Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Actually, this retelling of the life of outlaw Jesse James is only as true as its predecessor, the highly fanciful 1939 Tyrone Power-Henry Fonda starrer Jesse James. Generous chunks of stock footage from the earlier film are reused here, albeit reframed to accommodate the CinemaScope process. Robert Wagner makes an interesting James, though he is upstaged throughout by Jeffrey Hunter as his brother Frank. Adhering to the Canon, the film insists that the James boys were forced into a life of crime by greedy railroad men -- hence, their ongoing vendetta against trains. Director Nicholas Ray adds a few psychological nuances not found in the more prosaic 1939 film. John Carradine, who played "dirty little coward" Bob Ford in the original Jesse James, appears in the remake as Rev. Jethro Bailey.
Confederate, criminal, gangster, infamy, legend [fable], outlaw [Western], rebel, robbery, brother, employment, excitement, life, ray [beam]