The Younger Brothers (1949)

76 mins | Western | 28 May 1949

Director:

Edwin L. Marin

Writer:

Edna Anhalt

Producer:

Saul Elkins

Cinematographer:

William Snyder

Production Designer:

Charles H. Clarke

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film begins with the following written foreword: "Out of the turbulent aftermath of the Civil War came the fabulous "bad men"--Jesse James, the Daltons and the Younger Brothers. Although most of them served time in prison, the territory from Missouri to Minnesota still feared and hated the Younger Brothers...but not those who really knew them." The four Younger brothers, Cole, John, James and Robert, were reared in Missouri during the pre-Civil War years. When the war ended, the brothers became outlaws. In 1866, Cole joined Jesse James's gang, followed by Jim in 1856 and John and Bob in 1872. Cole had a child with Belle Starr in 1867. In 1874, John was killed by Pinkerton detectives. The other three brothers were captured and sentenced to life imprisonment after an aborted bank robbery in Northfield, MN. Bob died in jail of tuberculosis, and Cole and Jim were paroled in 1901. Jim later committed suicide, but Cole organized a Wild West show with Frank James and, in 1903, published his autobiography. Douglas Kennedy was announced in LAT as a cast ... More Less

The film begins with the following written foreword: "Out of the turbulent aftermath of the Civil War came the fabulous "bad men"--Jesse James, the Daltons and the Younger Brothers. Although most of them served time in prison, the territory from Missouri to Minnesota still feared and hated the Younger Brothers...but not those who really knew them." The four Younger brothers, Cole, John, James and Robert, were reared in Missouri during the pre-Civil War years. When the war ended, the brothers became outlaws. In 1866, Cole joined Jesse James's gang, followed by Jim in 1856 and John and Bob in 1872. Cole had a child with Belle Starr in 1867. In 1874, John was killed by Pinkerton detectives. The other three brothers were captured and sentenced to life imprisonment after an aborted bank robbery in Northfield, MN. Bob died in jail of tuberculosis, and Cole and Jim were paroled in 1901. Jim later committed suicide, but Cole organized a Wild West show with Frank James and, in 1903, published his autobiography. Douglas Kennedy was announced in LAT as a cast member. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 May 1949.
---
Daily Variety
3 May 49
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 May 49
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 48
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jun 48
p. 21.
Hollywood Reporter
3 May 49
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
11-May-48
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 May 49
p. 4597.
New York Times
28 May 49
p. 11.
Variety
4 May 49
p. 11.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
From a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 May 1949
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 27 May 1949
Production Date:
mid May--late June 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 June 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2312
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
76
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Just after the Civil War, convicted bank robbers the Younger Brothers, Cole, Jim and Bob, arrive in the Minnesota town of Cedar Creek to fulfill the terms of their parole. If they do not get into trouble during this period, they can obtain pardons for their crimes and return to farming in Missouri. Already in town are Mary Hathaway, Jim's girl, the youngest brother Johnny and detective Ryckman, who has come to persecute the brothers to avenge the loss of his job with the Pinkerton agency, which he blames on them. Ryckman's wife Belle, tired of his obsession, returns to St. Paul. Denied access to the town by angry townspeople who have been stirred up by Ryckman, the Youngers camp in the nearby woods. There, Kate Shepherd, the leader of an outlaw gang, invites them to join her, but they are determined to go straight. That night, Jim sneaks into town to see Mary, and is followed by Cole and Bob. Johnny goes off on his own to the saloon, and there, Ryckman goads him into a fight and he kills a man in self-defense. Despite pressure from Ryckman, Sheriff Knudson refuses to be rushed into assuming that the Youngers are guilty. Learning what happened, the Youngers leave Johnny behind and ride to the state line to face the posse waiting there. They convince Knudson that they had nothing to do with the killing and everyone turns back toward town. Kate, however, sends one of her men to wait for Johnny to cross the state line bridge and bring him to her. Ryckman then gives Mary a message for Jim stating that ... +


Just after the Civil War, convicted bank robbers the Younger Brothers, Cole, Jim and Bob, arrive in the Minnesota town of Cedar Creek to fulfill the terms of their parole. If they do not get into trouble during this period, they can obtain pardons for their crimes and return to farming in Missouri. Already in town are Mary Hathaway, Jim's girl, the youngest brother Johnny and detective Ryckman, who has come to persecute the brothers to avenge the loss of his job with the Pinkerton agency, which he blames on them. Ryckman's wife Belle, tired of his obsession, returns to St. Paul. Denied access to the town by angry townspeople who have been stirred up by Ryckman, the Youngers camp in the nearby woods. There, Kate Shepherd, the leader of an outlaw gang, invites them to join her, but they are determined to go straight. That night, Jim sneaks into town to see Mary, and is followed by Cole and Bob. Johnny goes off on his own to the saloon, and there, Ryckman goads him into a fight and he kills a man in self-defense. Despite pressure from Ryckman, Sheriff Knudson refuses to be rushed into assuming that the Youngers are guilty. Learning what happened, the Youngers leave Johnny behind and ride to the state line to face the posse waiting there. They convince Knudson that they had nothing to do with the killing and everyone turns back toward town. Kate, however, sends one of her men to wait for Johnny to cross the state line bridge and bring him to her. Ryckman then gives Mary a message for Jim stating that Johnny has joined Kate. When Cole investigates, Kate captures him as well. Kate plans to use Cole and Johnny as the fall guys for a robbery that she has organized. Jim and Bob go after their brothers, and are directed to the town of River Rock by a message that Ryckman writes in the dust in Kate's house. In River Rock, Jim and Bob abscond with some guns, but leave behind money to pay for them. Kate then gives Cole an unloaded gun and orders him to go along with the robbery. From their hiding place, Jim and Bob are puzzled when they see Cole wearing a gun, but follow the group. At the bank, the Youngers do their best to stop the robbery, which claims Kate's life, and later take the money from the bandits and return it to the bank. On the way back to Cedar Creek, the brothers encounter a posse formed by Ryckman. The Youngers evade the posse, but Cole is wounded in the process. Cole tells no one of his injury, and the brothers hurry to their parole hearing in St. Paul. The pardon is granted despite protests from Ryckman, but he is still determined to punish the brothers. Along with some other men, he surrounds their campsite, intending to hang them. Johnny, however, forces him to halt the hanging. The brothers then return to Missouri as free men. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.