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The Silver Whip is a 1953 American Western film directed by Harmon Jones and starring Dale Robertson, Rory Calhoun and Robert Wagner.[2]

The Silver Whip
Directed byHarmon Jones
Produced byMichael Abel
Robert Bassler
Written byJesse L. Lasky
Based onFirst Blood
by Jack Schaefer
StarringDale Robertson
Rory Calhoun
Robert Wagner
CinematographyLloyd Ahern
Edited byGeorge A. Gittens
20th Century-Fox
Distributed by20th Century-Fox
Release date
  • February 4, 1953 (1953-02-04) (Los Angeles)
Running time
73 minutes
CountryUnited States



Cocky young drifter Jess Harker (Robert Wagner) wants to be a driver on the stagecoach's main line, just like Race Crim (Dale Robertson), his hero. The coach line's boss, Luke Bowen, doesn't believe Jess is ready yet.

Race is tough but bad-tempered, and so reliant on his skill with a gun that his friend, Sheriff Tom Davisson (Rory Calhoun), is concerned about Race's respect for the law.

Race goes to bat for Jess in getting a chance to guard the next stage leaving Red Rock, which will be carrying $27,000 in gold dust plus two passengers, including the woman Race loves, the beautiful saloon girl Waco (Lola Albright). For good luck, Race gives a gift to Jess, a silver-handled whip.

A gang of outlaws led by Slater ambushes the stage. Jess disobeys direct orders and the results are disastrous: Slater rides off with the money and both passengers are killed. Jess is ordered to return home by an angry Bowen, but he joins the sheriff's posse and is deputized instead.

Race is out to avenge Waco in his own way. He becomes a vigilante, killing two of Slater's men before Tom's posse can get to them. Tom wants the wanted men brought back alive to stand trial. He is able to apprehend Slater, returning him to Red Rock, where a lynch mob wants the outlaw hanged.

The circuit judge isn't in town so the sheriff walks across the street to send off a wire to get the judge to come in the morning, leaving Jess to guard the prisoner. Race personally leads the vigilantes, who attack the jail's door with axes. After repeated warnings which Race won't take seriously, Jess shoots him.

The mob disperses. By the time Tom is freed after being tied up by Race, Tom and three of his men make their way inside the jail and peace is restored. Jess is ready to ride again with Kathy (Kathleen Crowley) going with him while the sheriff is pleased that his friend Race has fully recovered.



The film was based on the novel First Blood by Jack Scahefer, originally called Solistice (Schaefer wrote First Blood right after Shane).[3][4]

The film was announced in August 1952 as Stage to Silver City with Wagner, Robertson and Calhoun attached and Jess Lasky Jnr writing the script. In September the title was The Silver Whip.[5][6]

Filming took place in October 1952.[7]

Home videoEdit

The Silver Whip has been released as a DVD in the United States.[8]


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p248
  2. ^ SILVER WHIP, The Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 20, Iss. 228, (Jan 1, 1953): 38.
  3. ^ Stage Holdup Teaches Young Hero to Mature Chase, Al. Chicago Daily Tribune 12 Apr 1953: d4.
  4. ^ Writer from nowhere: How Jack Schaefer found the West in himself Boyle, Molly. TCA Regional News; Chicago [Chicago]09 Mar 2018.
  5. ^ Lola Albright Slated for 'Silver Whip' Lead; Barker 'Paris' Indexed Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 19 Sep 1952: 17.
  6. ^ DE MILLE TO FILM 'COMMANDMENTS': Picture of Life of Moses Will Use Title but Not Story of Screen Hit of 1923 By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times 8 Aug 1952: 9.
  7. ^ Dall Understudy Wins Starring Break; Arthur, Wagner Brightly Cast Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 1 Oct 1952: B9.
  8. ^ The Silver Whip (DVD-R). Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. May 29, 2013. OCLC 859870447. Home video release of the 1953 film.

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