The interferon-induced antiviral state is mediated by interferon-stimulated genes that are upregulated in concert after stimulation by type I interferons. Because so many viruses encode strategies to inactivate the interferon-inducible double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-dependent protein kinase PKR, this protein is likely to be a major player in antiviral defense. Here we demonstrate the increased susceptibility of PKR-/- animals to vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) by the intranasal route, but also demonstrate that the protective effects of PKR are mouse strain dependent. We have found the difference between wild-type-BALB/c and 129SvEv animals to be on the order of 5 logs, with high levels of virus present in the lungs of BALB/c but not 129SvEv animals. To evaluate the sensitivity of PKR-/- mice to VSV clearly, the PKR mutation was bred onto the resistant 129SvEv background. The increased sensitivity of PKR-/- mice, compared to PKR+/+ strain-matched controls, is on the order of 10-fold as measured by median lethal dose (LD50). PKR-/- 129 mice support VSV replication in the lung unlike controls. While this result clearly demonstrates an important role for PKR in protection against VSV infection of the lung, it also underlines the importance of other host factors in containing a viral infection.