American Outlaws

Movie of the Year Runner-up 2001

American Outlaws is the funniest western movie I have ever seen, while still being a good western and not getting ridiculous. The soundtrack is also pretty good. American Outlaws was directed by Les Mayfield.

After taking part in the civil war, the James brothers, Jesse James (Colin Farrell) and Frank James (Gabriel Macht) and their cousins, the Younger brothers, Coleman “Cole” Younger (Scott Caan) and Bob Younger (Will McCormack), return to their hometown Liberty in Missouri, expecting to settle down and live a nonviolent life as farmers. The indian scout Tom (Nathaniel Arcand) joins them.

Back in Liberty they find that the railroad company is practically trying to steal their farms. The president of Rock Northern Rail Road, Thaddeus Rains (Harris Yulin) has hired the Pinkerton detectives, lead by Allan Pinkerton (Timothy Dalton), to “persuade” people to sell their farms to the railroad company for an extremely low price – two dollars per acre. The Pinkerton detectives use very ruthless methods to do so.

The James Younger gang (or was it the younger James gang? ;)) is formed to start a new war, against the railroad, using their skills from the civil war. The younger Younger brother, Jim “Jimmy” Younger (Gregory Smith), who was too young to take part in the civil war, also joins the James Younger gang. Their tactics is to cut the railroad’s supply lines, mainly by robbing banks that hold the railroad’s money.

Frank James is a poetic sharp-shooter and his younger brother Jesse James smiles at danger and crazy escapades. Jesse James falls in love with the beautiful Zerelda “Zee” Mimms (Ali Larter) when he meets her again, after being away fighting in the civil war for four years

American Outlaws is a little bit similar to the Young Guns movies. Young Guns and Young Guns II are both better, but American Outlaws is more fun. Do not expect a historically correct documentary. Take it for what it is – American Outlaws is a really funny western movie. If you want to watch a masterpiece, watch Once Upon a Time in the West by Sergio Leone.

American Outlaws trailer