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The Long Riders (1980)

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.


Walter Hill


Bill Bryden, Steven Smith (as Steven Phillip Smith) | 2 more credits »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
David Carradine ... Cole Younger
Keith Carradine ... Jim Younger
Robert Carradine ... Bob Younger
James Keach ... Jesse James
Stacy Keach ... Frank James
Dennis Quaid ... Ed Miller
Randy Quaid ... Clell Miller
Kevin Brophy Kevin Brophy ... John Younger
Harry Carey Jr. ... George Arthur
Christopher Guest ... Charlie Ford
Nicholas Guest ... Bob Ford
Shelby Leverington ... Annie Ralston
Felice Orlandi ... Mr. Carl Reddick
Pamela Reed ... Belle Shirley Starr
James Remar ... Sam Starr


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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"All the world likes an outlaw. For some damn reason they remember 'em." - Jesse James


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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English | Swedish

Release Date:

16 May 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cabalgata infernal See more »


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$23,000,000, 30 June 1981
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Walter Hill later argued the best movie that had been made about the Younger-James brothers prior to this was The Return of Frank James (1940). "In the historical sense it was also the least accurate, but it had a real sense of character truth". See more »


What appear to be modern-day power lines are visible in the scenes shot in Georgia; however, these could be telegraph lines. See more »


Frank James: Mr. Rixley?
Jacob Rixley: That's right.
Frank James: My name is Frank James. I came here to turn myself in. Here's my gun. I want something in return. I want to be able to bury my brother.
Jacob Rixley: Suppose I don't agree to your terms?
Frank James: Then I'll kill you.
[Now points his gun at Mr. Rixley, cocks hammer back]
See more »

Alternate Versions

UK video and DVD versions were cut by 4 secs by the BBFC to edit a horse-fall. Although the BBFC's website states that the 1986 video version was cut by 1 minute 35 secs, this seems to be erroneous. See more »


Referenced in Making 'Southern Comfort' (2014) See more »


The Girl I Left Behind Me
Performed by Keith Carradine (vocal) and Robert Carradine (Jew's harp)
See more »

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User Reviews

An unsentimental and violent Western emphasising mythical conventions , starred by real-life brothers as the members of the band
7 July 2017 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Yet another recounting of the infamous James (Jesse: James Keach , Frank: Stacy Keach, this performance fraternity acquits itself well and both of whom were writers and producers) , who the public regarded them as heroes , from Missouri to Minnesota , including the fateful Northfield raid . The origins , exploits and the ultimate fate of the Jesse James gang is told in an enticing portrayal of the bank robbers made up of brothers who begin their legendary bank raids because of vendetta ; these are the following brothers : the James , Frank and Jesse , Cole Younger (David Carradine) , Jim Younger (Keith Carradine) , Bob Younger (Robert Carradine) and the Miller , Ed Miller (Dennis Quaid) and Clell Miller (Randy Quaid). As soon as railroad agents kill their youngest brother and hurt their mother , Jesse James (James Keach) and Frank (Stacy Keach) take up robbing banks and trains and seek revenge . Then , the Pinkerton Agency is engaged to bring the James-Younger gang in . At the end James is betrayed by the treacherous Ford brothers : Charlie Ford (Christopher Guest) and Bob Ford (Nicholas Guest) . As Jesse retires his erstwhile friend Robert Ford shoots him in the back to get the reward .

This is a gorgeous , laconic , deliberate and agreeable Western movie . There is a concentration on familiar rituals as the funeral , family reunion and wives relationships ; but also on common Western rituals as the brothel , the saloon and the robbing . It displays splendid actors giving an awesome tour de force , attempting not to make heroes of the boys , with a casting of four sets . The studio bought the rights to the James Brothers but changed some facts for psychological and family motivations , instead serving up a potted commentary on the conventions of the genre itself . The trump card here is the impressive Northfield raid , shot in slow-moving and violently realized. It packs an atmospheric and evocative cinematography by Ric Waite . And the enjoyable soundtrack by Ry Cooder , Hill' regular , fits magnificently to the flick . The motion picture was stunningly directed by Walter Hill who pays tribute to such filmmakers as Howard Hawks , John Ford , Nicholas Ray and , especially , Sam Peckinpah . Here Hill focuses on the subjects of brotherhood , kinship , friendship and about the territories taken wrongly by railway ; refusing to bother too much about historic events .

This James retelling has been adapted several times , ¨The long riders¨ has a distinguished company of movies , each version gutsier and bloodier than the last , such as : 1939 recounting ¨Jesse James¨ by Henry King with Tyrone Power , Henry Fonda , John Carradine , Brian Donlevy , Donald Meek ; ¨The return of Frank James¨ (1940) by Fritz Lang with Henry Fonda , Gene Tierney , Jackie Cooper , Henry Hull , John Carradine , J. Edward Bromberg ; ¨I shot Jesse James¨(1949) by Samuel Fuller with Preston Foster , Barbara Britton , John Ireland , J. Edward Bromberg ; ¨The true story of Jesse James¨ by Nicholas Ray with Robert Wagner , Jeffrey Hunter , Hope Lange , Agnes Moorehead , Alan Hale Jr , Alan Baxter , John Carradine ; ¨Frank and Jesse¨ (1995) by Robert Boris with Rob Lowe , Bill Paxton , Randy Travis , Dana Wheeler-Nicholson , Maria Pitillo , Luke Askew and Sean Patrick Flanery . And has been portrayed most recently in ¨American Outlaws¨ (2001) by Les Mayfield with Colin Farrell , Ali Larter , Gabriel Macht , Terry O'Quinn and ¨The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford¨ (2007) with Brad Pitt , Casey Affleck , Sam Shepard .

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