After railroad agents forcibly evict the James family from their family farm, Jesse and Frank turn to banditry for revenge.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writer:

(original screen play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Jailer
J. Edward Bromberg ...
...
Barshee
...
...
...
Jesse James Jr. (as John Russell)
...
Charles Tannen ...
Claire Du Brey ...
Mrs. Bob Ford
Willard Robertson ...
Clarke
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Storyline

The railroads are squeezing farmers off their land. When a railroad agent kills their mother, Frank and Jesse James take up robbing banks and trains. The public regard them as heroes. When Jesse retires his erstwhile friend Robert Ford shoots him in the back to get the reward. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

railroad | train | bank | farmer | reward | See All (92) »

Taglines:

The Tremendous Dramatic Thrills Of the Midwest's Lawless Era will burst from our screen... See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 January 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Darryl F. Zanuck's Production of Jesse James  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Irving Cummings filled in as director from 14 October 1938 to 24 October 1938, when Henry King was bed-ridden from a swelling in his ear. See more »

Goofs

After they get Jesse out of jail, in the head-on shot of Frank and Jesse riding while being chased by the posse, road dust from the camera truck is visible ahead of them. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
[about Jesse James]
Major Rufus Cobb: He was one of the doggonedest, gawl-dingedest, dad-blamedest buckaroos that ever rode across these United States of America!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: After the tragic war between the states, America turned to the winning of the West. The symbol of this era was the building of the trans-continental railroads.

The advance of the railroads was, in some cases, predatory and unscrupulous. Whole communities found themselves victimized by an ever-growing ogre - the Iron Horse.

It was this uncertain and lawless age that gave to the world, for good or ill, its most famous outlaws, the brothers Frank and Jesse James. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Return of Frank James (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Cry of Freedom
(1862) (uncredited)
Written by George Frederick Root
Played by the band at the railroad station
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User Reviews

 
Hey, Hollywood: James Was A Crook!
10 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This had a great cast with big-name stars like Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Randolph Scott, Nancy Kelly, Henry Hull and Brian Donlevey and a bunch more lesser-but-known names with shorter roles. It also had Technicolor, one of the few movies made with it in 1939.

Now the bad news.......regrettably, I can't say much positive for the story. It portrayed the James boys in a totally positive light....and Hollywood has done that ever since. Why these criminals are always shown to be the "good guys" is beyond me. This film glamorizes them and made their enemies - the railroad people - into vicious human beings. The latter was exaggerated so much it was preposterous. Well, that's the film world for you: evil is good; good is bad.

Hey Hollywood: here's a news flash - The James boys were criminals! Really - look it up!


21 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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