The True Story of Jesse James

Watch The True Story of Jesse James

  • Approved
  • 1957
  • 1 hr 33 min
  • 6.2  (1,673)

The True Story of Jesse James, a 1957 American Western film, narrates the adventurous and chaotic life of the infamous outlaw, Jesse James. The film stars Robert Wagner in the role of Jesse James, Jeffrey Hunter as his brother and partner-in-crime, Frank James, and Hope Lange as James' love interest, Zerelda "Zee" Mimms. Set in the mid-19th century Missouri, the movie follows the James brothers in their quest for revenge against the Union soldiers and the railroad company for their unjust and brutal treatment of the James-Samuel family. Though they start out as sympathizers for the Confederate cause, their growing criminal enterprise soon overshadows any ideological allegiance.

The film opens to a prologue that introduces the protagonist, Jesse James, and sets the tone for the rest of the narrative. It portrays Jesse James as a victim of circumstance, driven to a life of crime and violence due to the brutalities inflicted upon his family by the Union soldiers. This sets the foundation for portraying James as a hero rather than a villain.

The narrative then picks up in 1860, with Jesse and Frank returning home from their service in the Confederate army. They find that their family farm has been seized by a ruthless railroad company, which plans to build a line through their property. Frustrated and angry, the brothers turn to robbing banks and trains to fund their resistance against the railroad company and the Union soldiers.

The James brothers' exploits soon gain them a reputation as a notorious outlaw duo, with a substantial bounty placed on their heads. But Jesse's infatuation with Zee, the daughter of a local preacher, softens his heart and adds a human touch to his character. It also fuels Jesse's desire to quit the outlaw life and start anew with Zee by his side.

As the James gang continues its rampage across Missouri, their notoriety grows, drawing the attention of both the lawmen and Pinkerton detectives. Amidst all this, tensions flare within the gang as Jesse's leadership and decision-making skills are challenged by his cohorts. The conflict between Jesse and his gang marks the beginning of the end of the James' criminal empire.

The climax of the film is a nail-biting showdown between the law and the James gang at their hideout in St. Joseph. The gunfight is choreographed to perfection and is a fitting finale to the story of the infamous outlaw.

The True Story of Jesse James does not shy away from portraying the violence and brutality of the crime-ridden era. The movie offers a romanticized view of Jesse James, attesting that he was forced to a life of crime due to his circumstances rather than his inherent mindset. It also offers an insight into the mindset of the people of that era and highlights the immense impact of the civil war on the lives of the people living in the border states.

Overall, The True Story of Jesse James is a gripping tale of adventure, romance, and crime. The film's extraordinary cast, captivating visuals, and an excellent score make it an unforgettable cinematic experience. The film is a testament to the ever-lasting fascination with the legend of Jesse James, even more than a century after his death.

The True Story of Jesse James is a 1957 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 33 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.2.

The True Story of Jesse James
Where to Watch The True Story of Jesse James
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 33 min
  • IMDB Rating
    6.2  (1,673)