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The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972)

PG | | Western | 14 June 1972 (USA)
The gangs of Jesse James and Cole Younger join forces for a bungled robbery of the bank in Northfield, Minnesota.




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The origins, exploits and the ultimate fate of the Jesse James gang is told in a sympathetic portrayal of the bank robbers made up of brothers who begin their legendary bank raids because of revenge.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Pearce ...
Bob Younger
Wayne Sutherlin ...
Jack Manning ...
Bunker (as Elisha Cook)
Mary-Robin Redd ...
Calliopist (as Bill Calloway)


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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Real Story of Legendary Outlaw Jesse James' Most Daring Bank Robbery See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

14 June 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der große Minnesota Überfall  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the prostitutes is Valda Hanson, who appeared in several Ed Wood, Jr. movies. See more »


The film was shot mostly in Jacksonville, Oregon, whose landscape bears little resemblance to that of Northfield. Many errors result from this, such as the hills outside of town (Northfield is located in relatively flat farm country). See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: 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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Featured in Gunfighters of the Old West (1992) See more »


Hodie Christus - Natus Est
Music by Jan Sweelinck (uncredited)
Performed by St. Olaf's College Choir
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User Reviews

Pretty amusing, especially for those who have lived in Northfield
6 January 2006 | by See all my reviews

There are some very interesting moments in this movie. The performance by Cliff Robertson is indeed very good, and I think the movie raises some interesting points in its portrayal of the James/Younger gang as a metaphor for the final death rattle of the old south against the modernizing north. However, this movie can't seem to decide between a comedic tone or an ironic and cynical one. I would say it succeeds in its more serious moments, but the comedic sections are very contrived.

I went to college in Northfield, and I was glad to see my alma mater represented in the film (before its name was changed to Carleton). I became pretty familiar with this raid after attending Northfield's annual "Defeat of Jesse James Days" festivities four times. Surprisingly, the actual raid itself is portrayed fairly accurately, with the proper body count and roughly similar series of events, although some details are different. I liked the irony the filmmakers added with the incident of Cole Younger fixing the rifle that was later used to snipe at his gang members. Oh yeah, and you gotta love those snow capped mountains that surround Northfield (yeah, right), and the whorehouse full of buxom Scandanavians!

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