Cell motility on extracellular-matrix (ECM) substrates depends on the regulated generation of force against the substrate through adhesion receptors known as integrins. Here we show that integrin-mediated traction forces can be selectively modulated by the tyrosine kinase Src. In Src-deficient fibroblasts, cell spreading on the ECM component vitronectin is inhibited, while the strengthening of linkages between integrin vitronectin receptors and the force-generating cytoskeleton in response to substrate rigidity is dramatically increased. In contrast, Src deficiency has no detectable effects on fibronectin-receptor function. Finally, truncated Src (lacking the kinase domain) co-localizes to focal-adhesion sites with alpha v but not with beta 1 integrins. These data are consistent with a selective, functional interaction between Src and the vitronectin receptor that acts at the integrin-cytoskeleton interface to regulate cell spreading and migration.