I Shot Jesse James

Watch I Shot Jesse James

  • Approved
  • 1949
  • 1 hr 21 min
  • 6.8  (2,467)

Set in the late 1800s, I Shot Jesse James follows the story of Bob Ford (John Ireland) who, after some adoration towards the infamous outlaw, decides to kill him in order to claim the bounty on his head. Previously part of Jesse James' (Preston Foster) gang, Bob Ford, along with his brother Charley, surrender to the law, hoping to gain the trust of Governor Thomas T. Crittenden (Denis Green). The governor promises to pardon them if they can lure Jesse James into the open by pretending to be with him only to betray him later.

While Jesse James and his gang make several small robberies after the Ford brothers' surrender, Bob Ford plans on executing Jesse James, hoping to achieve fame from his deed. His plan succeeds when Jesse James arrives at the Ford house in St. Joseph, Missouri. However, Bob Ford's guilt and feelings of betrayal weigh heavily on him, leading him to be haunted by his actions and eventually leading to his downfall.

As a Western, I Shot Jesse James features the classic themes of loyalty, betrayal, and vengeance. It explores how these themes were experienced in the Wild West and how they continue to resonate even today. The film also examines the idea of public image and how people can do anything to gain fame in a time where newspapers and dime novels were the main source of entertainment.

The character of Bob Ford is portrayed as a man who wants to become famous no matter the cost. His willingness to betray Jesse James, someone who he had previously called a friend, shows his true intentions of wanting to be remembered in history. However, his newfound infamy comes at a cost as the guilt of his actions eats at him. Throughout the movie, Bob Ford is conflicted between his desire for fame and the moral consequences of his actions.

Preston Foster's portrayal of Jesse James is nuanced, showcasing the complexities of the character. He is charismatic, charming, and also responsible for numerous robberies and murders. Jesse James' character is also portrayed as someone who has been betrayed by his own gang members and is haunted by his past actions. His desire to find redemption and leave his past behind is one of the main driving forces of the movie.

Aside from its character studies, I Shot Jesse James also features iconic Western scenery and aesthetics. The dusty plains and rocky landscapes create a sense of danger and suspense, enhancing the tension of the plot. The film's cinematography also acknowledges the importance of close-ups, particularly during moments of intense emotion or internal conflict, highlighting the struggles of the characters.

Overall, I Shot Jesse James is a classic Western with a focus on complex character studies and the idea of betrayal. Its haunting portrayal of the consequences of fame and guilt still resonates with audiences today. The film is a must-watch for fans of the Western genre and anyone who is interested in exploring how human nature interacts with fame and morality.

I Shot Jesse James is a 1949 western with a runtime of 1 hour and 21 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.

I Shot Jesse James
Where to Watch I Shot Jesse James
I Shot Jesse James is available to watch, stream, download and on demand at Amazon Prime and Max. Some platforms allow you to rent I Shot Jesse James for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 21 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (2,467)