I Shot Jesse James

Synopsis: While the law hunts him, Jesse James lives quietly in a rented house on the corner of Lafayette and Twenty-first street in St. Joseph, Missouri, under the alias of Tom Howard. His wife Zee begs him to end his association with the Ford brothers. Before they can leave on a "last" bank holdup, Bob learns that his childhood sweetheart, Cynthy Waters, now an actress, is in St. Joe and he brushes aside all caution to see her. Cynthy is beginning to realize that she is a liability to her manager, Harry Kane, because she will not leave Missouri. Meanwhile, John Kelley has come into her life. She pleads with Bob to turn honest. Cynthy tries to get a pardon for Bob, but the best offer she can get is for a 20-year stretch in prison. Then, the Governor offers amnesty and a $10,000 reward to any member of the James gang betraying Jesse. When his chance comes (April 3, 1882)Bob shoots Jesse in the back. He gets the amnesty but the reward is cut to $500. He also loses the love and respect of Cynthy,
Director(s): Samuel Fuller
Production: Criterion Collection
Rotten Tomatoes:
81 min

#JesseJames was a lad who killed many a man #

#He robbed the Glendale train #

#He took from the rich

and give to the poor #

#He'd a heart and a hand and a brain #

That alarm bell's something new.

They must have stayed up all night

trying to figure out a way to discourage us.

Sorry I dropped the money.

- Forget it.

- How's it look?

Clean through.

You know what they say.

When you save a man's life, you, uh...

assume his responsibilities.

There's only a hundred dollars on my head.

That ain't much when you say it fast.

We got a long ways to go.

Think you can hang on?

- Sure. Where we goin'?

- Home.

It ain't I'm not charitable...

but Bob Ford's all healed now

and able to git.

Says in the paper they're selling a handsome

cuspidor secured by a screw to -

He just spells trouble,

him and his brother Charlie.

Why don't they leave you alone?

You got out of the wrong side

of the bed all week, Zee.

I ain't been to bed since you carried

Bob in here with a bullet in his back.

He's a good boy.

Been ridin' with me for a length of time.

Been living here for a length of time too.

Six months.

I don't mind your brother Frank,

but them Fords.

You've been a devoted wife, Zee.

And I don't say that you speak falsely.

I promise. Right after the -

What is it, Jess?

I only see one rider.

Charlie Ford.

You can look at that map now

if you want to.

I spoke my piece.

What's ailing her?

That's funny.

I wonder what happened.

Why didn't Frank ride in with ya?

He stayed behind to study the roads

we'll have to use.

We picked a good bank in Dodge City. The

four of us can handle it without any trouble.

- No alarm bells this time.

- When are we to meet him?

Eleven days from today.

The bank'll be fat.

He'll be here. The west bank of the

Arkansas River, couple of miles from Wichita.

- Ah.

- Thought you might be hungry.

Thanks, Zee.

May as well sit.

We're gonna eat.

I stopped by in town

to find out what was new.

Guess who's there, Bob.

Your girl.


- In St. Joe?

- Yeah. Still playacting too.

At the Opera House.

Had a show last night, I was told.

- If you're recognized, Bob -

- They don't know us in St. Joe, Mr. Howard.

Watch out for Marshal Craig.

And don't get into a gunfight.

That's not my intention.

You love Cynthy, don't ya?

Since I was old enough to crawl.

Then why don't you marry her

and settle down and buy land?

You're a farmer at heart.

We all are.

By the way, Cynthy, there's a very good

friend of mine - a gentleman -

well, someone I know

- and he's seen the show every night this week.

- He says -

- We only opened last night.

Yeah. So - So we did.

Well, maybe he saw the rehearsals.

Anyhow, he's most anxious to see you.

And he says -

Veronica, will you make up some more of that sugar

and water? I didn't like the stuff Harry fixed.

Well, look.

He's a very important man.

He's the... silver king of Colorado

or something. And he - he feel -

Harry, how could you expect anyone

to back our show if they've seen it?

Well, he's very fond

of heartwarming dramas.

- Oh, thanks. Oh, a little more water, please.

- Now look.

Uh, how would it be if

I brought him here sometime this week?

- If you like.

- Maybe, uh, tomorrow.

Or tonight. Or, uh -

Just a minute.

- Mr. Kelley.

- Yes.

Mr. Kelley, this is Miss Waters.

Uh, Veronica.

- How do you do, Miss Waters?

- Mr. Kelley.

Well, what do you favor?

Light opera?

- Oh, uh -

- Uh, heavy opera.

- Oh, yes. I, uh -

- Maybe heartwarming dramas.

- Well, that -

- Don't forget Lily Langtry.

Of course. Lily Langtry.

Oh, please, Cynthy. We -

Miss Waters, Mr. Kane,

you don't know this...

but I've seen a lot of your shows.

- I saw you in Joplin, uh -

- Maybe Kansas City?

- Oh, yes, yes. Kansas City.

- Jefferson City too, huh?

- Oh, yes. Jefferson City too. Yes.

- That's fine.

Seen lots of your shows. Uh, all bad.

But don't let that bother you, Miss Waters.

I'm sure it wasn't your fault or Mr. Kane's.

Just, uh, bad plays.

But I'd, uh, like to

talk to you a little more.

Uh, maybe I could see you

after the show, hmm?

Mr. Kelley, if you're gonna put a nickel

in this show, you'll lose it.

- Oh?

- We don't make money.

Oh, Cynthy.

- What is it, Veronica?

- It's Mr. Miller.

He's outside.

Hello, Harry.

They want you outside, Harry.


Uh, Mr. Kelley. Mr. Miller.

- Hello, Miller.

- Hi.

- Are you a member of the company here?

- No. My business is prospecting.

What, in here?

I like Miss Waters's acting very much.

- Do you have a match, Mr. Miller?

- Yeah.


Miss Waters, don't be worried about me

losing any money in your show.

I don't have any.

But I'd still like to talk to you again.


Cynthy Waters.

If you'd listened to me three years ago...

we could have been married.

You're a good farmer.


After the next bank-

And what if lead poisoning sets in first?

Mm-mmm. When I marry,

it won't be to a man on the run.

But, Cynthy, I -

Look atJesse's wife.

Last time I saw her hiding out in a

mountain cabin, she looked 50 instead of 30.

I don't want that kind of a life.

Maybe -

Maybe you don't feel for me

the way she feels aboutJess.

I'm still in Missouri.



When you're free, I'll marry you.

All right.

I'm leaving theJames Gang for good.

I know Mr. Meredith. He - He's

the prosecuting attorney ofJackson County.

Tell him.

Tell him I'm...

gonna be a farmer.

You've been gone long enough to get

10 pardons. What did Meredith say?

Pumped Cynthy livid trying to find out

where I'm hiding.

Said if I gave myself up,

he'd see I only got 20 years.

Twenty years.

Think they may have

followed you back from St. Louis?


- Where's Jess?

- Took Zee and the kids to church.

Did Meredith tell her

what the governor just came out with?

Everybody in St. Joe's

been talkin' about it.

- Don't seem to worryJess none.

- What?

Amnesty for any of the gang

who turns in Jess, dead or alive.

- Amnesty?

- Yeah. Act of pardon.

Means if you're on the run

and you turn in Jess, you're free.

- No time in jail?

- Not even a day.

Means you could walk down the street

and nobody'd bother ya.

Yeah. It means just that.

Means I could get married.

Yeah. $10,000 goes with that,

dead or alive.

Means we could buy a farm.

Nobody could takeJess alive.

That'd be suicide.

She wouldn't have to tear up old wheat sacks

to make herself a pair of drawers.

- Bob, what are you -

- I'm...

thinkin' of Cynthy.

What about FrankJames?

What'd you do that for?

Meanin' I'm afraid of Frank?

Ain't ya?


If I want to think I'm afraid

or say I'm afraid...

I'll think it and I'll say it.

Nothing gonna stop me

from marryin' Cynthy.


Hey, Bob.


Hey, hurry up, Bob.

That's wonderful.

That's more like it.

It's nice and warm now.

Be back in a minute.

- Bob.

- Yeah?

Pick up that blanket, will ya?

It's a Colt. 45.

Improved pattern.

Silver-mounted, pearl handle.

It's beautiful.

It's loaded.

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Samuel Fuller

Samuel Michael Fuller (August 12, 1912 – October 30, 1997) was an American screenwriter, novelist, and film director known for low-budget, understated genre movies with controversial themes, often made outside the conventional studio system. Fuller wrote his first screenplay for Hats Off in 1936, and made his directorial debut with the Western I Shot Jesse James (1949). He would continue to direct several other Westerns and war thrillers throughout the 1950s. Fuller shifted from Westerns and war thrillers in the 1960s with his low-budget thriller Shock Corridor in 1963, followed by the neo-noir The Naked Kiss (1964). He was inactive in filmmaking for most of the 1970s, before writing and directing the war epic The Big Red One (1980), and the experimental White Dog (1982), whose screenplay he co-wrote with Curtis Hanson. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "I Shot Jesse James" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 Jul 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/i_shot_jesse_james_10521>.

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