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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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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


An Action-Packed Adventure Capturing the Legacy of the Notorious Jesse James and Cole Younger Gang. See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

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?


Cliff Robertson replaced Scott Glenn at a late stage. See more »


As the Younger gang enters town, and goes by the College, there are modern day picnic tables clearly visible as they ride by the building. 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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Hodie Christus - Natus Est
Music by Jan Sweelinck (uncredited)
Performed by St. Olaf's College Choir
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User Reviews

Race Against The Amnesty
14 February 2009 | by See all my reviews

Although the central character of The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid is Cliff Robertson as Cole Younger, Robert Duvall joins a great pantheon of actors that range from Tyrone Power to Brad Pitt in playing the legendary outlaw of the old west, Jesse James. Some say that the James/Younger gang were the last Confederates out there actively engaged in warfare against the invading Yankees on behalf of the south. This film certainly takes that position.

The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid took place in 1877 and was the biggest job attempted by the gang and turned into the biggest flop in their outlaw career. Word leaked out about the robbery and the Pinkertons and the local law enforcement were waiting. The incident is shown in just about every Jesse James film there is.

The James/Younger gang remain populist heroes to this day in many quarters. They were an expression of outrage by a conquered people, the poor white class who saw land taken over illegally by Yankee managed railroads or foreclosed by banks with northern management they ultimately answered to. A decade later these people would find a voice in the Populist Party and if Jesse James hadn't been such a person of violence, he might have had a great career as a Populist politician, he was reputed to be that charismatic.

Younger's a different story, his charisma as it were was a laid back kind. He's got two brothers to look after, Bob and Jim and wants to live long enough to get the amnesty promised by the state of Missouri. It's one of the reasons the James/Younger gang is operating as far north as Minnesota. That and the fact they can rob from Yankees if they have to rob at all.

As is shown in the film, Missouri was debating an amnesty, but certain interests wanted to make sure that didn't happen. The gang is operating outside their home state, lest any outlaw activities interfere with the amnesty. And the Pinkertons want to nail them all before the amnesty ever is passed as an example.

The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid is one fine western with two rugged leads and very realistic settings for the old West. Fans of that generation and younger should not miss this one.

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