According to Nunally Johnson’s irresistibly entertaining screenplay, Jesse and Frank James become train and bank robbers to avenge the death of their mother killed at the behest of greedy railroad interests.
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Consummate in every way. King's command of color vies with some of the most poetic dappled shadows this side of Straub-Huillet. The James brothers flee an ambush amid the chirps of birds and croaks of frogs. American mythology as a dynamic between portraiture and action; faces and their bodies against nature; the vital light outside and the haunted light of enclosing spaces.
Throw Tyrone Power (Jr), Henry Fonda and Randolph Scott together and you end up with a pretty darn good western. Cool to see these three stars together in the early years of their careers.
The story is a different take on the Jesse James story. The gentler, family side of Jesse James, if you will.