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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 Los Angeles Times as a cast member.