Watch The Great Missouri Raid
- 1 hr 24 min
In 1951, the movie industry was just starting to mature as filmmakers honed their craft and developed new ways to tell stories on screen. One such film was "The Great Missouri Raid," a Western drama directed by Gordon Douglas and starring Wendell Corey, Macdonald Carey, and Ellen Drew. The film was set in the aftermath of the American Civil War and recounted the true story of the James-Younger Gang, a notorious band of outlaws who terrorized the state of Missouri in the late 1800s. The film began with a prologue that explained the historical context of the story. It described how the war had left many former Confederate soldiers disillusioned and angry, and how some of them turned to a life of crime as a way to vent their frustrations. The prologue also introduced the main characters: Cole Younger (Corey), Jesse James (Carey), and Frank James (Richard Egan), who were all former soldiers and now leaders of the gang. The first act of the film focused on the gang's exploits as they robbed trains, banks, and stagecoaches across Missouri. The scenes were shot in a classic Western style, with plenty of action, gunfights, and horseback riding. The gang was shown to be clever and daring, using disguises and false identities to evade the law. But they were also ruthless and violent, killing anyone who got in their way. As the film progressed, however, it began to explore the personal lives and struggles of the gang members. Cole Younger was shown to be haunted by his past and struggling with guilt over the crimes he had committed. Jesse James was depicted as a charismatic leader who was torn between his loyalty to his brother and his growing love for a young woman named Kate (Drew). And Frank James was portrayed as a more cautious and reserved figure, who tried to temper his brother's impulsiveness. The second act of the film focused on the gang's relationship with the law. They were pursued by a determined group of detectives led by Major Rufus Cobb (John Kellogg), who used every resource available to track them down. The detectives were shown to be smart and efficient, using forensics and surveillance techniques that were ahead of their time. But they were also shown to be brutal and ruthless themselves, willing to use any means necessary to capture the outlaws. The third act of the film was a tense and thrilling climax that depicted the legendary raid on the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota. The raid was shown to be a disaster for the gang, as they were ambushed by local citizens and a posse of lawmen. The scenes were shot with a sense of gritty realism, portraying the violence and chaos of the event without glorifying it. The gang suffered heavy casualties, and the survivors were hunted down and captured by the authorities. The film's epilogue showed the fate of the gang members after their capture. Jesse James was killed by a member of his own gang, while Cole Younger and his brother Jim were sentenced to life in prison. Frank James was acquitted by a sympathetic jury and went on to lead a quiet life. The final scene showed Frank visiting his brother's grave, reflecting on the violence and turmoil of their lives. Overall, "The Great Missouri Raid" was a well-crafted and engaging Western film that combined thrilling action sequences with a thoughtful exploration of the characters and their motivations. The performances of the lead actors were strong, especially Wendell Corey as the conflicted Cole Younger and Macdonald Carey as the charismatic Jesse James. The film also benefited from solid direction and cinematography, which created a convincing and immersive world for the story to unfold in. While not a groundbreaking or revolutionary film, "The Great Missouri Raid" represented a solid and entertaining example of its genre, and a testament to the enduring appeal of stories about outlaws and lawmen in the American West.