McDonald County Library
Jesse James Brings Hollywood to the Ozarks
In 1938, the Hollywood movie “Jesse James” was filmed in the Missouri Ozarks. The movie, produced by Twentieth Century Fox and starring Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, and Nancy Kelly, was primarily filmed in the small town of Pineville, as well as elsewhere in McDonald County. Additional filming locations included Lake Ozark, Missouri. Pineville was selected to represent Jesse James’ hometown of Liberty, Missouri, due to its resemblance at the time to 19th Century Missouri. Pineville’s population at the time was 383, and many of its citizens took part in the movie as extras. The film, which was a box office success, was Missouri’s first major contribution to Hollywood filmmaking history. The city of Pineville continues to commemorate its role in the film with its annual “Jesse James Days” celebration.
The collection includes photographs and memorabilia from the 1938 shooting of the film. These items document the arrival of Hollywood stars and production teams, the filming of the movie in Pineville and elsewhere in McDonald County, and involvement of locals. Included are on- and off-set candid shots of movie stars, including Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda.
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