Written and directed by Philip Kaufman, (Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), The Right Stuff (1983) and The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)), this one came shortly after Kaufman's debut Fearless Frank (1967) got released in late 1969. It caught the attention of Cliff Robertson, who got Kaufman a deal at Universal to do this low budget western, which is very down and dirty. It tells the exploits of the James-Younger Gang in the mid 1870's, Cole Younger (Robertson) and Jesse James (Robert Duvall) have been granted amnesty in Missouri, so they head north to Minnesota, where Younger has plans to rob "the biggest bank west of the Mississippi". Younger has it all planned out, but Jesse and his brother Frank (John Pearce), have doubts as to whether the plan will work, but Younger assures them it will, it seems like a doddle. However, when they arrive at the bank in Northfield, Minnesota, they didn't count the locals getting wise and Pinkerton agents ambushing them. Everything that can go wrong, does go wrong here. It's a world away from the sunny westerns of old, this one is dirty, muddy and has rain in it, like Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) did. Kaufman mainly filmed it with handheld cameras, which was rare for a film like this, but it sealed the deal, and it was a small success, and put Kaufman on the map as a director to watch.