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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


The two most famous bandits, Jesse James and Cole Younger join forces in the most daring bank robbery in the history of the West! 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?


Goof, not a point of trivia:: At the end of the baseball game, a twentieth century house can be seen in the background. 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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Referenced in Discussing the Pod (2013) See more »


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

Good, not great, 70s revisionist western
26 May 2013 | by See all my reviews

Philip Kaufman's first major-studio film was one of many interesting but not very commercially successful (the major exceptions being "Little Big Man" and "Soldier Blue") revisionist westerns in the early 70s. Like "Bad Company," "Dirty Little Billy" and others it's more interesting conceptually than it is in execution, despite good performances and some flavorful period atmosphere (notably during an early, rough, messy baseball game in a cow field). But the narrative thrust is somewhat diffused, the psychological insight not esp. deep, and for the most part the violence is routinely handled. The result is a consistently interesting historical drama but not a particularly suspenseful or exciting one, which is odd given the extreme eventfulness of the "James Gang's" criminal career.

Aspects of this story were chronicled with vastly more focus and force in the recent epic "The Assassination of Jesse James" (which was, lamentably, also a total commercial flop). "Great Northfield" is worth seeing for Kaufman fans, among others, but he certainly hit closer to the bullseye with his subsequent "The White Dawn," "The Wanderers" and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" before graduating to big-budget cinema with "The Right Stuff."

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