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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Fine Day and One Fine Day . According to a Mar 1951 HR news item, Ronald Reagan was originally set to play "Dan ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Fine Day and One Fine Day . According to a Mar 1951 HR news item, Ronald Reagan was originally set to play "Dan Mason." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 Sep 1951.
---
Daily Variety
21 Sep 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
26 Sep 51
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Apr 51
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 51
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
22 Sep 51
pp. 1033-34.
Variety
26 Sep 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Fine Day
One Fine Day
Release Date:
October 1951
Production Date:
27 March--late April 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
25 September 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1170
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
77-78
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15317
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Rawlings, Texas in 1888, tough cowboy Dan Mason is hired at Dave Blodgett's Bar Z Ranch. While Dan happily discovers that the ranch's cook is a lovely young lady, Bonnie Lee, Dave's daughter Mabel and her husband, Cyril Guthrie, convince Dave that they must buy the ranch of their neighbor, Miss Birdie Wheeler, so they can raise more cattle. Dave, not knowing that the duplicitous Mabel and Cyril have already bought the other local ranches in order to sell them all to a railroad line, agrees to pressure the reluctant Miss Birdie to sell. When Miss Birdie's only employee, Jose, arrives for the food that Bonnie secretly slips him each day, the two discuss the older woman's desperate need for a ranchhand and protector. Over the next few days, Bonnie manipulates Dan into leaving the Bar Z so he will be free to work for Miss Birdie. First Bonnie discourages his advances by pretending to want to marry him, and later she arranges for Dan to knock a cup of coffee into Cyril's lap, causing a fight, which Dan wins. After Cyril fires Dan, Jose encourages him to apply for a job at Miss Birdie's. By the time Dan realizes that the ranch is ramshackled and Miss Birdie is an eccentric who calls all her animals by name and believes that Lincoln is still president, he has already agreed to stay the night. When Bonnie and Jose visit, Dan realizes he has been set up and angrily prepares to leave. Although Bonnie tearfully explains that Miss Birdie was a lovely Southern belle who escaped from reality after her beloved husband, the Colonel, was killed in the Civil War, ... +


In Rawlings, Texas in 1888, tough cowboy Dan Mason is hired at Dave Blodgett's Bar Z Ranch. While Dan happily discovers that the ranch's cook is a lovely young lady, Bonnie Lee, Dave's daughter Mabel and her husband, Cyril Guthrie, convince Dave that they must buy the ranch of their neighbor, Miss Birdie Wheeler, so they can raise more cattle. Dave, not knowing that the duplicitous Mabel and Cyril have already bought the other local ranches in order to sell them all to a railroad line, agrees to pressure the reluctant Miss Birdie to sell. When Miss Birdie's only employee, Jose, arrives for the food that Bonnie secretly slips him each day, the two discuss the older woman's desperate need for a ranchhand and protector. Over the next few days, Bonnie manipulates Dan into leaving the Bar Z so he will be free to work for Miss Birdie. First Bonnie discourages his advances by pretending to want to marry him, and later she arranges for Dan to knock a cup of coffee into Cyril's lap, causing a fight, which Dan wins. After Cyril fires Dan, Jose encourages him to apply for a job at Miss Birdie's. By the time Dan realizes that the ranch is ramshackled and Miss Birdie is an eccentric who calls all her animals by name and believes that Lincoln is still president, he has already agreed to stay the night. When Bonnie and Jose visit, Dan realizes he has been set up and angrily prepares to leave. Although Bonnie tearfully explains that Miss Birdie was a lovely Southern belle who escaped from reality after her beloved husband, the Colonel, was killed in the Civil War, Dan refuses to stay. The next day, Mabel and Cyril set out with their conniving lawyer, Craig Toland, to convince Miss Birdie to sell her land. At the same time, Dan goes to town and learns from Jose that Bonnie relates to Miss Birdie because both are alone in the world, and then sells his fancy cowboy boots to Mike McShane. At Miss Birdie's, Toland tries to charm her, but is shocked to hear that she believes the long-dead Lincoln wrote her a letter the previous week. Just then, Dan returns and chases out Mabel, Cyril and Toland, but as they leave, they scheme to have Miss Birdie declared mentally incompetent and placed in the custody of Mabel and Cyril. Bonnie, upon discovering that Dan has sold his boots in order to buy food for Miss Birdie, delightedly shows him around the beautiful but squandered ranch. Although Dan swears he is leaving soon, he begins to renovate the ranch. One night, as Miss Birdie, Jose, Bonnie and Dan eat supper, Cyril's henchmen set the barn on fire and, during the ensuing chaos, steal the Lincoln letter. Mike arrives the next morning to inform them that Mabel and Cyril have requested a sanity hearing, and though Dan and Bonnie want to be named as her guardian, Mike explains that they are not as desirable as Mabel and Cyril because they are not married. As the trial begins, Dan hesitantly approaches Bonnie about marriage, but is interrupted when the townspeople begin to tease the oblivious Miss Birdie. In court, everyone laughs as Miss Birdie explains about her animals and her belief that her husband is still alive. When the judge, George Jeffers, bangs his gavel, Miss Birdie's frightened pet skunk Annabelle lifts her tail. As everyone runs out, Dan proclaims his love to Bonnie and they chase down a justice of the peace to be married. They return just as the case reconvenes and Toland presents the Lincoln letter to the judge. As Jeffers reluctantly begins to read, Miss Birdie recites from memory the President's notification of the Colonel's heroic death, and his request that she keep the brave man's spirit alive so that one day the American ideals of peace and tolerance can triumph. She explains to Jeffers that she knows the Colonel is dead but still loves him, and the judge immediately declares her competent. One by one, the chastised townspeople offer Miss Birdie their spare stock and ranchhands. After Dan punches Cyril and Mike returns Dan's boots, Miss Birdie declares it a fine day. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.