The Jayhawkers!

Watch The Jayhawkers!

"Against the background of a turbulent era when Civil War was a flaming cloud on history's horizon . . A TREMENDOUS MOTION PICTURE!"
  • Approved
  • 1959
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • 6.3  (745)

The Jayhawkers! is a 1959 western movie directed by Melvin Frank and starring Jeff Chandler, Fess Parker, and Nicole Maurey. The film is set in Kansas during the period of the pre-Civil War struggles between anti- and pro-slavery forces. The story revolves around Luke Darcy (Jeff Chandler), a former Confederate officer who is captured and imprisoned by Union forces. He escapes from prison and heads west, where he meets Cam Bleeker (Fess Parker), a homesteader and abolitionist. Luke is intrigued by Cam's determination to fight against slavery and decides to join forces with him.

The two men soon find themselves leading an outlaw band known as the Jayhawkers, who are determined to disrupt the activities of Confederate sympathizers and slave traders in the region. As they carry out their mission, Luke and Cam face several challenges, including a powerful and ruthless landowner named Quantrill (Leo Gordon), who will stop at nothing to maintain his grip on the area.

In addition to the conflicts between the pro- and anti-slavery factions, there is also a romantic subplot involving Luke and Julie Ransom (Nicole Maurey), the daughter of a prominent slave owner. Julie is initially disgusted by Luke's past and his association with the Jayhawkers, but she gradually comes to recognize his bravery and integrity.

The Jayhawkers! has several elements that distinguish it from many other westerns of the era. The film's focus on the conflict between slavery and abolitionism adds a political dimension that is often absent from other movies of this genre. The characters are also more complex than in many westerns, with Luke in particular displaying a mix of courage, stubbornness, and regret about his past.

Another unique aspect of the film is its use of anamorphic widescreen cinematography, which was relatively new at the time. The wide-screen format allows the viewer to take in the expansive vistas of the Kansas prairies, and also enhances the film's action sequences.

Overall, The Jayhawkers! is an entertaining and thought-provoking western that offers a fresh take on the genre. The solid performances by the cast and the film's political and visual elements make it a worthwhile viewing experience for fans of the western genre.

The Jayhawkers! is a 1959 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3.

The Jayhawkers!
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 40 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.3  (745)