Josie Minick is a widow, who is forced to fend for herself. Josie living in a cattle country, finds herself in odds and war with the cattlemen of the town, when she decides to make a sheep farm her livelihood.
Doris Day ... Josie Minick
Peter Graves ... Jason Meredith
George Kennedy ... Arch Ogden
Andy Devine ... Judge Tatum
William Talman ... District Attorney Charlie Lord
David Hartman ... Sheriff Fonse Pruitt
Guy Raymond ... Doc
Audrey Christie ... Annabelle Pettijohn
Karen Jensen ... Deborah Wilkes
Elisabeth Fraser ... Widow Renfrew
Linda Meiklejohn ... Jenny McCardle
Shirley O'Hara ... Elizabeth
Timothy Scott ... Klugg - Sheepherder
Don Stroud ... Bratsch - Sheepherder
Paul Fix ... Alpheus Minick, Whit's Father
The Ballad of Josie for Doris Day marked the beginning of the end of her film career. Her agent/husband/svengali Martin Melcher forced her into a whole lot of mediocre films because he knew and she would find out that their wealth was something done with mirrors. She had to keep working.
Not that it's a bad film, just not a terribly good one. It's populated with a whole good cast of veteran players and her leading man in this is Peter Graves. Graves is someone who should have had a good career as a screen lead in his youth. Unfortunately he got to do a lot of bad science fiction movies(and some real classic good ones) which didn't help. He opted for the small screen instead.
William Talman makes his farewell appearance here. He's a big shot politician who sees his dream of statehood in Wyoming going down the tubes because of the controversy of Doris Day trying to raise sheep in what has been traditionally cattle country.
Doris's husband Robert Lowery is killed in the first few minutes of the film. She has to raise her son alone now and lots of professions and trades were closed to her as they were to women back in that day. She decides to become a shepherd as she's told it doesn't have the overhead expense of cattle on the 460 acres she's inherited.
That starts a whole big controversy with a shooting range war about to break out.
Granted that women were kept barefoot and pregnant in those days, but it's hard to believe that Doris might not have heard SOME discussion about the cattle and sheep problem and why there was this unofficial line of demarcation in Arapahoe County, Wyoming.
Fans of Doris will want to see her in anything though.
A light hearted comedy based on both the range wars of the 1800's and the eternal battle between man and woman. If you're nostalgic for movies without a moral or a lesson, no violence and just plain fun, then this oldie but goo die is for you. Doris Day comes across as a spunky but humorous woman, trying to make her way in a man's world, and her antics are at times, almost classic slapstick. Peter Graves and George Kennedy offer wonderful foils against Doris Day, and even William Talman gets into the mood with more than a few bright quips. The characters of Klugg and Bratsch afford their own dry humor as they sit, observe and bet and comment on the activities of the other characters. The tone of the movie itself is upbeat and fun, and if you like light hearted family fare, then you could do a lot worse than spending an evening with this older flick.
What's not to love about this film? If you can reserve judgment until the end, you'll discover the humorous and heartwarming tale of a woman who is not afraid to stand her ground! Doris Day as Josie, opposite Peter Graves' Jason, is a tremendous force to be reckoned with. In true Doris-style she takes on "the men" of Wyoming, bucking convention (in a great pair of Levi's) and daring them to deny her her basic human rights. OK, so it only takes 2 glasses of brandy to knock Josie off her feet, but she comes right back swinging all the harder! And when the dust clears, she's there, triumphant to the end. Not only does she beat back an oppressive cattle baron, she also manages to fend for herself and her son, run a sheep-raising operation, endear herself to the women of Wyoming, and win the love and admiration of a pretty swell guy, in my opinion. So who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?