Set in 1890's Montana, a conflict between the widowed Maggie Carter and cattle baron Cyrus McCall escalates into a "range war" when McCall threatens her survival as a rancher by putting up a barbed-wire fence. The battle escalates when their children get involved and a mysterious stranger from Maggie's past comes back into her life.
Independent filmmakers are a breed apart. With little to no hope of making millions of dollars they pour their artistic heart into their productions. Movies that offers few rewards other than the gratification of a job well done. ONE-EYED HORSE’s production of Day of the Gun is a perfect example. Free of expectations the movie delivers on the only promise necessary, good storytelling and a commitment to entertainment. I particularly commend the dedication and integrity of the filmmakers for reconstructing an old-fashioned Western Movie. Conflict, morality, unique Western portraits, and steadfastness come at you visually from the first scenes. Without a budget of millions for site locations, Day of the Gun crafted vistas from whole-cloth. Scenes that appear to be shot on the prairie and in the mountains come across with spectacular magnificence. The moment young Kate Carter, played by Erin Heilman steps off an authentic looking steam belching locomotive, the character of the movie is established. The special effects are impressive. This is a film worth watching if, for no other reason, to glimpse authentic emotions and passions of a bye-gone era. Gun fights, big sky, horse wrangling are first rate. It's fun to pick out actors you imagine are preparing for a great career. I especially liked Jason Brown and Sam Lukowski's performance. Cudos to ONE-EYED HORSE and the people who cherish the art of storytelling.
The acting is roughly on par with an amateur theatrical production. I can't decide if the dialogue is equally as bad or if the amateurish acting just makes it seem that way. If there was action perhaps I could overlook other problems but things move along rather slowly with a lot of talking, which, delivered in the amateur style of this movie, makes it unwatchable for me. I quit after about 40 minutes.
I LOVE westerns. But this was one I just couldn't take. I didn't even get past the 30 min mark. Such bad acting and visual affects. Absolutely dreadful. The only good thing is I have prime so I didn't actually pay for this.
If you love westerns, the classic kind they don't make much these days, you'll be glad you tried DAY OF THE GUN, produced by an enterprising group of independent film makers who happen to live in the east but are second to none in their affection for the Old West.
Writer/Director Wayne Shipley has expertly crafted a compelling story about widowed rancher Maggie Carter trying to survive on a Montana range increasingly dominated by big cattle barons in the late 1800s. With the exception of a menacing turn by veteran actor and Oscar nominee Eric Roberts, the solid cast is largely unknown -- but that makes them all the more believable as multi-dimensional characters wrestling with complex conflicts and personal demons.
Though DAY OF THE GUN has plenty of the action, wide-open spaces and humor you'd expect in a western, there are also satisfying ethical dilemmas faced by characters who know it's not always easy to tell good from bad.
Clearly a student of westerns, Shipley knows it's not the budget that makes a great movie -- it's the characters and story. A rarity in an entertainment universe ruled by comic-book movies overloaded with special effects and noise, Shipley knows how to use quiet, words and mood to tell a grown-up tale worth watching -- and worthy of raves from the audiences who've seen it in special screenings.
I had the pleasure of seeing DAY OF THE GUN twice before its public release. I highly recommend it for the many of us who wish Hollywood still made more movies like this!