With the Civil War over, Frank and Jesse James (Bill Paxton and Rob Lowe) retreat to the family farm where they witness the murder of their younger brother, while Yankee soldiers turn their backs. The James boys feel they have no choice but to seek their own justice. They join the younger brothers to form a gang of rebels that wage a bloody war against its corrupt enemies in robbing their banks, stagecoaches, and trains. In retaliation, their adversaries hire famed detective Allan Pinkerton (William Atherton) to stop them. When his nephew is gunned down by the James Gang, Pinkerton vows he will not rest until the day the notorious brothers are brought to justice, at the end of a rope.