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Zorro's Black Whip - Chapter 12 Trail of Treachery


The 12th and final chapter of the 1944 Zorro serial

Zorro's Black Whip is a 1944 in film Republic Pictures film serial starring Linda Stirling. The film was made after the popular 1940 in film 20th Century-Fox remake of The Mark of Zorro (1940 film) and Republic wasn't able to use the character himself, but still wanted to capitalize on it. However, and despite the title, Zorro does not feature in this serial. The hero(ine) is actually called The Black Whip throughout.
The serial is set in pre-statehood Idaho, and involves a fight to prevent and ensure statehood by the villains and heroes respectively.
Parts of this serial were reused as stock footage to pad out later serials such as Don Daredevil Rides Again (1951) and Man with the Steel Whip (1954) – despite the fact that both of those serials had male leads.


In Zorro's Black Whip the word Zorro never occurs, but a female who behaves like Zorro in Idaho fights a cabal of corrupt politicians as "The Black Whip" after her brother (the original Black Whip) is killed.
Hammond, owner of the town's stagecoach line and a leading citizen on the council, is secretly opposed to Idaho becoming a state—because government protection would destroy the system and organization he has constructed—and conducts raids against citizens and settlers alike to prevent order, while keeping his own identity as the organization's leader secret. The town Marshal#State and local marshals is meanwhile powerless to act outside his jurisdiction beyond the town boundary. Randolph Meredith, owner of the town's newspaper, as the Black Whip, opposes this scheme to defeat statehood, but one day he is killed after preventing yet another coup. Meredith's sister Barbara, expert with a bullwhip and pistol, dons Randolph's black costume and mask and becomes "The Black Whip" in her brother's place, dealing a blow to Hammond and his gang each time they perform some heinous act in their efforts to keep the town, and their power over it, unchanged.
Aided by recently arrived undercover United States government Special agent Vic Gordon, Barbara (Linda Stirling) as The Black Whip is quite obviously female but, even after a bout of wrestling, the villains do not realise they aren't fighting a man. Some erence is made to this in the script, however, when the villains are trying to determine who the Black Whip's secret identity could be:

Hammond orders her taken, but the day is saved when Vic Gordon discovers Barbara's secret and removes her from suspicion by appearing in her costume and overcoming her captors. From this point on, despite relinquishing the costume at her insistence that she must continue as the Black Whip, he tends to assume the hero role while Barbara becomes slightly more of a traditional damsel in distress, even while she still holds her own in successive violent confrontations with Hammond's henchmen, and more than once saves Vic's life.
After the town has finally voted on whether or not to accept statehood, most of Hammond's gang are gunned down while attempting to steal the ballot boxes. Hammond escapes, and secretly trails and confronts Barbara in her cave when she removes her mask. He takes aim, but is struck down by the Black Whip's stallion. The reign of terror has ended. Vic remains with Barbara and the marshall to help maintain peace in the territory.


  • Linda Stirling as Barbara Meredith, The Black Whip and newspaper proprietrix
  • George J. Lewis as Vic Gordon, a US government agent allied with the Black Whip. In a related role, Lewis later portrayed Don Diego de la Vega/Zorro's father, Don Alejandro de la Vega in the Walt Disney television series Zorro (1957 TV series).
  • Lucien Littlefield as "Tenpoint" Jackson, the comic relief newspaper typesetter working with Barbara Meredith
  • Francis McDonald as Dan Hammond, villainous owner of the town's Stagecoach company
  • Hal Taliaferro as Baxter, one of Hammond's Henchman
  • John Merton as Ed Harris, one of Hammond's Henchman
  • Stanley Price as Hedges, Hammond's Clerk-Henchman
The surnames of the two lead characters, Meredith and Gordon, are an in-joke erencing two earlier Republic serials. The character Nyoka the Jungle Girl and her father had the surname Meredith in Jungle Girl (Serial), but their last name was Gordon in the semi-sequel Perils of Nyoka.


This serial was put into production, with Linda Stirling as the main star, following the actress' popular performance in The Tiger Woman (1944 film).< name="Cline1"></> Zorro's Black Whip was budgeted at $134,899 although the final negative cost was $145,251 (a $10,352, or 7.7%, overspend). It was the cheapest Republic serial of 1944.</> Footage from this serial was reused in Don Daredevil Rides Again and Man with the Steel Whip.<></>


  • Babe DeFreest as The Black Whip (doubling Linda Stirling)
  • Dale Van Sickel as Vic Gordon/Rock Heavy Karl/Camp Heavy/Danley (doubling George J. Lewis]
  • Tom Steele (stuntman) as Baxter/Ed (doubling Hal Taliaferro)
  • Helen Thurston

=Special Effects=

Special Effects by Republic's in-house team of the Lydecker brothers.



Zorro's Black Whips official release date is 16 November 1944, although this is actually the date the sixth chapter was made available to film exchanges.</>
This was one of two 12-chapter serials released in 1944, along with Linda Stirling's serial debut,
The Tiger Woman (1944 film). It had been Republic's standard pattern to produce two 12-chapter serials and two 15-chapter serials each year since 1938 but 1944 was the last year that occurred. In fact, Republic would only produce two more 15-chapter serials, Manhunt of Mystery Island and The Purple Monster Strikes, both in 1945 and both starring Linda Stirling.

See also

  • List of film serials by year
  • List of film serials by studio
  • List of films in the public domain

=Download or view online=

  • Episodes 2–12 free online

  • Category:1944 films
    Category:American films
    Category:Black-and-white films
    Category:English-language films
    Category:Films directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
    Category:Films set in Idaho
    Category:Republic Pictures film serials
    Category:Sequel films
    Category:Swashbuckler films
    Category:Zorro films
    Category:1940s Western (genre) films
    Spencer Gordon Bennet and Wallace Grissel

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