Apr 292013
 
The James-Younger Gang

Frank and Jesse James and Cole Younger had ridden with Confederate guerrillas William Clarke Quantrill and Bloody Bill Anderson along the Kansas-Missouri border during the American Civil War (1861-1865). When the war ended, they tried to settle down, but Missouri had been a battleground and the legal restrictions on ex-Confederate soldiers made it difficult to obtain loans. Frustrated and missing the excitement of war, the men formed a gang composed of friends and relatives, and began robbing banks in February 1866. A disastrous raid in Northfield, Minnesota on September 7, 1876 destroyed most of the gang, and only the James brothers escaped. By this time, the outlaws, especially Jesse, were famous. Unable to retire to a normal life, Jesse raised a new gang and continued to rob trains until he was killed by recent recruits Bob and Charley Ford, who were seeking the large reward for his life, on April 3, 1882. Read More…

Mar 142012
 
Kansas Raiders

Rating: ★½☆☆☆
Silly, inaccurate and boring, weighed down by plodding direction and lame dialogue, Kansas Raiders (1950), a movie about Jesse James riding with William Quantrill during the American Civil War, is just bad, one of those movies that you simply want to end. Read More…

Jun 082010
 
I Shot Jesse James

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
I Shot Jesse James (1949) is a noirish take on the fate of Bob Ford after he kills his best friend to win a pardon and marry his girlfriend. Focused more on showing that it was impossible for Ford to live with the guilt, historical accuracy fades in and out of the film. Read More…

May 142010
 
The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid

Rating: ★★½☆☆
More of a caper film than a traditional Western, The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972) is an interesting and enjoyable, if not entirely accurate, look at the James-Younger Gang’s final raid. Read More…

Apr 072010
 
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2010) is a painfully long film and not for the faint-hearted. While it is visually amazing, its historical accuracy is only superficial. Read More…

Nov 122009
 
The Long Riders

Rating: ★★★★☆
There are many movies on Jesse James. This is probably the best. Definitely the most accurate, since it captures the clannish environment and deep resentment against the North in Missouri after the American Civil War. Read More…