Jesse James (1939 film)

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Jesse James is a 1939 film about the James brothers who turn to banditry for revenge after they are forcibly evicted by railroad agents from their family farm.

Directed by Henry King. Written by Nunnally Johnson.
The world branded him ... an OUTLAW ... a KILLER ... a WOLF ... but to the simple folk who knew him he was a victim of injustice - and to the girl who loved him he was brave and a gentle lover!!  taglines

Major Rufus Cobb[edit]

  • There ain't no question about it. Jesse was an outlaw, a bandit, a criminal. Even those that loved him ain't got no answer to that. But we ain't ashamed of him. I don't know why, but I don't think even America is ashamed of Jesse James. Maybe it's because he was bold and lawless, like we all of us like to be sometimes. Maybe it's because we understand a little that he wasn't altogether to blame for what his times made him. Maybe it's because for ten years he licked the tar out of five states. Or maybe it's because he was so good at what he was doing. I don't know. All I do know is he was one of the doggondest, goldangest, dagblamdest buckaroos that ever rode across these United States of America!

Frank James[edit]

  • And don't forget to sue the railroad for everything you give us.

Bob Ford[edit]

  • [masked and holding a gun on train passengers] If you don't know what this is, folks, it's a hold-up! [a woman screams] Stay in your seats, keep your hands in sight, and the gent who just threwed his pocketbook in the spittoon will kindly take it out and wipe it clean before we get to him.


Zerelda: If I could just think of some way to let you know how wrong you are.
Jesse James: No use, honey. It's just like I always told you: I hate the railroads... and when I hate, I've gotta do somethin' about it.
Major Rufus Cobb: That's the stuff! People ain't hating nowadays like they used to. They gettin' soft. I got to admit that I like a man that hauls off and hates good and hard. It's the lawyers - gol-dang it - it's the lawyers are messin' up the whole world! Why ten years ago, here in Liberty, we didn't have no lawyers and we got along fine. Man killed somebody, then somebody killed him, and the marshal shot 'em all and that was the end of it. But, look at it today: right here in Liberty we got hundreds of lawyers, thousands of 'em, as far as the eye can see: nothing but lawyers!
Zerelda: Uncle Rufe, there are only TWO lawyers in Liberty.
Major Rufus Cobb: Huh? Two? Is that all? Then they run around too much. Gol-dang it, I'm gonna write me an editorial about that. [he goes out into the newspaper office] Roy!
Roy: Yes, sir?
Major Rufus Cobb: Take an editorial on lawyers.
Roy: Liars?
Major Rufus Cobb: That'll do. We'll begin easy. [he begins to dictate] Paragraph: If we are ever to have law and order in the West, the first thing we gotta do is take out all the lawyers and shoot 'em down like dogs.

Engineer: What you aimin' to do, pardner?
Jesse James: I ain't aimin' to do nuthin'. I'm doin' it. I'm holdin' up this train.
Engineer: The whole train?

[Jesse and Zee have come to the church to get married - the minister and the congregation react when he identifies himself]
Jesse James: We don't want no trouble.
Minister: Trouble? Why, son, you're as welcome as rain to the flowers. Do you realize, boy, that I had a farm giving nine hundred bushels of corn... until that railroad had taken it from me? Why, I'd given up preaching... and was making an honest living off of the land, until that dad-swinged railroad swindled me out of my own home. By golly, son, do you know I had a big house... two barns... three outhouses... until that gold-danged railroad hornswoggled me!

Major Rufus Cobb: [standing over Mrs. Samuel's body] There's no use. She's dead. This is bad! Mighty bad! I'm sure sorry!
Barshee: Well, I'm sorry too!
Major Rufus Cobb: Oh, I wasn't talking about her. She's gone. It's you I'm sorry fer.

McCoy: I'm Mr McCoy, President of the railroad.
Jesse James: Oh yes, I know who you are, Mr McCoy.
Mc Coy: I just want to welcome you, and tell you how glad I am to see you here, in jail.

Jailer: I don't know if you gents know it or not, but well, both these James boys does things.
McCoy: What are you driving at?
Jailer: I've known Frank James a long time, and when he says he aims to do somethin', he's liable to come purdy near doin' it.


  • The world branded him ... an OUTLAW ... a KILLER ... a WOLF ... but to the simple folk who knew him he was a victim of injustice - and to the girl who loved him he was brave and a gentle lover!!
  • The Tremendous Dramatic Thrills Of the Midwest's Lawless Era will burst from our screen...


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