The movie starts toward the end of Jesse James’ career as an outlaw and his increasing paranoia with his own gang and the increasing impatience of the authorities for the James Gang to be captured and put out of business.
The plot follows Jesse’s attempts to find out which of his gang members are plotting against him and also focuses on the need for him and his family to constantly move house in order to evade the Pinkerton detectives and others out to claim the reward that had been put on his head.
The main story is about the relationship between Jesse and his cousin Robert Ford. Ford had spent his life hero worshipping Jesse but eventually falls under the influence of the Missouri governor Thomas T. Crittenden. Crittenden presses Ford to assassinate Jesse.
The story is slow moving but full of portent and tension as the date of the assassination gets nearer. The cinematography is excellent and the acting especially of Casey Affleck as Ford is superb. Brad Pitt plays Jesse as a complex character troubled by his past, untrusting and knowing that there is no future for him as the world moves on around him.
This is a film that is definitely worth seeing. Great acting and great direction.