The True Story of Jesse James (1957)

The True Story of Jesse James


No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...


Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Based on the lives of Jesse James and his brother Frank, this western attempts to follow the events that lead them to become outlaws. The story begins just after the Civil War. The brothers are looking for work, but no one wants to hire Southern boys.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Western, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Walter Newman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 6, 2007



as Jesse James

as Frank James

as Zee James

as Mrs. Samuel

as Cole Younger

as Barney Remington

as Rev. Jethro Bailey

as Anne James

as Dr. Samuel

as Jim Younger

as Maj. Rufus Cobb

as Charley Ford

as Hillstrom

as Sheriff Trump

as Sheriff Yoe

as Bill Stiles

as Deputy Leo

as Deputy Ed

as Bob Younger

as Tucker

as Hughie

as Sam Wells

as Dick Liddell

as Bill Ryan

as Archie at Age 4

as Attorney Walker

as Rowina Cobb
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The True Story of Jesse James

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (5)

Though hardly Nicholas Ray's sturdiest effort, this 1957 'Scope western began as one of his more ambitious conceptions, with an unorthodox narrative structure and deliberately theatrical sets.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Ray is one of the great natural filmmakers, a master of moral ambiguity and jittery mise-en-scene.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A fine Western, the only regret being Robert Wagner. Imagining Dean in the central role makes it one of the great might-have-beens.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

On celluloid Jesse James has had more lives than a cat, and The True Story of Jesse James suggests it's time screenwriters let him roll over and play dead for real and reel.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Top Critic

One of Nicholas Ray's weaker films, this mythical Western displays his thematic concern with protagonists that are outsiders but suffers from the performances of pretty boys Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter.

Full Review… | August 30, 2009

Audience Reviews for The True Story of Jesse James


Average western with a haircut performance by Robert Wagner and a rather bland one by Jeffrey Hunter. Even the usually excellent Hope Lange and Agnes Moorehead are given very little to work with here.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer


The performances and direction feel totally phoned in. The few nice moments it does have are outweighed by a really lack luster effort.

Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer


A remake of Henry King's "Jesse James" which introduces the Younger Brothers, ups Jesse's Robin Hood-like philanthropy and blames treacherous Yankees, rather than the railroad, for turning a good man into an outlaw. Some scenes are almost identical to the earlier film but the narrative is told in flashbacks this time around. John Carradine, who originally played Robert Ford, returns as a preacher in this, Nicholas Ray's version. Despite wooden acting throughout, this is a solid, good-looking western. I especially liked the idea of the souvenir-hunters taking trophies from the 'Howard' home after Jesse's death.

Stephen M

Super Reviewer

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