The Virginian (1962–1971)
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Big Day, Great Day 

The Fourth of July finds Judge Garth, Steve and Trampas in Casper, Wyoming to pick up a bed for Betsy. The Judge meets a friend wrestling in a title match and Steve becomes infatuated with a girl. Intrigue follows.



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Episode cast overview:
Frank Krause
Muldoon (as Michael Shaughnessy)
Pearl Dodd Krause
Cappy Donald
Richard Shannon ...
Sheriff Ed Wilcox
Dan Sheridan ...
Barry McGuire ...
Harry Krause
Dr. Blaine


Steve and Judge Garth along with Trampas sneaking along head to Casper to pick up Betsy's long overdue Christmas present, an Italian canopy bed, on the Fourth of July. When they arrive a fire destroys the freight office and bed. The Judge runs into a professional wrestler, Frank Krause, an old friend who is there for a world championship match and to get married. Garth agrees to stick around to work Frank's corner during the wrestling match. However, unknown to the wrestlers their managers try to fix the match leading to Frank and Judge Garth believing Frank killed his manager. At the same time Steve becomes infatuated with Maxine who looks like an old sweetheart deciding to marry her in a dual ceremony with Frank and Pearl. With the Judge's urging, Trampas tries to bring Steve to his senses about Maxine while Frank marries his longtime sweetheart Pearl followed by the early and impromptu wrestling match. The Judge still leaves Casper with Betsy's Christmas present as a result. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

24 October 1962 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Winners, Losers, Lovers, and Rogues Crowd Casper on July 4th
16 January 2015 | by (Omaha, Nebraska) – See all my reviews

"Big Day, Great Day" is an off the beaten path, buddies on the road episode. Betsy does not appear and James Drury has only a cameo at the beginning. It's the Fourth of July, and Judge Garth, Trampas, and Steve set out in the wagon to the bustling town of Casper, Wyoming. Their goal is to pick up Betsy's overdue Christmas present, an Italian-made bed with a silk canopy.

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray and the Judge's are no exception. Upon arriving in Casper the boys see a fire wagon racing by and the Judge, Trampas and Steve join the bucket brigade. Trampas points out that the bed is burning to a cinder in the blazing freight exchange building. But to balance the scales, the Judge recognizes an old friend in the crowd: Frank Krause, the number two wrestler who is in Casper for a championship bout with his archnemesis Muldoon, a showboater in tights and a billowing cape. The Judge and Frank first met in the Judge's courtroom, and the Judge was a mentor to Frank, setting him on a better path. Adding to Frank's delight at reuniting with an old friend is the fact he will marrying his fiancée that very afternoon after a 15-year courtship.

Of course there are always miserable scoundrels and scamps plotting to steal a happy man's joy. Cappy Donald, Frank's corrupt manager, takes a $2,000 payoff from Muldoon's manager to slip a mickey to Frank before the championship bout. And Trampas plots to scuttle Steve's romance with Maxine, a cute saloon girl with whom Steve has fallen in love at first sight.

This script must have been written with the idea that Trampas would be something of a rogue, such as he was when Brian Donlevy played him in the 1946 Joel McCrea film of THE VIRGINIAN. He's unlikable throughout this whole episode, pulling a deceptive trick on Steve, pouting until the Judge lets him come to Casper, and then, the lowest of the lows, butting in on Steve's budding romance with Maxine and even seducing her into a passionate kiss just hours before she was to be married to Steve!

Yeah, that whirlwind romance was a big mistake, as Trampas knew and which Steve later begrudgingly admits. However, did the ends justify the means? Wasn't there a better way for Trampas to convince Maxine of her foolish infatuation without locking lips with her? For me, Trampas comes off very poorly in this story. Steve does too, ready to rush in where angels fear to tread, to marry Maxine, leave Shiloh and head to Texas on a wing and a prayer. Who knows, maybe Trampas did have to resort to the "nuclear option" to knock the rose-colored glasses from his lovestruck friend's face.

Of the two plots running through the episode, the one featuring Aldo Ray as Frank Krause is the stronger, with Steve and Maxine's romance turning downright sappy right out of the gate. And even the Krause story descends into silliness, like when moments after Frank's wedding Muldoon storms into the saloon and with the overheated rhetoric typical of wrestling to this day, starts a throwdown that turns into a protracted barroom brawl.

All's well that ends well, however, and as night falls the boys head out of Casper after a very full day, pausing a moment to watch an impressive fireworks display filling the night sky. Those fireworks, Cappy's telephone, and the couple instances of photography throughout the story all underscore the fact this series is set later in the 1800s than most Westerns.

No standout guest stars this time around, though Aldo Ray is fun to watch and enjoys a genuine chemistry with Lee J. Cobb. You will believe these men have been friends for years. Michael Shaugnessy as Muldoon is the blowhard Irish fighter straight from central casting and he makes the most of his few scenes. Dennis Patrick as oily manager Cappy Donald is also very good. Carolyn Kearney deserves a nod for playing well a seemingly sweet girl who turns out to be an opportunistic saloon tramp, last seen heading for New Orleans in the arms of a nattily dressed dude.

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