Day of the Bad Man (1958)

81 mins | Western | April 1958

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Decision at Durango , Law of the Trigger and Point of Decision . Although the onscreen credits and contemporary sources state that the film was based on a story by John M. Cunningham, which the SAB identifies as "Raiders Die Hard," the film was to be based on the 1956 Clifton Adams novel Law of the Trigger . A Mar 1957 "Rambling Reporter" item in HR noted that Joy Page was being considered to star in Day of the Bad Man , but she does not appear in the film. Although Mar 1957 HR news items include Edwin Parker and Kenneth MacDonald in the cast, their appearance in the final film has not been ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Decision at Durango , Law of the Trigger and Point of Decision . Although the onscreen credits and contemporary sources state that the film was based on a story by John M. Cunningham, which the SAB identifies as "Raiders Die Hard," the film was to be based on the 1956 Clifton Adams novel Law of the Trigger . A Mar 1957 "Rambling Reporter" item in HR noted that Joy Page was being considered to star in Day of the Bad Man , but she does not appear in the film. Although Mar 1957 HR news items include Edwin Parker and Kenneth MacDonald in the cast, their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Jan 1958.
---
Daily Variety
13 Jan 58
p. 3.
Film Daily
23 Jan 58
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 1957
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 1957
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 1957
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Mar 1957
p. 49.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 1957
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 1957
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 58
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
1 Jan 1957.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Jan 58
p. 683.
New York Times
30 Jan 58
p. 19.
Variety
15 Jan 58
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Law of the Trigger by Clifton Adams (New York, 1956) and the short story "Radiers Die Hard" by John M. Cunningham in Dime Western Magazine (Jan 1953).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Decision at Durango
Law of the Trigger
Point of Decision
Release Date:
April 1958
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 29 January 1958
Los Angeles opening: 5 February 1958
Production Date:
11 March--late March 1957
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1957
Copyright Number:
LP10488
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Eastman Color by Pathé
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
81
Length(in feet):
7,403
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18564
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On the day that Judge Jim Scott is to sentence Rudy Hayes to be hanged for the murder, Rudy’s brothers, Charlie and Howard Hayes, arrive in town. Jim, who has spent the past eight years traveling as a circuit judge, is thrilled to receive the lease to his new ranch, which he plans to present that afternoon to his girl friend, Myra Owens, as part of a marriage proposal. Jim travels to the ranch, where his loyal friend, Sam Wyckoff, is helping to put the house in order, and is confronted by the Hayeses there. Charlie smoothly proposes that Jim offer Rudy a reduced sentence, but Jim refuses to be intimidated by them, prompting the oafish Howard to attack him. Jim punches Howard and Sam pulls out a rifle, after which the brothers leave. In town, meanwhile, Barney Wiley, appointed as sheriff by Jim after the judge had rid the territory of most crime, is carrying on a secret affair with Myra, and Myra announces her intention to reveal it to Jim. Jim returns to his office, where Rudy’s girl friend, Cora Johnson, warns him that Charlie plans to kill them both if Rudy is not freed, but Jim again refuses. When the Hayeses' menacing cousin Jake arrives in town, Jim directs Barney to collect the family’s guns, but the Hayeses easily outdraw Barney and beat him in a humiliating fight. Later, Myra tries to confess her affair to Jim, but cannot bear to hurt him. When he announces soon after to her and the town businessmen that he has bought a ranch, everyone congratulates the couple. As Hayes cousin Monte arrives to join the others, Mrs. Quarry, the ... +


On the day that Judge Jim Scott is to sentence Rudy Hayes to be hanged for the murder, Rudy’s brothers, Charlie and Howard Hayes, arrive in town. Jim, who has spent the past eight years traveling as a circuit judge, is thrilled to receive the lease to his new ranch, which he plans to present that afternoon to his girl friend, Myra Owens, as part of a marriage proposal. Jim travels to the ranch, where his loyal friend, Sam Wyckoff, is helping to put the house in order, and is confronted by the Hayeses there. Charlie smoothly proposes that Jim offer Rudy a reduced sentence, but Jim refuses to be intimidated by them, prompting the oafish Howard to attack him. Jim punches Howard and Sam pulls out a rifle, after which the brothers leave. In town, meanwhile, Barney Wiley, appointed as sheriff by Jim after the judge had rid the territory of most crime, is carrying on a secret affair with Myra, and Myra announces her intention to reveal it to Jim. Jim returns to his office, where Rudy’s girl friend, Cora Johnson, warns him that Charlie plans to kill them both if Rudy is not freed, but Jim again refuses. When the Hayeses' menacing cousin Jake arrives in town, Jim directs Barney to collect the family’s guns, but the Hayeses easily outdraw Barney and beat him in a humiliating fight. Later, Myra tries to confess her affair to Jim, but cannot bear to hurt him. When he announces soon after to her and the town businessmen that he has bought a ranch, everyone congratulates the couple. As Hayes cousin Monte arrives to join the others, Mrs. Quarry, the widow of the man Rudy murdered, urges Jim to hang Rudy so that she can see him die. Later, Howard attacks Jim with a knife, and although Jim easily disarms him, the other Hayeses gang up on him and threaten to kill him. Jim, who does not carry a gun, then borrows one from deputy Floyd and visits Barney. Although Jim counsels Barney to imprison the Hayeses, a frightened Barney refuses. When Barney adds that he must have protection when he escorts Rudy to the gallows, Jim is dismayed by the younger man’s cowardice. Meanwhile, Charlie leads his family in terrorizing the local businessmen, threatening their families unless they push Jim into banishing, rather than hanging, Rudy. After the townsmen approach Jim and Barney, Jim points out that not only is banishment unethical, it will also put Barney’s life at risk, as he will be solely responsible for leading Rudy out of the territory. Mrs. Quarry, who blames Barney for not preventing Rudy from killing her husband, also supports banishment. Jim remains steadfastly committed to hanging the guilty man, and counts Barney, Sam and Floyd as his only allies. Barney, however, soon attempts to quit, agreeing to stay only after Jim points out that he will be considered a coward wherever he goes. Just before the sentencing, Cora spots Barney asking Myra not to reveal their relationship to Jim, and runs to Jim to tell him of their deceit, hoping this will convince him to banish Rudy and put Barney’s life in danger by forcing him to escort Rudy from the territory. Jim then confronts Myra, who explains that she fell in love with Barney while Jim was traveling, and that although Jim expects everyone to do the right thing, sometimes people do only what is easy. When Jim leaves, Myra’s father, preacher Andrew Owens, explains to her that Jim plans to save Barney’s life at the possible expense of his own. Soon after, Jim confronts Barney and threatens to banish Rudy, pointing out that this would save both Barney’s reputation and Myra’s future. At the trial, Jim, worn down by the opposition, is about to pronounce the banishment sentence when the town’s children file into the building. Seeing their faces, Jim declares that Rudy must be hanged, then takes the Hayeses’ guns and orders them out of town. Although Jim plans to ride along in the well-guarded wagon bearing Rudy to the gallows, Barney sends the wagon off without Jim, placing him in eminent danger. Jim takes off for his ranch, and when Sam discerns what has happened, he censures Barney in front of Myra, which convinces her of Barney's weakness. She and Sam set off for the ranch, but the Hayeses are already there, firing bullets at Jim and throwing firebombs into the house. Jim manages to shoot Howard, Monte and Jake, but cannot find the wily Charlie, who slips into the burning house and attacks him. As Sam tries to protect Myra from the sight of the burning building, Jim finally overpowers Charlie and kills him. Wounded but alive, Jim crawls out of the house, and Myra runs into his arms. +

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.