Folk Hero

The romance of rebellion and the outlaw’s open road has always had a special place in our culture. Anti-heroes make excellent protagonists in books, movies, and television, especially on the nightly news. The most notorious criminals in our collective mythology, like Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, and D.B. Cooper, share commonalities that separate their stories from those of everyday criminals.

Colton Harris-Moore became famous for many of the same reasons as outlaws of the past. He had all the ingredients. The public interest in “the Barefoot Bandit” grew with each audacious crime and every expensive failed manhunt.

The narrative unfolded serially in the news. Colt’s image became inescapable in the Seattle area. Colton’s tale of misadventures went viral after he stole his third plane. Fan websites and social media became platformsto celebrate the young fugitive’s flagrant disregard for authority. Fans began creating and posting tribute art and Youtube ballads.There was a surge of excitement across the web about the boy who taught himself to fly.

Outlaw folk heroes like Colton Harris-Moore represent the every man, the underdog, the individual facing insurmountable odds. To resonate with the public and rise to the status of legend, they have to be empathetic and mysterious, and courageous or crazy or both. They also need to have a few incredible feats under their belts; such as prison escapes, brazen bank robberies, or stealing airplanes.

Follow the arrow below to read about 10 things Colton Harris-Moore has in common with the legendary outlaws of old...