The Keachs, the Carradines, the Quaids and the Guests take on the roles of the James, Young, Miller, and Ford brothers in Walter Hill's mythic retelling of the James-Younger outlaw legend. The film begins as outlaws are robbing a bank. After the robbery Ed Miller (Dennis Quaid) finds himself kicked out of the gang when his brothers Clell (Randy Quaid) and Jesse James (James Keach) mutually agree to hand over his share of the money and tell him to leave because of his unnecessary killing during the robbery. The rest of the gang decides to split up for awhile. Cole Younger (David Carradine) travels to Texas with his prostitute girlfriend Belle Starr (Pamela Reed) while the James boys return to their wives and farms. The gang reunites after the brief respite to rob a well-stocked bank in Northfield, Minnesota. The robbery is a disaster and most of the gang ends up either wounded or dying. The James boys are the only ones not seriously hurt, and escaping while they can, they leave the rest of the gang behind. After the James boys leave, the remnants of the gang are captured. But trailing the Jameses is a relentless posse. Frank and Jesse manage to keep one step ahead until the Ford brothers (Christopher Guest and Nicholas Guest) make a deal with the Pinkerton detectives trailing the outlaws.
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