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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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


I'm the man who shot Jesse James...I Can Shoot Straighter Now, Than I Did Then! See more »


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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 »


Bob Ford: Whatta yuh got to eat?
Joe, Silver King Bartender: Sweet corn, cormeal mush, corpone with cracklins,and corn whiskey.
Bob Ford: I'll have it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


The Minstrel Song
Written by Albert Glasser
Sung by Robin Short
See more »

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User Reviews

This Bob Has No Hope.
25 July 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Sam Fuller's first film direction is a version of what happened to Robert Ford (John Ireland), the man who famously killed his friend - Jesse James (Reed Hadley).

Taking up the basic elements of the real life story, Fuller keeps the narrative tight whilst ensuring the complexities of the main characters come to the fore. All the quirks and peccadilloes of the human condition are explored (the detail of Ford's torments and troubles superbly told), which is something of a rarity for a late 1940s "B" standard Western. The use of close-ups are to purposely highlight the psychological discord on show, marking this out as a good pointer to the later work of its maverick director. Ernest Hiller photographs the exteriors out of Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth and support to Ireland comes from Preston Foster, Barbara Britton and J. Edward Bromberg. 7/10

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