among liis comrades, Wales refuses tornsurrender and take a lovaltv’ oath. Tliisrndecision saves his hfe, for, as lie watchesrnfrom the hush, his disarmed compatriotsrnare trcaclicrously massacred by federalrnforces acHng under the orders of Kansas’rnradical Republican senator, James Lane.rnLearning of Wales’ escape, Senator Lanernsends a detachment of Kansas cavalryrnknown as “Red Legs” to track and killrnhim. (Their name came from the distinctivernred leggings they wore aboverntheir boots.) Wales heads southwest forrnTexas, and the film follows his exploits asrnhe successfully eludes, or outduels, thernpursuing Kansas cavalr)’ as well as an a.ssortmentrnof civilian riffraff, ex-federalrntroops, comancheros, and bounty hunters.rnAnother film of note. The Long Riders,rnfollows the exploits of the James-Youngerrngang of Missouri, ex-Confederate guerrillasrnwho decided to carry on the war afterrnAppomattox by robbing Yankee-ownedrnbanks and railroads. Now, thanks to AngrnLee, the talented Taiwan-born director ofrnSense and Sensihility, we have a thirdrnfilm about the war. This one tells therncomplex and little-known storv of thernguerrilla war inside Missouri, as Southernersrncarried on a desperate fight to freerntheir state from Northern military occupahonrnand to defend their homes fromrnthe depredations of Kansas Jayhawkcrs.rnBoth as history and as art. Ride Withrnthe Devil is an exemplar)- film. It offers arncompelling and believable story, authenticrnand intelligent dialogue, the seriousrnportrayal of friendship, character development,rnfine acting, and beautifulrncinematograph}-. Man) of the film’srnstrengths, both artistic and historical,rnstem from Lee’s wise decision to follov’rncloseh’ Daniel Woodrell’s good shortrnnovel Woe to Live on (1987). The bookrntells the saga of a group of young menrnfrom Lafayette Comity in western Missourirnwho join a band of Confederaternguerrillas early in the war. Most of themrnare the sons of wealthy planters or substantialrnfarmers, and many have seenrntheir fathers or older brothers murderedrnby Jayhawkers. Lee’s film follows thesernvoung partisans as they .skirmish with federalrntroops, hi an age of incessant Southern-rnbashing and demonization, it is remarkablernthat Lee neither caricaturesrnnor demoni/es the Southern fighters butrnpresents them sympathetically. They arernwell mannered, brave, honorable, andrnfervently devoted to their land and people.rnIn one remarkable scene, Lee showsrnthe commander of the guerrilla band.rnJohn Ambrose (James Caviezcl), attemptingrnto negotiate an exchange ofrnprisoners with the federal authorities.rnThey ignore his offer and execute theirrnprisoners. Southern honor and chivalncontrastsrnwith Yankee brutalih,-.rnLee made the wise decision to shootrnhis film on location in western Missouri.rnTlic natural scenery adds authenticityrnand poignancy to the film. To a nati-ernMissourian, the landscape with its hardwoods,rnrolling hills, and tall gra,sses is instanthrnrecognizable and adds to the illusionrnof viewing past events instead ofrnwatching a cinemagraphic recreation ofrnthem. Lee also made use of tiie numerousrn19tli-century farmhouses and plantationsrnfound in the area. The musicalrnscore by Mychael Danna is splendid:rnMuch of it has a Celtic and bluegrassrnsound that reminds the viewer that thesernare a Southern people fighting for independence.rnThe cinematography bvrnFrederick Elnies is simply magnificent.rnThe battle scenes have all the visual poetry-rnof the 1 ang Riders.rnLee’s casting is also excellent. Hernchose talented actors who not onl’ phvsicallyrnresemble the Southern Anglo-Celtsrnwho made up the bulk of Missouri’s ruralrnpopulation, but who can do a Southernrnaccent with the subtlety it deserxes.rnSkect Ulricli and Australian actor SimonrnBaker play the sons of wealthy planters.rnTobey Maguire plays the son of a Germanrnimmigrant who has elected to fightrnwith the Southerners among whom hernhas grown up ratiier tiian hide out withrnhis fetiicr’s family. Wlien his father tellsrnhim that he should mo-e to St. Louis tornstay with German relaties for the durationrnof the war, he replies, “I’m not goingrnto go to St. Louis to live witii the LincolnlovingrnGermans,” for the Southerners arern”his people now.” Most of his comradesrnaccept him as an adopted Southerner,rnbut they still call him “Dutchy.” JeffreyrnWright plays a freed slave named “Holt”rnwho has sided with the people amongrnwhom he has grown up, and the poprnsinger Jewel (who is surprisingly good)rnplas tlie widow of a slain guerrilla fighter.rnFor the climactic action scene of thernmovie, Lee portrays the famous Missourirnguerrilla raid on Lawrence, Kansas, inrnAugust 1863. In that month, WilliamrnQuantrill, the most powerful guerrillarncommander at that time, gathered nearlyrn500 men for an attack on the hated capitalrnof Kansas abolitionism and Jayhawking.rnQuantrill’s guerrilla bands swept intorntown on the morning of August 21,rnshot almost 200 men to deatii, and burntrnthe place to die groimd. Lawrence wasrnvirtually wiped off tiie map. It wouldrnhave been for Lee to dcmonize thernMissourians by failing to place the raid inrnits proper context, but he does not do so.rnNot only does he show Kansas Unionistsrncrossing into Missouri to murder plantersrnand burn down their homes, but he filmsrnQuantrill’s famous speech before thernguerrilla bands on the eve of their marchrninto Kansas. In that speech, Quantrill citedrnas justification for the raid the death atrnthe hands of federal military authoritiesrnof some of the wives and sisters of thernMissourians. By imprisoning and killingrnwomen, the federals had crossed the linerninto savagery and were no longer entitledrnto the protection of the laws of war. Justicernrequired retribution. In tlie words ofrnone of the men, “We could stand nornmore.” Even so, Lee shows that some ofrntiie raiders, including Roedel and Holt,rnrefused to take part in the killing oncernthev had captured Lawrence. Any truernSoutherner should thrill at the beautifullyrnfilmed scenes of Quantrill’s men,rndressed in nav)- blue jackets for disguise,rnriding into Kansas, assembling on Mt.rnOread above the town, shedding theirrnjackets, forming into battle lines, andrnthen swooping down with rebel yells onrnthe radical Republican stronghold. Leerndoes depart from history when he has thernMissourians engage in a fierce battle withrnpursuing federal cavalry while still inrnKansas. In actuality, tiie raiders got backrnto Missouri without any such battle.rnIt is important to note a few other flawsrnin this otherwise fine film. First, the storyrnimplies that “Dutchy,” or Jake Roedel, isrnthe only one of his comrades who canrnread. Southerners, you see, don’t believernin education, only in plowing and fighting.rnThis is nonsense. Are we really expectedrnto believe that the sons of wealthyrnplanters were not taught how to read orrnthat they did not value a classical education?rnSecond, Lee smuggles in an antislaveryrnmessage (in the form of a capturedrnletter to a Northern soldier) that isrnnot found in the book. Third, the “nword”rnis used much too frequentiy. Yes,rnthe word was used back then, but not asrnmuch as the film would indicate. Lastly,rnthis film is not suitable for children orrneven teenagers. Fhcre is much graphicrnviolence and two sexually suggestivernscenes (but no significant nudih’).rnA word needs to be said about whatrnAng Lee thinks is the ultimale meaningrnOCTOBER 2000/.S1rnrnrn