Good Day for a Hanging

Good Day for a Hanging is a 1959 American ColumbiaColor Western film directed by Nathan H. Juran and starring Fred MacMurray and Margaret Hayes.[1]

Good Day for a Hanging
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNathan H. Juran
Produced byCharles H. Schneer
Screenplay byDaniel B. Ullman
Maurice Zimm
Based onThe Reluctant Hangman
1956 in Texas Rangers
by John H. Reese
StarringFred MacMurray
Margaret Hayes
CinematographyHenry Freulich
Edited byJerome Thoms
Morningside Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • January 1959 (1959-01)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States


Eddie Campbell (Robert Vaughn) watches a stagecoach as it rides toward a Nebraska town. Other members of his gang are waiting there to rob the bank. Ben Cutler (Fred MacMurray), owner of the stage line, is on board, and is returning home to be wed to Ruth Granger (Margaret Hayes).

During the holdup, a bank teller is killed. Ben joins the posse. His daughter, Laurie (Joan Blackman), is in love with Eddie and doesn't believe him to be truly bad. Eddie shoots the Marshal, however. He is wounded by Ben and brought back to town to stand trial.

Ben, who had once been a lawman but gave up the profession after his daughter was born is offered a temporary job as Marshal. Selby (Edmon Ryan), a publicity-seeking lawyer who defends Eddie, insinuates that Ben was just acting in vengeance because his client had been intimate with Ben's daughter. Ben punches him for this slur on Laurie's character.

Eddie is found guilty due to Ben's eyewitness testimony. He is sentenced to hang. Townspeople begin to have their doubts, even Ruth, partly due to Eddie's manipulation of their emotions. Laurie tries to smuggle a gun to Eddie's cell, but her father finds it.

Ben must ride to the state's capital after a plea for clemency from the governor is made. As soon as he is gone, Eddie's gang busts him out of jail. He physically assaults Laurie, revealing his true nature. Ben returns just in time, though, and shoots a fleeing Eddie atop the gallows.



Good Day for a Hanging was released in theatres in January 1959. The film was released on DVD on April 5, 2005.[2]

See also


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