The Lone Hand (1953 film)

The Lone Hand is a 1953 Technicolor Western film directed by George Sherman and starring Joel McCrea, Barbara Hale and Alex Nicol.

The Lone Hand
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGeorge Sherman
Produced byHoward Christie
Screenplay byJoseph Hoffman
Story byIrving Ravetch
CinematographyMaury Gertsman
Edited byPaul Weatherwax
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • June 26, 1953 (1953-06-26)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,150,000 (US)[1]


Zachary Hallock moves to the town of Timberline with his son Josh to start a farm. In town, young Josh meets a boy named Skaggs who has an older sister, Sarah Jane.

A shootout in the street results in the sheriff's death. A pair of brothers, Jonah and Gus Varden, are continuing their violent reign of terror throughout the region.

Zack is broke. He works hard farming, but doesn't prosper. One day when Sarah Jane brings muffins and they get acquainted, she joins Zack and Josh on a visit to George Hadley's horse farm. Hadley offers to trade two horses for Zack's next grain harvest.

Hadley strongly urges Zack to join the "Regulators," who try to maintain law and order the area with the sheriff dead. Zack declines, to his son's disappointment. Josh later sees the Vardens ambush and kill a Pinkerton's detective. Gus follows the boy home, but is relieved to overhear Zack order the boy not to report what he saw.

Zack's wagon is waylaid by the Vardens, ruining the grain. Knowing now that Zack wants to marry Sarah Jane and is desperate for money, the Vardens approach him about joining them on a robbery. Zack agrees. His angry son goes off to inform Hadley. A chase leads to Gus Varden going off a cliff.

The robbery otherwise succeeds and Zack is no longer broke. Sarah Jane marries him, but soon suspects his wrongdoing during his nightly disappearances. Zack confesses that he is actually a Pinkerton's man himself, undercover.

Hadley is the true criminal ringleader and kidnaps Josh. A fight develops and Zack is able to take care of Hadley and the remaining Varden brother. His original plan was to leave Timberline once his work was done, but Zack elects to keep the farm and be with Sarah Jane.



  1. "The Top Box Office Hits of 1953", Variety, January 13, 1954.

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