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Gunsmoke Ranch (1937)

Approved | | Western | 5 May 1937 (USA)
Flagg is relocating flood victims to Gunsmoke Ranch. The Three Mesquiteers know Flagg to be a crook and try to warn them. They ignore the warning and improve the land only to find that it has been condemned for a new dam.



(screenplay), (story) | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Phineas T. Flagg
Jean Carmen ...
Marion Warren (as Julia Thayer)
Jimmy Warren
Ed 'Oscar' Platt ...
Oscar (as Oscar and Elmer)
Lou Fulton ...
Elmer Twiddlebaum (as Oscar and Elmer)
Burr Caruth ...
Judge Jonathan Warren
Allen Connor ...
Henchman Reggie Allen
Henchman Spider
Joe Larkin (as Horace Carpenter)
Jane Keckley ...
Mathilda Larkin
Robert Walker ...
Seth Williams (as Bob Walker)
Cowhand Jed


During the Great Depression, when natural catastrophes including floods destroy the homes of thousands,.crooked, con man Phineas Flagg buys up all the ranches in Arizona's Gunsmoke Valley at the bargain price of $2 per acre. The displaced families are only too happy to buy what Flagg misrepresents as 40 acres of prime farmland per family at the bargain price of $50 an acre. What he doesn't tell the migrants is that the entire area has been condemned under the law of eminent domain and will soon be flooded for the construction of a new dam. The group's leader, Judge Warren, initially disregards the Mesquiteers' warnings that they're being conned,, but Stony' romances his beautiful granddaughter Marion,, and the settlers accept the Mesquiteers' help,, but is it too late? Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


BRAND NEW THRILLS WITH YOUR CAVALIERS OF THE CACTUS! (original poster-all caps) See more »




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 May 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Galopando para a Justiça  »

Box Office


$35,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »


Marion Warren: I never would gave thought of you as a heartthrob, Stony. Tuscon looks more the type.
Stony Brooke: Tucson?
Marion Warren: Yes, he's so... tall and handsome...
Stony Brooke: Yes, but he's getting very conceited lately. You see, we just taught him to read and write.
See more »


Followed by Outlaws of Cherokee Trail (1941) See more »


Red River Valley
(uncredited) (aka "Cowboy Love Song," "Bright Sherman Valley," "Bright Laurel Valley," and "Bright Little Valley"
North American cowboy song (1870?)
[Instrumental version played at community dance]
See more »

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User Reviews

Routine B western mainly for fans of The Three Mesquiteers
3 March 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

Republic's Three Mesquiteers series (51 in all) was popular in its day and remains one of the most memorable of them all. Based on characters created by William Colt MacDonald who in turn was inspired by the original Three Musketeers from the classic 19th century novel by Alexandre Dumas, the idea is: One for all and all for one. The cowboy trio usually consisted of a lover, a scrapper, and a jokester. Robert Livinston starred in the series from the beginning as the dashing man on the white horse Stony Brooke. He appeared in 39 of the 51 features. He was spelled for awhile by none other than John Wayne himself, before the Duke made a splash with "Stagecoach." Ray "Crash" Corrigan was Tucson Smith from the beginning of the series in 1936. He ultimately portrayed the "middle cowboy" in 24 outings. In the first of the Three Mesquiteers films, Syd Saylor played Lullaby Joslin. After only one film, Saylor was replaced by Max Terhune, who had an unusual talent for a comical sidekick. He was a ventriloquist. Elmer the dummy became somewhat of a 4th Mesquiteer, or was Terhune the dummy?...never mind. This trio stayed together for fourteen movies (1936-1938). "Gunsmoke Ranch" was their fifth oater. These Three Mesquiteers are the ones most fans remember best.

As with many Hollywood films from the days of the Great Depression, Roosevelt's New Deal is promoted. Keeping it as apolitical as possible, no mention is made of FDR or any of his programs. Flood control and with it cheap electricity was one of the main planks in Roosevelt's restructuring of the American economy. A devastating flood forces farmers to pull up steaks and head for Gunsmoke Valley, Arizona, where they can start anew on land each bought from the unscrupulous Realtor and land developer Phineas T. Flagg (even the name sounds lowdown and mean), played with verve by Kenneth Harlan. Naturally one of the farmers has a beautiful daughter, Marion (Jean Carmen). It doesn't take Stony long to start drooling and howling at the moon. Tucson and Lullaby do their best to thwart their saddle pal's efforts to win the damsel's hand. The farmers discover that the land has been condemned so the government can flood it when a dam is built. To keep the farmers from being swindled out of their land, the Three Mesquiteers take charge. There lies the rest of the movie.

There's usually plenty of action in any Republic shoot-'em-up. This one is no exception, except most of the action comes with a big shootout near the end with lots of dare devil stunts. Yakima Canutt is on hand to make sure all the tricks of the trade are utilized to make the action exciting and realistic. Canutt even plays one of the henchmen. He's the one who throws the first egg during the big street brawl.

By this time, the singing cowboy craze was taking off. A popular radio singer and recording artist named Gene Autry was beginning to change the direction of B westerns by always performing many of his songs, or introducing new ones, in his films. To roll with the flow Stony attempts to sing a ballad called "When the Campfire is Low on the Prairie." Needless to say, Gene didn't have a thing to worry about. Fans were quick to throw water on the campfire. Not until Roy Rogers (and to some extent Tex Ritter) began plying his trade did Gene have any serious rival. One song that Gene sang early in his career, "That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine," is used briefly in the film during the social gathering just before Stony sings. The old standard "When You and I Were Young, Maggie" is a sing-a-long near the beginning of the flick.

Lullaby and his dummy Elmer are satisfactory in the humor department but a couple of clowns billed as Oscar and Elmer are lame by today's standards and that's being kind. Elmer's character is now politically incorrect. Audiences who saw this when it was first released probably found Oscar and Elmer hilarious. Several comedians in those days used stuttering as a gimmick to get laughs. Porky Pig is a classic example of utilizing stuttering to provoke laughter. Even as late as 1992 Austin Pendleton cracked up viewers with his stuttering in "My Cousin Vinny."

There should be more action and less talk and romance in "Gunsmoke Ranch," but it's still worthwhile for B western fans. Those who enjoy the Three Mesquiteers should find this entry acceptable, though not up to par for the series.

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