Joe Branch (Brett King), reputed to be the son of Jesse James, comes riding into Coffeyville Kansas in 3-D, looking for proof one way or the other regarding the question of who is father was. He rescues Kate Manning (Barbara Lawrence) from being lynched by a mob because she had killed the son of the towns's leading citizen while defending her honor, or what was left of it. Rescuing Kate is an important plot hinge, in a movie that makes little or no sense historically or plot-wise, as her father had ridden with Jesse James. Joe also has an idea that he can learn something by making contact with the Daltons, and his method of doing that is by holding up the train to steal an Army payroll, as he knows the Daltons had intended to steal it themselves and knows they will come looking for him. Being smart enough to beat them to the payroll evidently doesn't equate to being smart enough to know the Daltons are going to be more than a little miffed when they find him. The title is a misnomer since the long-dead Jesse James does not appear, and Joe also turns out to not be his son.