[[caption-width-right:300:[[SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou Shooting the audience]] half a century before Film/JamesBond.]]

An early film [[TheWestern Western]], made in 1903 by Edwin S. Porter for Thomas Edison's production company. It depicts a group of criminals robbing a train and its passengers, escaping in the uncoupled locomotive, and being pursued and killed by a {{posse}} recruited from a local dance hall. Apart from the title card and the famous shot of an outlaw firing at the audience, the film consists of thirteen shots, taking place in three interior and a variety of exterior locations. There are no intertitles.

It was one of the longest narrative films yet produced at the time,[[note]]740 feet, or about 12 minutes when projected at 16 fps[[/note]] and contains early uses of what would come to be standard cinematic techniques: composite editing (via multiple exposure), location shooting, intercutting between simultaneously-occurring scenes, cutting within the same scene to compress time, and camera movement.

This film is in the public domain, and may be viewed at [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bc7wWOmEGGY YouTube]] and elsewhere.

Not to be confused with the 1975 Creator/MichaelCrichton novel [[Literature/TheGreatTrainRobbery of the same title]], or other SimilarlyNamedWorks.

!!This film provides examples of:

* BoundAndGagged: The bandits knock out the station agent and tie him up.
* BreakingTheFourthWall[=/=]TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou: One of the earliest known film examples of this trope; the leader of the outlaws [[SecondPersonAttack fires at the audience]]. There are urban legends that some people were so shocked at seeing this, that they ducked or even ''passed out'' in the theater--well, even in 1903 people knew that real bandits were in color and three-dimensional, so probably not. But the final shot doubtlessly made an impact. It's a surprise even for a modern-day viewer.
* BulletDancing: Done by the townspeople, oddly enough, when a "dude" in fancy clothes intrudes upon their square dance.
* InTheBack: One of the passengers makes a break for it, only to receive this as a result.
* JumpCut: The transition between the scenes of the locomotive taking off and stopping is a bit too close in composition.
* PistolWhipping: How the bandits knock out the station agent.
* PopculturalOsmosis: It's mainly known through its homages, particularly the famous shot of Justus Barnes being used in ''Film/{{Tombstone}}''.
* {{Posse}}: The townspeople form one and chase down the bandits.
* SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou: Justus D. Barnes did it 60 years before the TropeNamer. This famous shot is not part of the film's main continuity; it can, in the words of the Edison catalogue, "be used either to begin the subject or to end it".
* SplashOfColor: The gunshot and some clothing, achieved by hand-coloring frames one at a time.
* ThiefBag: How the bandits carry their loot away. Missing the stereotypical dollar sign, though.
* TrainJob
* TropeCodifier
* TheWestern: Popularly known as the very first! [[OlderThanTheyThink Popularly.]]