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Western, Romance

1958 | 16:9 | Color | Quality: Excellent

Guy Madison, Rhonda Fleming


Steve Dailey (Guy Madison) is in jail waiting to be hanged on a charge of murder - which he insists was self defense. Fortune smiles when he is suddenly offered his freedom on condition he marries an unknown young woman. According to the Judge, she needs a husband in order to fulfill a condition of her late father's will and inherit his estate. Unsurprisingly, Dailey accepts this offer. The unknown woman turns out to be Cheyenne O'Malley (Rhonda Fleming), the half-Indian daughter of an Irish fur-trader and heiress to a considerable fortune. Cheyenne is a tough, independent woman- the film's title derives from the whip she always carries- and she and Dailey take an immediate dislike to one another. But Daily's got even bigger problems, as he is being trailed by a hired gunman who has been hired to kill him by the Judge, who wants his part in the murky affair hushed up, and is also trying to be kept alive by another fur trader who is hoping to go into partnership with Dailey once he has taken over his wife's business.

The film contains echoes of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew", with Dailey as Petruchio and Cheyenne as Katharina. The main benefit of watching is definitely to experience Rhonda Fleming, with her flaming hair, gorgeous eyes, slim figure, and stubborn attitude toward giving up her independent dominance to Mr. Madison. James Griffith, as 'Slow' Karp, has an interesting role, in which initially, he's paid by the judge to kill Guy. Instead, he accidentally kills the Deputy. A little later, he's hired by businessman Parnell to keep Guy alive until he reaches the wagon train destination. Bullwhip is a good little western with memorable supporting performances by Don Beddoe as one crooked and roguish judge and James Griffith as a gunman with shifting loyalties. Fans of the stars will approve.

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