After railroad agents forcibly evict the James family from their family farm, Jesse and Frank turn to banditry for revenge.
The first act of this film starts off as a pretty effective Dust Bowl allegory set in the West, but loses its focus along the way. By the second act the film seems to think it's portraying Jame's descent into outlawry and brutality, but unfortunately this descent is told to the audience rather than shown. Fonda and Power give effective performances, but the film is never willing to fully explore the dark aspects of James's outlaw career. This would be fine if things had been kept on the outlaw-adventure level of the first act, but the melodrama just never quite gels here.