Born in Missouri on October 29, 1853, Robert was the thirteenth of fourteen children born to Henry Washington Younger and Bersheba Leighton Fristoe. During the Civil War his brothers Cole and Jim rode with Quantrill's Raiders. Bob was only 8 when the war broke out in 1861. He saw his father killed by Union soldiers and his home burned to the ground.
After the war, his brothers formed the James–Younger Gang with Frank and Jesse James. For ten years the gang robbed banks, trains, and stage coaches across Missouri, Kansas, and other nearby states. Bob Younger is believed to have first joined the gang in 1873.
In September 1876 the gang attempted to rob the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota. The townspeople decided to fight back, and in the ensuing shootout all three of the Younger brothers were captured. Bob was wounded in the elbow and later in the chest. Two Northfield citizens were killed in the botched raid.
Imprisonment and death
Bob Younger was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died of tuberculosis in prison at Stillwater, Minnesota on September 16, 1889 aged 35 years. His body was shipped to Lee's Summit, Missouri where a funeral was held. He was buried in the Lee's Summit Cemetery.
Film and television portrayal
- Days of Jesse James (1939) portrayed by Forrest Dillon
- Bad Men of Missouri (1941) portrayed by Wayne Morris
- The Younger Brothers (1949) portrayed by James Brown
- The Great Missouri Raid (1951) portrayed by Paul Lees
- Best of the Bad Men (1951) portrayed by Jack Beutel
- The True Story of Jesse James (1957) portrayed by Anthony Ray
- Bronco (1960) portrayed by Bill Tennant
- Young Jesse James (1960) portrayed by Robert Palmer
- The Legend of Jesse James (1966) portrayed by Tim McIntire
- The Intruders (1970) portrayed by Zalman King
- The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972) portrayed by Matt Clark
- Poor Devil (1973) portrayed by Nicholas Georgiade
- The Long Riders (1980) portrayed by Robert Carradine
- Frank & Jesse (1995) portrayed by Todd Field
- American Outlaws (2001) portrayed by Will McCormack
- Shootout! (2005) portrayed by Keith Lewis