Stony's brother George has been accused of murder and the Mesquiteers have returned to prove his innocence. But they find that Harvey rules the town along with his stooge Sheriff Gray and ... See full summary »
Stony's brother George has been accused of murder and the Mesquiteers have returned to prove his innocence. But they find that Harvey rules the town along with his stooge Sheriff Gray and that George won't get a fair trial. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Don't you know he could shoot the buttons off your shirt?"
From Republic Pictures, "Range Defenders" is a Three Mesquiteers Western that teams up Robert Livingston, Ray Corrigan and Max Terhune. When George Brooke (Thomas Carr) is framed for murder by town boss John Harvey (Harry Woods), it's up to his brother Stony (Livingston) and his buddies to clear his name and bring Harvey and his henchmen to justice. Though fairly formulaic, the film has a few unique moments to keep it interesting, along with the romantic angle provided by female lead Sylvia Ashton (Eleanor Stewart) and Stony.
The good guys plan to challenge Harvey's grip on Green Valley by having Tucson Smith (Corrigan) run for sheriff against Dan Gray (Earl Hodgins). Gray's in league with Harvey, so the boys will have to work fast to prevent George from being railroaded into a noose. Tucson and Lullaby (Terhune) round up the cattle ranchers to gain their support, while Harvey's henchmen, in a burst of civic pride, vote early and often.
Max Terhune provides the comic relief for the Mesquiteers; he does a clever ventriloquist routine with a dummy that puts crooked sheriff Gray on the defensive. That's in between trying to dodge a charging ram on the Ashton ranch.
Pay attention during the scene when Harvey locks Sylvia in a back room of his office when the action starts to break. To escape from a window about three or four feet above her head, she climbs up on a table after breaking the window with a chair. However when she lands in the street standing erect, her head is above the lower window ledge!
In true 'B' Western fashion, the good guys wear white and the bad guys wear black. That's particularly relevant when George breaks out of jail and runs into the bad guys wearing light colored outfits, thereby being captured once again. Town boss Harvey must have had a dress code for his bad boys, they all wear exactly the same thing, including the light colored band around their black hats.
You won't see this very often, but near the end of the story, Tucson uses a stick of dynamite to stop Harvey on horseback in his tracks as he attempts a getaway. Tucson could shoot the buttons off your shirt, and he proved just as accurate with TNT.
Republic Studios made quite a few Three Mesquiteers adventures, with a whole host of cowboy stars, including Bob Steele, Tim McCoy, Tom Tyler, Ray Hatton, and believe it or not, even John Wayne following his Lone Star film days. Livingston, Corrigan and Terhune seem to have appeared in most of them as a trio, though they did trade off with others as necessary. "Range Defenders" has a unique distinction in that it's title pretty much accurately describes the story, which wasn't always the case with Westerns of the era. It breezes by pretty quickly in just under an hour, and doesn't wear out it's welcome even if it uses a tried and true formula.
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