Zorro - The Legend Through The Years

   Zorro's Black Whip - 1944

Linda Stirling is Barbara Meredith and the Black Whip Linda Stirling
is
Barbara Meredith
and the Black Whip
George J. Lewis
is
Vic Gordon
George J. Lewis is Vic Gordon
Lucian Littlefield is Tenpoint Jackson Lucien Littlefield
is
Tenpoint Jackson
Francis McDonald
is
Dan Hammond
Francis McDonald is Dan Hammond
Hal Taliaferro is Baxter Hal Taliaferro
is
Baxter
John Merton
is
Harris
John Merton is Harris
Jack Kirk is Marshal Wetherby Jack Kirk
is
Marshal Wetherby
Jay Kirby
is
Randolph Meredith
Jay Kirby is Randolph Meredith
Si Jenks is Zeke Hayden Si Jenks
is
Zeke Hayden
Stanley Price
is
Hammond's
Clerk-Henchman
Stanley Price is Hammond's Clerk-Henchman
Chapter 1:  The Masked Avenger

Idaho - 1889

Law abiding citizens called for a vote to bring their territory into the union.  But sinister forces, opposed to the coming of law and order, instigated a reign of terror against the lives and property of all who favored statehood.
Hammond complains that his stages are being constantly held up by bandits and that nothing is being done to stop it.  The marshal says that he has no authority to work outside the town and that only a person such as the Black Whip who is willing to work outside the law can do anything about the bandits.  The banker states that he has contacted Washington and that a Federal Commissioner is on the way to take charge of things until they can hold a statehood election. Hammond complains that nothing is being done to stop the robberies.
Later, Hammond complains to his men that a federal commissioner is coming to take charge.  Hammond's men have been robbing the stages and wagon trains, and Hammond wants to be able to continue his scheme.  He wants his men to prevent the federal commissioner from arriving.
The federal commissioner dies, leaving Vic and Barbara in charge.

Barbara discovers Randy's body.

Barbara Meredith drives the federal commissioner, James Bradley, into town.  A wheel comes loose along the way just as Vic Gordon, a surveying engineer for the transcontinental railroad, arrives.  Vic Gordon helps them with the wheel.  Shortly after the wheel is fixed, Hammond's men attack.  The federal commissioner is shot; just before he dies, he reveals to Barbara that Vic Gordon is one of his men, a government agent.  The commissioner appoints Barbara as Vic's deputy and asks Vic to carry on.  Meanwhile, the bandits are driven away by the Black Whip, but the Black Whip is shot by one of them.  The Black Whip makes his way back to his secret cave behind the waterfall.  The Black Whip removes his mask and collapses; he is Randy Meredith, Barbara's brother.  Barbara enters the cave a short time later to discover Randy's body.
Barbara takes over ownership of Randy's newspaper and has ordered a new printing press.  Hammond tells his men to destroy the newspaper office and then intercept the new printing press before it arrives.  Vic Gordon interrupts the men as they prepare to destroy the office.  Vic fights the men, but the office gets rather messed up during the brawl.  Barbara finds out about the plan to intercept the new press and rides as the Black Whip to stop the bandits.  The bandits capture Vic Gordon and intercept the wagon with the press.  As the bandits try to escape with the wagon, the Black Whip begins chasing them.  Vic regains consciousness and fights a bandit in the wagon.  While the men fight, the wagon separates from the team of horses.  The Black Whip is able to stop the horses, but the wagon with Vic and the bandit rolls towards a cliff and goes over the edge.
Chapter 2:  Tomb of Terror
Vic jumps off of the wagon just before it goes over the cliff.  Later, Vic suggests a reward for the capture of the bandit leader.  Vic raises a $10,000 reward.  The reward money is to be kept in Hammond's safe.  Vic plans to keep guard over the money that night.  Vic receives a call that someone wishes to meet him and give him information about the bandit leader.  Barbara thinks Vic is walking into a trap and plans to protect him.  When Vic meets the man, he is ambushed.  The Black Whip arrives and chases away the bandits.

Hammond has his men tie him up so that he won't be suspected when the money is stolen from his safe.  Vic arrives just as Hammond's men begin to set up the explosives.  Vic fights Hammond's men and is knocked unconscious.  Hammond's men light the fuse as the Black Whip arrives.  The Black Whip scuffles with Hammond's men and is locked inside the vault when the safe explodes.

The men prepare to put the reward money in Hammond's safe.

Hammond is tied up by his men.

Chapter 3:  Mob Murder
Hammond claims that Vic is the person who stole the money.

The townspeople prepare to break into the jail.

The Black Whip hides behind a cabinet to deflect the force of the explosives.  The Black Whip and Vic escape as the marshal arrives and unties Hammond.  Vic is captured by some of the townspeople who think he was stealing the money.  Vic protests, but no one will believe him.  Vic is arrested and jailed.  Later, Barbara hears that some men are planning to break into the jail and take care of Vic.  Barbara rides as the Black Whip and tracks down the men who have the stolen money.  She recovers the stolen money and races back to the town, hotly pursued by one of the bandits.  Meanwhile, the townspeople break into the jail to take care of Vic.  As the men lead Vic away from the jail, Hammond pretends to try to intervene, saying that it isn't fair.  The men refuse to listen and continue leading Vic away.  The Black Whip continues racing towards town and is knocked off of her horse by a tree limb as the bandit approaches her.
Chapter 4:  Detour to Death
The Black Whip gets up and takes cover just in time.  She is able to capture the bandit and return to town with him.  As the townspeople prepare to execute Vic, the Black Whip arrives with the stolen money and the bandit.  Vic is exonerated, and the bandit is arrested.  Vic and Barbara are worried that the bandit will be rescued so it is arranged that Vic will take the bandit away that night while the marshal stays in town.  Hammond and his men discover the plan, and Hammond's men set out to rescue the captured man.  Barbara fears that Hammond's men have discovered the new plan and rides as the Black Whip.  Hammond's men attack the stage carrying Vic and the prisoner.  Vic tries to outrun the men while the Black Whip arrives and tries to stop them from ambushing the stage.  Vic is knocked unconscious by the prisoner who is then shot by the Black Whip.  The stage rolls into a steep ravine. The Black Whip arrives with the stolen money.

Vic and the bandit are on the way to the bandit's hearing.

Chapter 5:  Take Off That Mask!
Hammond's men confront Barbara.

Barbara is forced to call the newpaper with a message.

Vic survives as the stage crashes into the water.  Vic regains consciousness and is able to save himself.  The Black Whip returns to the secret cave, pursued by the bandits.  The bandits find it curious that they lost track of the Black Whip right at the Meredith ranch.  They think that Barbara may know who the Black Whip is.  They enter her home and confront her, trying to get her to reveal the Black Whip's identity.  Barbara is taken prisoner and forced to dictate a message for the front page of the newspaper, pleading for the Black Whip to give himself up or else she will be killed.  Barbara manages to insert a secret message within her message so that Vic knows where to look for her.  Meanwhile, Barbara escapes her captors and rides out to the bandits' hideout, where Vic is fighting the men.  The Black Whip is captured and told to remove her mask.
Chapter 6:  Fatal Gold
The Black Whip uses her whip to snatch away the bandit's gun.  The bandit flees when the Black Whip begins shooting.  Vic rides back to the Meredith ranch where Barbara tells him that the Black Whip freed her and then must have followed the bandits to their hideout.

Vic and Barbara ride back to town.  On the way, they meet Zeke Hayden, who reveals that he has made a gold strike and is taking his gold to town.  Barbara prints a story about the strike but does not reveal who made it.  Hammond manages to find out that it was Zeke and is determined to discover the location of the gold strike and then plans to finish Zeke off.

Hammond's men harass Zeke, trying to get him to reveal the location of his strike.  Hammond's men find Zeke's map of the gold strike's location.  Zeke grabs a gun and has a shootout with Hammond's men.  Zeke is shot in the arm.  Vic and Barbara arrive in time to prevent Zeke from being killed.  Hammond's men go to Zeke's camp, intending to toss a keg of dynamite down into his camp.  They are temporarily interrupted by Vic, but Hammond's men overpower Vic.  The Black Whip rides into Zeke's camp and enters Zeke's tent just as Hammond's men toss the keg of dynamite down on top of the tent.

Barbara tells Vic that the Black Whip freed her.

Zeke tells Barbara and Vic about his gold strike.

Hammond's men try to force Zeke to give the location of the gold strike.

Chapter 7:  Wolf Pack

The Black Whip survives because she entered a tunnel which runs from the tent into the hillside.  Vic urges Zeke to file a claim quickly because his gold strike is no longer a secret.

A man claims that his wagon train was attacked.

The man pulls a gun on the marshal.

The Black Whip tries to prevent the wagon train from being ambushed.

Settlers begin to flood in after hearing news of the gold strike.  The townspeople are putting together a posse that will protect the incoming wagon trains.  One of Hammond's men runs to the marshal's office pretending to be from one of the wagon trains.  He claims that they have been attacked and that he barely got away alive.  The marshal sends out the posse to the location the man gave, not realizing that his story was false.

Later, the man tries to leave, but the marshal wants him to stay so that he can identify the bandits who attacked the wagon train.  The man insists on leaving, and when the marshal won't let him, he pulls a gun and locks the marshal in the jail.  Fortunately, Vic arrives and shoots the man.  The marshal reveals that the man sent the posse on the wrong trail.  Vic rides to protect the wagon train while the marshal tells Tenpoint at the newspaper office to ride to warn the posse.  Tenpoint phones Barbara and lets her know what is going on.

The Black Whip rides to save the wagon train.  Hammond's men have a wagon loaded with dynamite that they are going to roll off of the cliff on top of the wagon train.  The Black Whip fights Hammond's men.  One of his men throws a keg of dynamite at her, and she loses her balance and falls off of the cliff.

Chapter 8:  The Invisible Victim

The Black Whip falls into one of the wagons and escapes.

Hammond and his men begin to speculate on who the Black Whip might be.  They first suggest Vic Gordon and then the town marshal.  They realize that neither man can be the Black Whip because both men have been rescued by the Black Whip.  Hammond feels that Barbara Meredith knows who the Black Whip is.

Hammond's men go to Barbara's house with Vic Gordon, who is their prisoner, and tell Barbara that she has one hour to bring back the Black Whip or Vic Gordon will die.  Barbara leaves, but doubles back through the cave and changes into the Black Whip.  The Black Whip enters the living room to free Vic, but one of the bandits sees her.  The Black Whip notices and hides.  The bandits enter the living room and see that someone is hiding behind the curtain.  They shoot.

Hammond's men wonder if Vic is the Black Whip.

Hammond's men take Vic captive in hope that it will force Barbara to reveal the identity of the Black Whip.

Chapter 9:  Avalanche

Baxter accuses Barbara of being the Black Whip.

Vic changes into the Black Whip disguise.

Vic releases Barbara from her bonds.

The men check behind the curtain and discover that it was just a pair of boots.  The Black Whip shoots at them from the other side of the room.  The men escape by throwing the boot at a lamp to divert the Black Whip's attention.

Hammond and his men are convinced that Barbara knows the Black Whip's identity.  Baxter says that the boot was small, and Hammond concludes that Barbara is the Black Whip.  He sends his men to the ranch to get Barbara.  Meanwhile, Tenpoint calls Barbara to tell her that Vic Gordon is coming out to the ranch to question her.  Tenpoint thinks that Vic suspects that Barbara is the Black Whip.  Barbara's conversation is cut off when Hammond's men grab her.

Vic arrives at the ranch and is attacked when he enters the house.  He and the man fight and end up falling through the opening to the secret cave.  Vic takes in everything and then dresses as the Black Whip so that he can ride to save Barbara.  The Black Whip surprises the bandits as he bursts in upon them, since they were convinced that Barbara was the Black Whip.  After a lengthy fight, Vic subdues them.  As Vic and Barbara try to leave, shots are fired at them.  Up above, one of Hammond's men sets off dynamite which causes a landslide.

Chapter 10:  Fangs of Doom
Vic and Barbara escape out a side window just before the house is destroyed.  Vic tries to convince Barbara to let him take over being the Black Whip for her.  She refuses and says that she will carry on her brother's legacy until law and order are restored in Idaho.

Hammond's men drive away all of the horses belonging to the patrol so that they can't ride and protect the wagon trains.  Barbara and Vic suggest that the patrol use some horses that are temporarily being housed at her ranch.  Hammond tells his men to get rid of the horses.

Barbara begins to regret that she told the citizen's committee about the horses.  She and Vic begin to wonder if someone on the committee is behind all of the attacks.  They rush to the ranch to protect the horses.  They arrive just in time to prevent the horses from being stolen.  Vic tells Barbara that he is going to attempt to track the stolen horses by using a horse belonging to one of the outlaws.  Barbara changes into the Black Whip disguise so that she can ride out to help him.

Vic arrives at the bandits' corral.  The man outside the corral thinks Vic is a new man that was hired.  Vic goes inside the barn and tricks the man in charge into telling him where all of the stolen horses are being held.  Vic is going to get the man to take him to the big boss when another one of Hammond's men interrupts.  The men fight, and the Black Whip arrives and joins the fight.  The Black Whip is knocked unconscious, and one of the men prepares to impale her with a pitch fork.

Vic and Barbara escape out a side window.

Vic tells the citizen's committee about the horses at the Meredith ranch.

Vic arrives at the bandits' corral.

Vic tries to get the man to take him to the boss man.

Chapter 11:  Flaming Juggernaut
Vic is taken prisoner by Baxter.

Hammond keeps his face covered.

Vic tosses a saddle on top of Barbara which saves her from the pitch fork.  Vic and Barbara come up with a plan to reveal who the bandit leader is.  Vic tells the citizen's committee that they found a note in possession of one of the bandits and that he was planning to meet his boss at their hideout and would tell the boss who the Black Whip is.  Vic goes to the ranch to trick their prisoner into taking him to the hideout.  Vic succeeds, and the man takes him to the hideout as a prisoner.  At the hideout, Vic and Hammond's men fight.  The Black Whip arrives and fights as well.  Vic and the Black Whip duck into a dead end tunnel.  Hammond's men roll a barrel of coal oil down the tunnel and light the spilled oil on fire.  It appears that Vic and the Black Whip have no way out.
Chapter 12:  Trial of Tyranny
Vic and the Black Whip seek refuge in one of the mining carts.  When the coal oil explodes, it blows a hole in the top of the tunnel, and Vic and the Black Whip escape.

Barbara is able to identify Hammond as the outlaw leader because he has a welt on the back of his hand where the Black Whip lashed him.  Hammond flees.  An election for statehood is held.  Hammond and his men decide to destroy the ballots so that statehood will fail.  Hammond and his men battle the men in the ballot office, but the men in the ballot office prevail, thanks in part to help from the Black Whip.  Hammond follows the Black Whip to her secret cave.  He confronts her after she removes her mask.  Hammond is about to shoot her when her horse tramples him to death.  Statehood is passed, and justice has prevailed in Idaho.

Barbara and Vic escape out of the top of the tunnel.

Hammond discovers that Barbara is the Black Whip.

Comments:

  • Zorro's Black Whip is not a true version of Zorro because the only place the name Zorro is mentioned is in the title.  However, since Johnston McCulley's name is mentioned in the credits, it must be considered a version of Zorro.

  • Of note is the fact that Barbara's horse tramples Hammond to death when he is about to shoot her.  This is the first instance in any version of Zorro in which the hero's horse shows almost human intelligence.

  • George J. Lewis stars in this serial and later goes on to star in the Disney Zorro series as Don Alejandro de la Vega.

  • John Merton, who plays one of the bandits, also stars in Zorro's Fighting Legion as Manuel.
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