Dolan's Cadillac

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This article is about the novella. For the film, see Dolan's Cadillac (film).
"Dolan's Cadillac"
Language English
Genre(s) crime, thriller, short story
Published in Nightmares & Dreamscapes
Publication type Anthology
Publisher Viking
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Publication date 1993

"Dolan's Cadillac" is a short story by Stephen King. It was originally published in Castle Rock, a monthly newsletter about Stephen King, in installments from February to June 1985. In 1989, Lord John Press published the complete novella as a standalone special edition, limited to 26 lettered copies, 250 deluxe signed copies, 1,000 numbered signed copies, as well as 100 presentation copies.[1] In 1993, "Dolan's Cadillac" was collected in Nightmares & Dreamscapes. The story is narrated by the protagonist, a schoolteacher, and there is only one other main character, Dolan.


The narrator, known only by his surname, Robinson, is a schoolteacher who lives in Las Vegas. He has become widowed after Dolan, a wealthy crime-boss, has his wife murdered in order to prevent her from testifying against him. The murder remains unsolved, and Robinson, unskilled in the arts of revenge, has no recourse. Over a seven-year period, however, Robinson—mentally haunted by his wife's voice—devises a scheme of retaliation.

Discovering that Dolan regularly takes the same route when travelling to Los Angeles in his Cadillac, Robinson decides to trick Dolan into taking a fake detour, on which the Cadillac will crash into a ditch and be buried alive. He takes on a summer job with a road paving crew so that he can learn to operate the heavy equipment needed to excavate an oblong ditch just long and deep enough to contain the car, but not so wide as to allow escape through its doors.

The trap works, and Dolan is stuck in his Cadillac as it crashes into the pit. One of the bodyguards in the car with Dolan is killed in the crash; the other, crushed by the engine block, screams out of pain and panic, prompting Dolan to kill him. Robinson greets Dolan and announces his intent to bury him alive. Dolan addresses Robinson by name, prompting him to lean over the roof of the car as Dolan fires a few bullets skyward. He misses Robinson, who proceeds with the burial.

Dolan, increasingly desperate, pleads with Robinson for his freedom, offering him a large sum of cash. Robinson merely tells him he will be released if he screams, gleefully listening to Dolan's cries as he completes the burial and paves over the car. With what must be the last gasp of air left to him, Dolan screams out, "For the love of God, Robinson!" (An allusion to The Cask of Amontillado) as the latter drops the last piece of paving into place.

Robinson pays a relatively small price of undergoing much physical and mental exhaustion, but he feels satisfied that he has done a great service to the memory of his late wife, whose voice finally falls silent; this silence is something of a relief to Robinson. The press reports Dolan missing, joking that he is "playing dominos or shooting pool somewhere with Jimmy Hoffa."

Robinson notes that every year, he travels along that highway to the area where he buried Dolan alive, and urinates on that spot. Sometimes he thinks he can hear Dolan laughing (Dolan began laughing insanely as he realized he was about to die), and it makes him (Robinson) smile.

Film adaptation[edit]

Initially, it was planned to be adapted into a feature film starring Sylvester Stallone and Kevin Bacon, with Stacy Title in the director's chair, but the project never came to fruition.[citation needed] Then in April 2008, it was reported that a movie adaptation would be restarted in May that year. It was directed by Jeff Beesley, scripted by Richard Dooling and starred Christian Slater as Dolan, Wes Bentley as Robinson, and Emmanuelle Vaugier as Robinson's wife.[2] The film was shot in Regina and Moose Jaw. J-pop idol Crystal Kay performed its theme song, "Hold On".[3]


  • The line "For the love of God, Robinson!" is a direct reference to "For the love of God, Montresor!" from "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe. Dolan's Cadillac holds many ties to "The Cask of Amontillado," chiefly in Robinson's burial of Dolan.

See also[edit]