Cast & Crew
George "gabby" Hayes
Phineas Krager, a manager of the Midland and Western Railroad, promises settlers that if they develop the land in James County, Missouri, they will be allowed to buy it cheaply after the company's government grant to build a new line is received. The settlers work hard and their farms prosper, but the railroad ignores their options and offers the land at an exorbitant rate. Despite his sympathy for the settlers' cause, Judge Rutherford is forced by technicalities to rule in the railroad's favor when the case comes to court. Desperate to help the settlers, sheriff "Gabby" Whittaker sends for an old friend, Jesse James, who has been leading a quiet life in Nebraska, in the hope that Jesse will organize a resistance movement. Jesse's first act is to rob a Midland and Western train, the proceeds of which he uses to buy some of the farm deeds. While Jesse is distributing the deeds to the settlers, Gabby and the townsfolk are puzzled by the appearance of Clint Burns, a bad-tempered gambler who is Jesse's exact double. After Clint is mistakenly arrested and then released, he is again brought to Gabby by Jane Fillmore and Polly Morgan, reporters from the St. Louis Journal . After being informed of their error, Jane and Polly then pump Gabby for information about Jesse for a story. Meanwhile, Krager decides to capitalize on Clint's resemblance to Jesse by having the gambler pose as the outlaw while committing crimes against the settlers. Krager's scheme to turn the settlers against Jesse works quickly, and even Gabby, who was left unconscious in a burning building by Clint's gang, wonders if his friend has changed. Jane and Polly, however, saw Jesse rescuing Gabby and are aware that Clint is behind the evil deeds being blamed on Jesse. Later, as the townspeople pressure Gabby to bring Jesse to justice, word comes that Jesse is wounded and hiding in a deserted house. Gabby rushes to the site but is preceded by Clint, Jane and Polly. Clint tries to convince the two reporters that he is Jesse, but Jane, who is in love with the real outlaw, can tell the difference between them. Jesse, who started the rumor that he was wounded in order to draw out Clint, shoots the gambler and puts on his clothes. Jesse then escapes from Gabby and goes to Krager's office, where Krager, believing him to be Clint, offers him money to leave town. Krager and Clint's gang become suspicious of Jesse, but their attempt to kill him fails. Jesse then succeeds in getting enough evidence to prove that Paul Sloane, the settlers' lawyer, colluded with Krager to invalidate their land claims, and after a shootout, Jesse and Gabby round up Krager's men. Polly declares that she and Jane have quite a scoop for their paper, but Jane informs Polly that she will have to write the story alone, as she is going to Nebraska with Jesse.
George "gabby" Hayes
Ed Peil Sr.
Jesse James at Bay
Producer: Joseph Kane
Director: Joseph Kane
Screenplay: Harrison Jacobs, James R. Webb
Cinematography: William Nobles
Film Editing: Tony Martinelli
Music: Darrell Calker, Leo Erdody, Cy Feuer, Albert Glasser, Mort Glickman, William Lava, Walter Samuels, Paul Sawtell, Marlin Skiles
Cast: Roy Rogers (Jesse James/Clint Burns), George 'Gabby' Hayes (Gabby Whittaker), Sally Payne (Polly Morgan), Pierre Watkin (Phineas Kraeger), Ivan Miller (Judge Rutherford), Wally Wales (Paul Sloan).
Jesse James at Bay
The film opens with a written prologue that states: "The story that Jesse James was finally killed by a disloyal member of his gang is well-known and believed by many to be factual. But there is another legend-vouched for by many old-timers of Missouri-which goes like this...." The picture does not appear to be based on the real James' life, however. A August 12, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Republic intended for this to be the last historical western done by Roy Rogers, and that in the future, the studio would star him in pictures with more "emphasis on situational comedy and greater opportunity for Rogers to use his singing voice." Modern sources include the following actors in the cast: Jack O'Shea, Curley Dresden, Budd Buster, Karl Hackett, Kit Guard, Bill Wolfe, Ray Jones, Bob Woodward, Ted Lorch, Pascale Perry, Bob Reeves and George Kesterson.