In 1876, the Missouri legislature issues a pardon and amnesty to the James and Younger gangs despite many people considering them outlaws. The pardon is because they protected the homesteaders of Clay County against the marauding railroaders, who wouldn't let anyone or anything get in their way of building the railroad where they wanted. However, the railroad companies and banks still consider them outlaws and will take matters into their own hands if they come across the gangs. Prior to the pardon, Cole Younger had contemplated robbing the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota - what is considered the largest bank west of the Mississippi - but has now decided against it. Circumstances, including learning that Jesse James and his gang are going ahead with the robbery behind his back, and that the railroaders issuing a war against them which also includes bribing the legislature to revoke the pardon, make Cole change his mind. But right from the start - even during the planning ... Written by
One of the prostitutes is Valda Hanson who appeared in several Ed Wood, Jr movies. See more »
When the Younger gang arrives in Northfield, there are automobile tire tracks clearly visible in the muddy street. See more »
Even before the wounds of the Civil War had healed in Missouri, the railroads came swarming in to steal the land. Everywhere, men from the railroads were driving poor, defenseless families from their homes. And that's when a fresh wind suddenly began to blow. It was other Clay County farmers, the James and Younger boys, coming to the rescue. They tarred and feathered the railroad men and drove them from the land. From that moment onward, they were outlaws. But the people of ...
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The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid is written and directed by Philip Kaufman and stars Cliff Robertson, Robert Duvall, Luke Askew and R.G. Armstrong. It's a Technicolor production with Bruce Surtees the cinematographer and music is scored by Dave Grusin. Plot is based around the James-Younger gang's infamous attempt at robbing the "biggest bank west of Mississippi" in Northfield, Minnesota, September 7th, 1876.
The Western done cinéma vérité by Philip Kaufman, very much leaning towards the "mud and rags" Oaters that were filing in post Sam Peckinpah's Wild Bunch. Jesse James has provided the inspiration for a whole host of movies, with many of them having different interpretations on the man, the myth and his life. Kaufman dismantles the myth aspect and cloaks it in a sort of satirical grimness, flecking it with moments of crudeness whilst paying attention to history (the usual liberties aside) and the changing climate of the time. However, with Kaufman's affection for comic book characters also comes the odd blending of tones, rendering the film an acquired taste. The narrative is strong, with the added bonus of the story continuing after the robbery, and Duvall gives Jesse James an energetic and bonkers makeover. But a safe recommendation to Western fans it is not.
I liked it enough, but not enough in that I could watch it again, but it would come as no surprise to me if it was some Western purists' favourite Western. Roll the dice and take a chance, really. 6/10
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