Whispering Smith

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For the blues musician, see Moses "Whispering" Smith.
Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith poster.jpg
Directed by Leslie Fenton
Written by Frank Butler
Karl Kamb
Frank H. Spearman (novel)
Starring Alan Ladd
Robert Preston
Brenda Marshall
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
December 9, 1948
Running time
88 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Whispering Smith (1948) is a Western film starring Alan Ladd as a railroad detective assigned to stop a gang of train robbers. The supporting cast includes Robert Preston and Brenda Marshall.

The picture is based on a novel by Frank H. Spearman and a previous 1926 film adaptation starring H.B. Warner in the title role, with Lillian Rich, Lilyan Tashman, John Bowers, and Eugene Pallette as supporting cast.

In 1961, Whispering Smith became a 26-episode NBC series of the same name, with Audie Murphy, film star and World War II hero, in the title role.


The bad Barton boys—Blake, Leroy and Gabby—rob a train and shoot a guard. Luke Smith, known as "Whispering" to some for his quiet, sly ways, is a detective for the railroad, sent to investigate.

Murray Sinclair, an old friend of Smith's, is in charge of the railroad's wrecking crew. He's glad to see Smith, who shoots Leroy and Gabby and is saved when a bullet is deflected by a harmonica in his pocket, given him long ago by his sweetheart Marian, who is now Sinclair's wife.

It saddens Smith to find out that Sinclair might be in cahoots with Barney Rebstock, a rancher with a bad reputation. Rebstock has been hiding the remaining Barton brother, Blake, who is tracked down by Smith.

Whitey DuSang is a hired gun for Rebstock, who wants to see Smith dead. When the railroad's boss gives Sinclair an order, Sinclair rebels and is fired. Rebstock hires him to pull off a string of daring train holdups.

Smith forms a posse. Whitey kills a guard and betrays Rebstock, shooting him. Sinclair is wounded. Smith does away with Whitey but gives his old friend Sinclair a last chance. When he rides home, Sinclair finds his wife packing and strikes her, accusing his Marian of leaving him for Smith.

Smith shows up and Sinclair apologies for his actions. He seems sincere, but when Smith's back is turned, Sinclair pulls a hidden gun. Before he can fire, Sinclair falls over and dies. Smith leaves town, his work there done.


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