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Silver Lode (1954)

Approved | | Western | 23 July 1954 (USA)
In Silver Lode, Dan Ballard is arrested by 4 Marshals for murder and theft but he denies the charges and searches for the real culprit even as the townsfolk start abandoning him.


Allan Dwan


Karen DeWolf (story), Karen DeWolf (screenplay)




Complete credited cast:
John Payne ... Dan Ballard
Lizabeth Scott ... Rose Evans
Dan Duryea ... Fred McCarty
Dolores Moran ... Dolly
Emile Meyer ... Sheriff Wooley
Robert Warwick ... Judge Cranston
John Hudson ... Mitch Evans
Harry Carey Jr. ... Johnson
Alan Hale Jr. ... Kirk
Stuart Whitman ... Wicker
Frank Sully ... Paul Herbert
Morris Ankrum ... Zachary Evans
Hugh Sanders ... Reverend Field
Florence Auer ... Mrs. Elmwood
Roy Gordon Roy Gordon ... Dr. Elmwood


Dan Ballard, a respected citizen in the western town of Silver Lode, has his wedding interrupted by four men led by Fred McCarty, an old acquaintance who, as a US Marshal, arrests Ballard for the murder of his brother and the theft of $20,000. Ballard seeks to stall McCarty while tracking down evidence that will prove his innocence: but the townspeople's loyalty to him gradually begins to waver under McCarty's accusations. Written by David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Bullet for Bullet...Life for Life! (original six-sheet poster) See more »




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Did You Know?


Final film of actress Dolores Moran. See more »


John Payne is seen throughout the film wearing black cowboy boots, but when his stunt double leaps aboard a wagon, the double is seen to wear low shoes with white socks. See more »


Dan Ballard: This man's accused me of murder.
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User Reviews

SILVER LODE (Allan Dwan, 1954) ***1/2
14 January 2009 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

What could easily have been just another low-budget Western oater or, worse still, the poor man's HIGH NOON (1952), is turned by excellent scripting (atypically the work of a woman!) and direction into a true gem of the genre during its golden age. In fact, the film wears its anti-Red Scare intentions proudly on its sleeve by actually naming its chief villain (Dan Duryea in formidable form) McCarthy and making him an outlaw posing as a fake U.S. Marshal! Reformed gunfighter hero John Payne (in his first of four movies for veteran director Dwan) has his 4th of July wedding (to local belle Lizabeth Scott) disrupted by the arrival in town of Duryea and his men (including Stuart Whitman and Harry Carey Jr.) claiming to have a warrant for his arrest for killing Duryea's brother and absconding with the sum of $20,000. So far so conventional plot-wise but what is remarkable here is the way that the film-makers chose to employ the townspeople who are constantly following the protagonists around the streets of Silver Lode, at first forcibly siding with Payne (to the point of holding Duryea et al at gunpoint) but, with time, being swayed by the latter's lies and an unfortunate series of events that lead them to believe Payne guilty of murdering their sheriff (Emile Meyer) and one of the marshals, as well as wounding Scott's hot-headed brother. Aiding Payne, apart from the unwavering Scott (of course), is his ex-flame, sultry saloon gal (Dolores Moran, the wife of producer Benedict Bogeaus and whose last film this proved to be) who spits one-liner put-downs to hero, villain and everyone in between; I really liked her character and, apparently, so did Dwan because he opted to close the film on the image of her running frantically clenching the all-important telegraphic confirmation (Duryea's men had intuitively cut the lines beforehand) of Payne's claims of innocence. However, in view of the film being a thinly-veiled allegory on the ongoing witch-hunts, it is a telling comment on the relative nature of truth that the girls had already won the day by forcing the gullible telegraph official to write down a false reply. The expected climactic confrontation between Payne and Duryea, then, takes place inside a bell tower – with the latter's bullet ultimately ricocheting on himself in God-like retribution – making for a doubly ironic ending to a film (beautifully shot in color by the great John Alton) that had held its audience entranced for all of 77 breathless minutes.

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Release Date:

23 July 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Desperate Men See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)


Color (Eastman Color)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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