Cole Younger (Thomas Coleman Younger), 1844–1916, American outlaw, b. Jackson co., Mo. After the Civil War he joined the outlaw band of Jesse James, with whom he had served as a Confederate guerrilla under William C. Quantrill. He became a trusted and influential member of the gang. With two of his brothers, James and Robert, Cole was captured after an unsuccessful attempt to rob the bank at Northfield, Minn. (1876), and all three were sentenced to life imprisonment. Largely through the efforts of Capt. Warren C. Bronaugh, a Confederate veteran, who alleged that the brothers had been driven into crime by persecution of their family during the Civil War, Cole and James were paroled in 1901. Robert had died in prison in 1889. James committed suicide in 1902, but Cole Younger, completely pardoned in 1903, returned to Missouri, where he lectured, traveled with a wild West show, and worked peacefully at various jobs.
See his autobiography (1903, repr. 1955); W. C. Bronaugh, The Youngers' Fight for Freedom (1906); H. Croy, Last of the Great Outlaws (1956); C. W. Breihan, The Younger Brothers (1961).