life on stage. The play is directed by Rachel Haider, winner of the 2018 Best of Southern MN Best Director award, who’s accumulated a broad range of theater expertise in her career teaching, directing, and managing theater.

The cast features Steve Lawler and Jonathan Larson as Jim and Cole Younger, with Alison Haider as Alix Mueller.  The supporting cast includes Innana Antley, Esmé Elzi, Brendon Etter, Andy Franklin, Rolf Kragseth, Will McIntyre, Bryan Reed, Paul Seguin, and Samuel Temple,

An untold and unexpected spin on the memorialized tale of the James Gang, The Great Northfield Bank Robbery: A Love Story is a tale, as the playwrights say, “that seems like fiction - but it was once actual news.”

Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for seniors and students, and can be purchased online, by calling 507-645-8877, or at the Guild, 304 Division Street South. More information and tickets can be found at

The Great Northfield Bank Robbery: A Love Story is co-sponsored by Hvistendahl, Moersch, Dorsey & Hahn.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

The true, unknown post-DJJD tale.