American Outlaws

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Released 2001

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Movie Summary

Director:
Les Mayfield
Released:
2001
Rating:
PG-13
American Outlaws is a 2001 Western from director Les Mayfield. In 1865, Jesse James (Colin Farrell) and his brother Frank (Gabriel Macht) return home to Missouri after fighting for the South in the Civil War. When they get to their small town, they find that it is occupied by Yankee troops. There is also an evil railroad tycoon in town named Thaddeus Rains (Harris Yulin), who is forcing the farmers to sell him their land. When any of the townspeople refuse to meet the demands of Thaddeus, his right-hand man, Allan Pinkerton (Timothy Dalton), and other government workers terrorize them and burn down their homes. When the 'railroad men' begin to threaten the lives and homes of both the James brothers and their good friends, Cole (Scott Caan) and Jim Younger (Gregory Smith), the group decides to fight back against the injustice by robbing from the rich to give to the poor. Led by Jesse James, the men go on an epic crime spree that will frustrate the new government and turn them into legendary folk heroes.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 80

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas

    It's a handsome and skillful retelling of a legend that imaginatively draws on conventions of both the western and the gangster movie to create an energetic yet thoughtful contempo...

  • 40

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    May be simple, but it's also simple-minded; this is, after all, a movie determined to transform its Rebel soldier heroes into men of the people, making it as neglectful of politics...

  • 20

    Variety Robert Koehler

    Sadly symbolizes the decline of the Western. The 36th bigscreen version of the exploits of the James-Younger Gang is one of the least convincing.

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    Action & Adventure

    Themes

    Westerns