A Merry Boston Pentecost
Owen Pentecost (Robert Stack - War Paint) ends up riding with Ann Merry Alaine (Virginia Mayo - Devil's Canyon) and her men after they rescue him from impending doom as he is out numbered by Indians. They end up in Denver where Ann plans to set up her own clothes shop and Owen finds himself the owner of a saloon, having won it in a card game with Jumbo Means (Raymond Burr - Horizons West). It puts him in a bit of a predicament as he finds himself torn between the beautiful Ann and the equally beautiful Boston Grant (Ruth Roman - The Far Country), who works in the saloon. But there is unrest brewing between the South and the North and Owen finds himself in the minority in this mainly Unionist town.
Every western always had at least one, that is a character whose confidence over flows and who grabs your attention because of the way they act; carefree, fearless, cocksure and if they were female they would be sexy and they would know it. Now in "Great Day in the Morning" you don't get, one, two or even three of these characters but four as we have Owen, Ann, Boston as well as the original owner of the saloon, Jumbo Means. What it means is that pretty much every scene in "Great Day in the Morning" grabs your attention because there is always a strong, confident character in there somewhere be it Boston delivering that knowingly sexy smile or Owen who even when there seems no hope still has confidence in himself.
On top of these confident characters "Great Day in the Morning" has a storyline which is a bit of a journey as we have the romance situation as Owen finds himself trying to charm Ann. And then we also have the situation as the Civil War breaks out with Owen and a few other Southerners being in the minority in town. But on top of that we have some drama surrounding the son of a man who Owen killed and now Owen is raising the boy as if he was his own. The thing is that it feels like this storyline deserved to be elaborated on and turned into an epic western because as it is parts of it feels like filler till the war part of the movie breaks out and in some cases the truth is revealed.
What is clear is that "Great Day in the Morning" thrives because of the casting with Virginia Mayo, Robert Stack, Ruth Roman and Raymond Burr all delivering strong, confident performances. In truth there are several times when the performances are clearly the best thing about this western although director Jacques Tourneur certainly delivers some nice visuals as well.