The Long Riders (1980)

R | 99 mins | Western | 16 May 1980

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HISTORY

The following acknowledgments appear in the end credits: “With special thanks to the Georgia Film Commission for their help and cooperation,” and “Filmed on location in Georgia, Texas, Northern California, and at The Burbank Studios.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the film had several working titles, including The James Family, Bandit Kings, and Outlaws.
       A 29 Jun 1979 DV article reported that the project had made the rounds for five years to secure financing and casting. The production had been conceived as live theater, a musical, a television miniseries, and finally, as a feature film, according to a 2 Jul 1979 LAT article. A 15 Sep 1975 Box article stated that The James Family was one of five pictures scheduled for production by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus’ AmeriEuro Pictures Corp. Jeff Bridges was hired to star and David Korn had written the screenplay, which was scheduled for production in summer 1976; however neither Bridges, Korn, nor AmeriEuro are credited in the picture.
       On 28 Aug 1978, an HR news item that referred to the picture as Bandit Kings stated that three sets of brothers were cast in the film: James and Stacy Keach, Timothy and Joseph Bottoms, and Beau and Jeff Bridges. Six months later, a 23 Feb 1979 news item stated that members of the Carradine family would act in the upcoming $5 million feature, which was scheduled to begin principal photography 15 Aug 1979 in MO, although David Carradine was listed as “Jesse James,” Robert Carradine as “Frank James” and their father, John Carradine, would ... More Less

The following acknowledgments appear in the end credits: “With special thanks to the Georgia Film Commission for their help and cooperation,” and “Filmed on location in Georgia, Texas, Northern California, and at The Burbank Studios.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the film had several working titles, including The James Family, Bandit Kings, and Outlaws.
       A 29 Jun 1979 DV article reported that the project had made the rounds for five years to secure financing and casting. The production had been conceived as live theater, a musical, a television miniseries, and finally, as a feature film, according to a 2 Jul 1979 LAT article. A 15 Sep 1975 Box article stated that The James Family was one of five pictures scheduled for production by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus’ AmeriEuro Pictures Corp. Jeff Bridges was hired to star and David Korn had written the screenplay, which was scheduled for production in summer 1976; however neither Bridges, Korn, nor AmeriEuro are credited in the picture.
       On 28 Aug 1978, an HR news item that referred to the picture as Bandit Kings stated that three sets of brothers were cast in the film: James and Stacy Keach, Timothy and Joseph Bottoms, and Beau and Jeff Bridges. Six months later, a 23 Feb 1979 news item stated that members of the Carradine family would act in the upcoming $5 million feature, which was scheduled to begin principal photography 15 Aug 1979 in MO, although David Carradine was listed as “Jesse James,” Robert Carradine as “Frank James” and their father, John Carradine, would appear as “Doc Samuels,” father-in-law of the two brothers. The news item in 2 Apr 1979 Look, which referred to the picture as Outlaw, reported that James and Stacy Keach would play “Jesse James” and Frank James,” respectively, while David, Keith and Robert Carradine would portray “Cole Younger,” “Jim Younger,” and “Bob Younger” and Jeff and Beau Bridges would appear as “Bob Ford” and “Charlie Ford.” Brothers Nicholas and Christopher Guest replaced the Bridges. According to the 2 Jul 1979 LAT article, the Bottoms brothers – Timothy, Sam, and Benjamin – had expressed interest in the project but the roles had already gone to the Carradines.
       A 8 Oct 1979 United Artists press release stated that the film’s budget increased to $8 million.
       Production notes reported that plans to film in Jackson County, MO, the original turf of the James-Younger gang, were abandoned early because the area no longer resembled the historic setting. Instead Clayton, GA, was chosen to fill in for MO. Other GA locations included countryside on the outskirts of Albany, where three weeks of filming took place and the towns of Leary and Parrott, which were used as substitutes for Gallatin, MO, and Northfield, MN, respectively. To convert Parrott, a small town with a population of 264, into a MN town circa 1876, production designer Jack T. Collis and his crew removed all utility poles, added 19th-century facades to storefronts, and used fifty truckloads of dirt to hide the town’s paved main street. According to a 18 Sep 1979 UA press release, five hundred extras were recruited for five days to shoot the raid sequence in the town.
       Later, the production moved to Tyler and Palestine, TX, for train sequences, followed by additional shooting at The Burbank Studios in Los Angeles, CA, according to 7 Sep and Oct 1979 UA press releases. A 14 Nov 1979 UA press release announced that the production would continue shooting in Sonora, CA. A brief in the 10 Dec 1979 DV reported that principal photography was completed 23 Nov 1979 after a fifteen-week shoot.
       Reviews ranged from good to poor. While reviews in 16 Jun 1980 Time and 2 Jun 1980 New West praised many of the performances, Janet Maslin’s review in the 16 May 1980 NYT observed that handsome photography and attention to detail could not offset a screenplay that did little to reveal character.
       As noted in UA press releases from 4 Sep 1989 UA, 12 Oct 1979 UA, and 4 Dec 1979 UA, the film planned to mark the theatrically-released feature film debuts of Pamela Reed (“Belle Star”) , Oakland Raider’s football star Fred Biletnikoff, and guitar maker, Stuart Mossman (“Engineer”). While Biletnikoff was slated to play a doctor, he is not credited on screen. Ry Cooder, who composed the picture’s original musical score, had a cameo role as a guitar player at a brothel, according to a news item in the 29 Aug 1979 DV. He did not receive screen credit for his acting. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
15 Sep 1975.
---
Daily Variety
23 Feb 1979.
---
Daily Variety
29 Jun 1979.
---
Daily Variety
29 Aug 1979.
---
Daily Variety
10 Dec 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Aug 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 1980
p. 3, 10.
Look
2 Apr 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 Jul 1979
Part IV, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
16 May 1980
p. 2.
New West
2 Jun 1980.
---
New York Times
16 May 1980
p. 14.
Time
16 Jun 1980.
---
Variety
7 May 1980
p. 10.
Village Voice
17-23 Sep 1980
p. 48.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
Still photog
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Assoc film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Const coord
Paint foreman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
MUSIC
Mus comp & arr
Mus ed
Musician
Musician
Musician
Musician
Musician
Musician
Musician
Musician
Musician
Musician
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Dial ed
Dubbing mixer
Dubbing mixer
Dubbing mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title des
DANCE
Dance choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Loc mgr
Scr supv
Unit pub
Craft service
Head wrangler
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Prod accountant
Prod coord
Prod asst
Asst to Stacy Keach
Asst to Tim Zinnemann
Asst to Walter Hill
Casting
Casting
Pub relations
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
COLOR PERSONNEL
Timer
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The James Family
Bandit Kings
Outlaws
Release Date:
16 May 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 16 May 1980
Production Date:
began 15 August 1979 in southwestern GA
ended 23 November 1979 in Sonora,CA
Copyright Claimant:
United Artists Corporation
Copyright Date:
16 June 1980
Copyright Number:
PA71890
Physical Properties:
Sound
Lenses/Prints
Lenses & Panaflex® Camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
99
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25911
SYNOPSIS

In 1876 Missouri, outlaw Jesse James, leader of the James-Younger gang, escapes from a bank robbery with a gunshot wound to his arm. As the gang hides from the law, Jesse dismisses a gang member, Ed Miller, for his reckless behavior. Expecting support from his brother, Clell Miller, Ed is disappointed when Clell sides with Jesse. After Ed is given his share of the bank money, Cole Younger warns him not to tell the authorities about their whereabouts or risk the consequences. Later, the gang relaxes at a nearby brothel, while Jesse, barely recovered from his injury, tells his girlfriend, Zee Mimms, he is going back to work. As Jesse maps out their future, he tells Zee that if they marry, he will not change, and she accepts his conditions. Soon, the gang robs a stagecoach, takes the money from a lock box and escapes. Back at the brothel, Cole interrupts madam Belle Starr while she bathes and pays for her company. Later, Jesse and Zee have a big wedding. At the reception, brothers Charlie and Bob Ford approach Frank James and ask to join the gang, but they are rebuffed. After Zee and Jesse return from their honeymoon, the gang successfully robs a train, and a $5,000-reward is posted for their arrest. Mr. Jacob Rixley, the lead Pinkerton detective, arrives with a search warrant along with fellow Pinkerton agents at the home of Mrs. Zerelda Cole James Samuel, mother of Jesse and Frank. In the woods, Jim Younger and his cousin, John Younger, meet two Pinkerton men, who claim to be cattle buyers, looking to do business with the Youngers. After a brief conversation, the Pinkertons kill John ... +


In 1876 Missouri, outlaw Jesse James, leader of the James-Younger gang, escapes from a bank robbery with a gunshot wound to his arm. As the gang hides from the law, Jesse dismisses a gang member, Ed Miller, for his reckless behavior. Expecting support from his brother, Clell Miller, Ed is disappointed when Clell sides with Jesse. After Ed is given his share of the bank money, Cole Younger warns him not to tell the authorities about their whereabouts or risk the consequences. Later, the gang relaxes at a nearby brothel, while Jesse, barely recovered from his injury, tells his girlfriend, Zee Mimms, he is going back to work. As Jesse maps out their future, he tells Zee that if they marry, he will not change, and she accepts his conditions. Soon, the gang robs a stagecoach, takes the money from a lock box and escapes. Back at the brothel, Cole interrupts madam Belle Starr while she bathes and pays for her company. Later, Jesse and Zee have a big wedding. At the reception, brothers Charlie and Bob Ford approach Frank James and ask to join the gang, but they are rebuffed. After Zee and Jesse return from their honeymoon, the gang successfully robs a train, and a $5,000-reward is posted for their arrest. Mr. Jacob Rixley, the lead Pinkerton detective, arrives with a search warrant along with fellow Pinkerton agents at the home of Mrs. Zerelda Cole James Samuel, mother of Jesse and Frank. In the woods, Jim Younger and his cousin, John Younger, meet two Pinkerton men, who claim to be cattle buyers, looking to do business with the Youngers. After a brief conversation, the Pinkertons kill John and, in turn, Jim kills the Pinkerton men. Another attempt to catch the outlaws ends in tragedy when a Pinkerton smoke bomb accidentally explodes in Zerelda’s cabin, killing her handicapped 15-year-old son, Archie Payton Samuel. After Archie’s funeral, the gang rides into town and kills the men responsible for Archie’s death. After the murders, the gang hides at Mr. McCorkindale’s farm. Pinkertons surround the farm, and during a bloody shootout the gang escapes through the rear of the barn. In jail, Ed is serving a six-month sentence for disorderly conduct, and rejects Rixley’s reward for information leading to capture of the James-Younger gang. Meanwhile, the gang splits up and Cole returns to Belle’s brothel, where she pits him against her husband, Sam Starr, in a knife fight. After Cole plunges a knife into Sam’s thigh, he leaves the brothel. When Jesse comes out of hiding, he returns home to Zee, and announces his plans for the next job. Clell proposes that a prosperous bank in Northfield, Minnesota, is where their next robbery should be. The gang rides into Northfield without scouting the property and things go badly. As Jesse threatens to kill a bank teller, who is helpless to open the time-locked vault, he also shoots an escaping bank customer who warns the townspeople about the robbery as he collapses in the street. Pinkerton agents surround the gang and a gunfight rages. The gang crashes through a building and escapes to the woods. Clell and the Younger brothers are seriously wounded, so Jesse and Frank abandon them. At a hospital, Rixley questions the Youngers, who refuse to disclose their association with the James brothers. However, Charlie and Bob Ford arrange a deal with Rixley to receive a $15,000 reward for Jesse’s capture. One evening, the Fords join Jesse and his family for dinner. Afterward, Jesse invites them into his study for a drink. When Jesse stops to adjust a framed sampler on the wall, the brothers kill him. Later, Frank surrenders to Rixley on condition he is allowed to bury Jesse. On a train, Frank, handcuffed to Rixley, accompanies his brother’s coffin on the ride home. +

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

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