IMDb > The True Story of Jesse James (1957)
The True Story of Jesse James
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The True Story of Jesse James (1957) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 90% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Walter Newman (screenplay)
Nunnally Johnson (earlier screenplay)
View company contact information for The True Story of Jesse James on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
February 1957 (USA) See more »
They didn't dare tell this story before!
The last eighteen years in the life of Jesse James, showing his home life in Missouri, his experiences with Quantrill's raiders... See more » | Add synopsis »
(6 articles)
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User Reviews:
the true legend See more (22 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Robert Wagner ... Jesse James

Jeffrey Hunter ... Frank James

Hope Lange ... Zee James

Agnes Moorehead ... Mrs. Samuel

Alan Hale Jr. ... Cole Younger (as Alan Hale)

Alan Baxter ... Barney Remington

John Carradine ... Rev. Jethro Bailey

Rachel Stephens ... Anne James

Barney Phillips ... Dr. Samuel

Biff Elliot ... Jim Younger

Frank Overton ... Maj. Rufus Cobb

Barry Atwater ... Attorney Walker

Marian Seldes ... Rowena Cobb

Chubby Johnson ... Arkew

Frank Gorshin ... Charley Ford
Carl Thayler ... Robby Ford

John Doucette ... Sheriff Hillstrom
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Robert Adler ... Sheriff Trump (uncredited)
J. Frederik Albeck ... Jorgenson (uncredited)

Hy Anzell ... John - Jury Foreman (uncredited)

Ray Bennett ... Jayhawker (uncredited)

Alexander Campbell ... Judge (uncredited)
Harry Carter ... Man at Window (uncredited)
Ken Christy ... Conductor (uncredited)

Ken Clark ... Sergeant (uncredited)

Edmund Cobb ... Bantock (uncredited)

Clancy Cooper ... Sheriff Yoe (uncredited)
Sally Corner ... Widow Keevey (uncredited)
Duane Cress ... Neighbor (uncredited)

George DeNormand ... Attorney (uncredited)
Joe Di Reda ... Bill Ryan (uncredited)
Ray Ferrell ... Tim, age 6 (uncredited)
Tom Greenway ... Deputy Leo (uncredited)
Mark Hickman ... Sam Wells (uncredited)
Clegg Hoyt ... Tucker (uncredited)

George Huggins ... Townsman (uncredited)
Jason Johnson ... Marcus Grundy (uncredited)
Kellogg Junge Jr. ... Archie at age 4 (uncredited)
Ann Kunde ... Mrs. Topping (uncredited)

Kay E. Kuter ... Fleming (uncredited)

Owen McGiveney ... Squire (uncredited)

Forbes Murray ... Juror (uncredited)

Howard Negley ... Burnside (uncredited)
Tom Pittman ... Hughie (uncredited)
Anthony Ray ... Bob Younger (uncredited)
Ruthie Robinson ... Mary, age 5 (uncredited)
Fay Roope ... Tom Trope (uncredited)
Michael Ross ... Mr. Younger (uncredited)

Gene Roth ... Railroad Engineer (uncredited)

Bing Russell ... Jayhawker Sergeant (uncredited)

Cosmo Sardo ... Trial Spectator (uncredited)
Aaron Saxon ... Alexander Wiley (uncredited)
Ray Spiker ... Posse Member (uncredited)
Mike Steen ... Deputy Ed (uncredited)
James Stone ... Flower (uncredited)

Kelly Thordsen ... Jayhawker (uncredited)
Paul Weber ... Telegraph Operator (uncredited)
Paul Wexler ... Jayhawker (uncredited)
Bob Whitney ... Bailiff (uncredited)
Charles Willcox ... Dick Liddell (uncredited)
Sumner Williams ... Bill Stiles (uncredited)

Jason Wingreen ... Peter (uncredited)
Jeane Wood ... Mrs. Younger (uncredited)

Carleton Young ... Neighboring Farmer (uncredited)
Louis Zito ... Clell Miller (uncredited)

Directed by
Nicholas Ray 
Writing credits
Walter Newman (screenplay)

Nunnally Johnson (earlier screenplay)

Produced by
Herbert B. Swope Jr. .... producer
Original Music by
Leigh Harline 
Cinematography by
Joseph MacDonald (director of photography) (as Joe MacDonald)
Film Editing by
Robert L. Simpson  (as Robert Simpson)
Art Direction by
Addison Hehr 
Lyle R. Wheeler 
Set Decoration by
Stuart A. Reiss (set decorations)
Walter M. Scott (set decorations)
Costume Design by
Mary Wills (costumes designed by)
Makeup Department
Ben Nye .... makeup artist
Helen Turpin .... hair stylist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Joseph E. Rickards .... assistant director
Sound Department
Eugene Grossman .... sound
Harry M. Leonard .... sound
Visual Effects by
Ray Kellogg .... special photographic effects
Bob Folkerson .... stunts (uncredited)
Jack N. Young .... stunts (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Charles Le Maire .... executive wardrobe designer (as Charles LeMaire)
Sam Benson .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Leonard Doss .... color consultant
Music Department
Lionel Newman .... conductor
Edward B. Powell .... orchestrator
Frank Beach .... musician: trumpet (uncredited)
John Clyman .... musician: trumpet (uncredited)
Don Cristlieb .... musician: bassoon (uncredited)
Lou Maury .... musician: piano (uncredited)
Abe Most .... musician: clarinet (uncredited)
Vito Mumolo .... musician: guitar (uncredited)
Alfred Newman .... conductor (uncredited)
Lionel Newman .... musical director (uncredited)
Meyer Rubin .... musician: bass (uncredited)
Harry Schmidt .... musician: french horn (uncredited)
Paul Shure .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Felix Slatkin .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Urban Thielmann .... musician: piano (uncredited)
Other crew
Jo Frances James .... historical data
Rosalind Shaffer .... historical data
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
92 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)
Canada:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-16 | Norway:16 | Sweden:15 | UK:U (passed with cuts) | UK:PG (tv rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (cut) (2007) | USA:TV-14 | USA:Approved (MPAA rating: #18321) | West Germany:18 (nf)

Did You Know?

Although Jesse indicates the award for him has reached $30,000, in fact the arrangement with Robert Ford made by Missouri Gov. Crittenden included a pardon for a previous murder and payment of $10,000. Only part of that $10,000 was received by the Ford brothers.See more »
Continuity: In the beginning of the movie the sheriff and his men wait to attack the James gang do to heavy rain. Once the rain stops the posse proceeds by crossing a bridge over a completely dry, dusty stream bed and dirt road.See more »
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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
the true legend, 16 September 2010
Author: RanchoTuVu from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

While there is the legend and the truth about Jesse James and his gang, this film, in which the title strongly implies a truthful account, perpetuates the legend of a man who was of the people and who robbed banks that grew rich at their suffering. Is there truth to the legend, then? Google it and find out. The film itself is a solid piece of work from director Nicholas Ray, who, another poster has written, disowned it since the studio forced him to follow a familiar and hokey flashback style. However, even that works out OK, as the film starts with James's biggest failure, the notorious Northfield Minnesota bank robbery fiasco, which it revisits later on to show how the gang was trapped and picked off by strategically placed sharpshooters. The acting is not that great, a factor that seems to be related to the script, but the story itself moves along and has many good scenes from the flashbacks, especially when Jame's neighbor whips him with his belt, and when preacher John Carradine baptizes Jesse and girlfriend Hope Lange on the banks of a river. The film includes some interesting "facts" (?) about the Northfield raid, one of which, the Swedish townsperson wanting to buy one of the gang's horses, made it into Walter Hill's The Long Riders. And the Ford brothers' betrayal is very well done and seemed to have been copied in the Brad Pitt film. Frank Gorshin was an excellent choice to play one of the Ford's. The portrayal of the Fords of hanging around in the background, but present nonetheless, adds a lot for the viewer who knows this story already. As Jesse, Robert Wagner wasn't great, but definitely up to the task. Jesse James is a legend, no matter what the real truth is about him.

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