Fugitive bank robber Joe Maybe steals the identity of a marshal and rides into a town whose judge asks Joe to act as town marshal but an old flame almost betrays his real identity forcing Joe to claim she's his wife.
Audie Murphy plays a young Jesse James falling under the Svengali-like spell of the outlaw William Quantrill, played by Brian Donlevy. Jesse and his youthful gang join the rebels to avenge the death of his parents only to become disillusioned with the senseless violence and looting of innocent civilians. Goaded by Quantrill's girl to leave, Jesse vacillates until the Yankess close in. Quantrill forces Jesse to leave and faces the Yankess gunfire alone. Jesse rides off with his gang and the rest is history.Written by
Rita Richardson <RRichar790@aol.com>
Although Brian Donlevy was almost 49 when he made this film, the real William Quantrill was only 27 when he died. Marguerite Chapman was 32 when the film was made and plays Quantrill's woman, Kate Clarke, a fictional character. In real life, Quantrill met a local Missouri girl, Sarah Katherine King, when she was only 13. She lived in camp with Quantrill and his soldiers. They married and she was 17 when he died. See more »
Seems most of the actors are using handguns invented after the Civil War. Quantrill is not using French Pinfire revolvers and his uniform is the wrong style - incorrect button pattern for a Confederate Officer. See more »
William Clarke Quantrill:
My dear Kate, I'm too old a man to have any illusions about the constancy of women or to be seriously disturbed by the lack of it, but when your intrigues start interfering with my plans, that's something else again.
See more »
The tag lines suggest some sort of historical authenticity with this story. You don't get it, but what you do get is an entertaining western, with plenty of action and a slightly left of centre, quite unexpectedly, interesting version of Jesse James.
The storyline involves a "Young Guns" version of the James Gang, joining up with Quantrill's Raiders, where we witness, the young and by inference still semi-innocent Jesse, come under the influence of a conniving, but also charming William Quantrill and as some sort of counterpoint, Quantrill's fictional girl friend, Kate.
The boyishly young-looking Audie Murphy is really well cast as Jesse James, whilst Brian Donlevy, though far older than Quantrill in real life, does his usual, very competent, smooth -talking villain. Other casting interest sees both Tony Curtis and Richard Long in early pre-fame roles, as members of the James- Younger gang, but playing fairly marginal roles. Indeed Long plays Frank James, Jesse's faithfully loyal older brother, but the two characters have little one on one time with each other.
The interest for me is seeing James here portrayed as a flawed hero. We never really understand why he lets himself believe the very obvious spin of Quantrill. But ultimately at story's end he emerges as very much a vacillating character, who we feel should have acted more heroically, than we see him occasionally do in the film.
The print I saw was obviously restored and I have no hesitation in saying looked glorious in technicolour.
I'm still waiting for a definitive 21st century movie on Quantrill's Raiders, as I feel there is an obvious classic western tale to be filmed around the subject.
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