Audie Murphy plays a young Jesse James falling under the Svengali-like spell of the outlaw William Quantrill, played by Brian Donlevy. Jesse and his youthful gang join the rebels to avenge the death of his parents only to become disillusioned with the senseless violence and looting of innocent civilians. Goaded by Quantrill's girl to leave, Jesse vacillates until the Yankess close in. Quantrill forces Jesse to leave and faces the Yankess gunfire alone. Jesse rides off with his gang and the rest is history. Written by
Rita Richardson <RRichar790@aol.com>
Although brother Frank did join Quantrill, there is no evidence that Jesse, less than 16 at the time, ever joined the guerrilla raiders in Kansas. See more »
And so into the pages of crime history rode five young men: Kit Dalton, Cole and Jim Younger, Frank and Jesse James, five whose warped lives were to be a heritage from their teacher, William Clarke Quantrill.
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Audie is Jesse James. Jesse and Frank, Cole and Jim Younger (where is Bob?) plus Tony Curtis as Kit Dalton are looking for Quantrill to join his guerrilla fighters. On the way they stop in Lawrence, Kansas where they are almost hanged by the red-legs. When they finally join Quantrill, Jesse gets involved in a "handkerchief" fight where each man has to hold on his mouth a part of the handkerchief, while they fight with "Bowie" knives. It is one of the best moments of the film. Does it remind you of something? Walter Hill used the same type of fight in "The Long Riders" this time Cole Younger and Sam Starr where fighting, it was also the best part of that film. As Jesse goes into raids, he starts seeing that they are killing civilians and looting. That is not his idea of war, so he gets in conflict with Quantrill. He also falls in love with Quantrill's wife. In a hypothetical film trilogy about Jesse James, this would be part 1, The Long Riders, part 2 and the Return of Frank James, part 3. Waiting urgently for a DVD because it is an interesting and entertaining film.
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