I Shot Jesse James (1949)

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Bob Ford murders his best friend Jesse James in order to obtain a pardon that will free him to marry his girlfriend but is plagued by guilt and self-disgust.



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Complete credited cast:
Barbara Britton ...
J. Edward Bromberg ...
Victor Kilian ...
Charles Ford (as Tom Noonan)
Eddie Dunn ...
Saloon Singer
Byron Foulger ...
Silver King Room Clerk
Jeni Le Gon ...
Barbara Woodell ...
Phillip Pine ...
Man in Saloon (as Phil Pine)
Robin Short ...


While the law hunts him, Jesse James lives quietly in a rented house on the corner of Lafayette and Twenty-first street in St. Joseph, Missouri, under the alias of Tom Howard. His wife Zee begs him to end his association with the Ford brothers. Before they can leave on a "last" bank holdup, Bob learns that his childhood sweetheart, Cynthy Waters, now an actress, is in St. Joe and he brushes aside all caution to see her. Cynthy is beginning to realize that she is a liability to her manager, Harry Kane, because she will not leave Missouri. Meanwhile, John Kelley has come into her life. She pleads with Bob to turn honest. Cynthy tries to get a pardon for Bob, but the best offer she can get is for a 20-year stretch in prison. Then, the Governor offers amnesty and a $10,000 reward to any member of the James gang betraying Jesse. When his chance comes (April 3, 1882)Bob shoots Jesse in the back. He gets the amnesty but the reward is cut to $500. He also loses the love and respect of Cynthy,... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

26 February 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ich erschoß Jesse James  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Samuel Fuller said that he wanted to make this picture because, unlike many filmmakers in Hollywood, he did not see the real Jesse James as a "folk hero" or someone to be admired. Fuller saw him as a cold-blooded psychopath who shot down women, children, the elderly, the helpless (his gang once stopped a Union hospital train and executed every wounded federal soldier on it) and, in Fuller's words, Bob Ford "did something that should have been done quite a bit earlier in the life of Jesse Woodson James". See more »


During the final shootout the background lighting on the closeups and master shots of John Ireland do not match. See more »


[last lines]
Bob Ford: I... I want to tell you something I ain't never told anyone. I'm sorry for what I done to Jess.
Cynthy Waters: Oh, Bob!
Bob Ford: I loved him.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown as posters hanging on a wall. See more »


Featured in The Men Who Made the Movies: Samuel Fuller (2002) See more »


The Jesse James Song
Written by Billy Gashade
Sung by Robin Short
See more »

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User Reviews

The downfall of the killer of the famed outlaw
9 October 1998 | by (Tecumseh ok) – See all my reviews

Bob Ford(Ireland)kills the famous outlaw for love and money;then must live (and eventually die)with the knowledge that he has committed a cowardly act. Early effort of director Fuller, this is a dark and brooding melodrama. Ireland emotes well as the disturbed assassin, supporting cast is first-rate. The next year(1950)Lippert productions released the lesser effort"The Return of Jesse James" which also starred Ireland.

5 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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