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The Rails of History: “The Last Days of Frank & Jesse James” at TVRM

1986 marked the release of a distinctive movie titled “The Last Days of Frank & Jesse James.” Filmed at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) in 1985, this cinematic gem boasts a star-studded cast with music legends Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Ed Bruce, David Allan Coe, and June Carter Cash.

Telling the tale of the iconic outlaw duo, Frank (portrayed by Johnny Cash) and Jesse James (played by Kris Kristofferson), the movie delves into their endeavors to leave their thieving days behind and adopt the lives of simple farmers. Contrary to the title’s implication, the story paints a vivid picture of their final years. The audience witnesses the transformation of Frank into a family man and book enthusiast, whereas Jesse remains entranced by money and gets swayed by lust. Their journeys culminate with Jesse’s betrayal by Bob Ford and Frank’s demise in 1915.

A notable moment during the filming was when the star ensemble joined the train crew. A cherished snapshot from Ron Dunn’s collection showcases TVRM foreman David Marshall, Bob Beck, Kris Kristofferson, Paul Brock, Johnny Cash, and Ron Dunn, standing proudly side by side.

Pictures for Reference:

  1. Movie Poster
  2. Johnny Cash & Kris Kristofferson as Frank & Jesse
  3. Ed Bruce as Major John Edwards
  4. Memorable Star Ensemble with the Train Crew