This film is the first ever to confront the history of those Missourians who fell prey to the murder and rapine of the Kansas-based Unionists who called themselves "Red-Leggers" (after their red-striped stockings and gaiters) and Jayhawkers during the Civil War. It is a revisionist film in that it abandons the standard presentations of the Unionists that had characterized Hollywood productions up to that time, along with the dark depictions of the Missouri riders. The Outlaw Josey Wales turns these stereotypes on their heads.

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