I Shot Jesse James

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
I Shot Jesse James
I Shot Jesse James FilmPoster.jpeg
Film poster
Directed by Samuel Fuller
Produced by Carl K. Hittleman
Written by Homer Croy (article)
Samuel Fuller (story and screenplay)
Starring Preston Foster
Barbara Britton
John Ireland
Cinematography Ernest Miller
Distributed by Screen Guild Productions Inc.
Release date
  • February 26, 1949 (1949-02-26)
Running time
81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $118,000[1]

I Shot Jesse James is a 1949 American western film directed by Samuel Fuller about the murder of Jesse James by Robert Ford and Robert Ford's life afterwards. The story is built around a fictional rivalry between Ford and his eventual killer Edward Kelley (called John in the film) over a woman. I Shot Jesse James is Samuel Fuller's first movie, and stars Reed Hadley as Jesse James and John Ireland as Bob Ford.

The film was released on video by the Criterion Collection's Eclipse imprint together with The Baron of Arizona and The Steel Helmet.[2]


Bob Ford of the Jesse James gang is wounded during a bank robbery. He mends at Jesse's home in Missouri for six months, although Jesse's wife Zee doesn't trust him.

Cynthy Waters, an actress Bob is in love with, comes to town to perform on stage. Bob catches her speaking with John Kelley, a prospector, and is jealous. He knows that Cynthy wants to get married and settle down.

In need of money, Bob hears of the governor's $10,000 reward for Jesse. He betrays his friend, shooting Jesse in the back. Bob is pardoned by the governor but receives a reward for just $500.

He spends the money on an engagement ring. Harry Kane, who manages Cynthy's career, books Bob for stage appearances in which he re-enacts the shooting of Jesse. He is booed by audiences and mocked in public for his cowardly deed.

Bob goes to Colorado to try prospecting and runs into Kelley, who is rejecting offers to become Creede's town marshal. Bob wakes up one day to find both Kelley and the engagement ring missing. Cynthy arrives just as Kelley returns, having captured the ring's thief. Kelley is disappointed when Cynthy accepts Bob's proposal, so he accepts the job as marshal.

Frank James, brother of Jesse, overhears a conversation in which Cynthy confides to Kelley that he's the one she truly loves. Frank makes sure that Bob learns of this, knowing Bob will make the fatal mistake of confronting Kelley face to face. In the street, Bob draws on Kelley and is shot dead. Kelley gets the girl and Frank avenges his brother's death.



Fuller was paid $5,000 to direct.[1]


  1. ^ a b Low-Budget Movies With POW!: Most fans never heard of director Sam Fuller, but to some film buffs he has real class. Low-Budget Movies By EZRA GOODMANHOLLYWOOD.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 28 Feb 1965: SM42.
  2. ^ http://www.criterion.com/films/882-i-shot-jesse-james

External links[edit]