Three Mesquiteers & Other Trio Westerns
(Range Busters, Texas Rangers, Trail Blazers, Rough Riders)


Three Mesquiteers (Trio Westerns)

William Colt MacDonald was an author of cowboy yarns, and had even done some writing at Columbia Pictures in the early 1930s (and some of his stories were used as the base for Columbia's Tim McCoy westerns).  The first of his Three Mesquiteers novels, Law of the .45's, was published in 1933.  Mesquiteers were named after the mesquite plant that grows on ranchlands.

The Republic Studio’s Three Mesquiteers series consisted of 51 films and lasted through mid 1943 when the final entry, RIDERS OF THE RIO GRANDE, was released. During those 51 screen adventures, there were many cast changes with a dozen actors handling the lead roles in nine different Mesquiteer teams. Around the mid point of the series, the characters of Tucson Smith and Lullaby Joslin disappeared and were replaced by 'Rusty Joslin' and 'Rico Rinaldo'. But shortly thereafter, another team returned using the traditional Mesquiteer names.

The early Mesquiteers' yarns were a high priority to Republic, probably because they needed them to bring in some profits for the new studio. But Republic's priorities shifted to singing westerns due to the popularity of Autry and later, Roy Rogers.


Bob Livingston:  1904 - 1988

Bob Livingston found his niche playing cowboy heroes at Republic (primarily) and PRC (a few).  He also starred in several serials, THE VIGILANTES ARE COMING (Republic, 1936) and THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN (Republic, 1939).  Livingston also had the distinction of starring in Republic's first color film, THE BOLD CABALLERO (Republic, 1936).

By far his most remembered role was the original 'Stony Brooke' character in the Three Mesquiteers' films which were initiated in 1936 at Republic.  He left the 3M series to do some other Republic films, with John Wayne assuming the Brooke role in eight releases for the 1938-39 schedule.  But when STAGECOACH (1939) hit the screen, Wayne gained in popularity and moved on to better films.  And Livingston returned to the Mesquiteers as Wayne's replacement. 
There were 51 Three Mesquiteers yarns churned out by Republic from 1936-1943, and Livingston appeared in 29 (the next closest performer was Ray 'Crash' Corrigan with 24 appearances).

Overall, Livingston's screen career lasted about 25 years, and his total film credits number around 75, of which about 60 are starring or supporting roles at Republic Studios.  However, to fans of the B western, Bob Livingston will always be remembered as Stony Brooke of the Three Mesquiteers.

Ray 'Crash' Corrigan:  1902 – 1976

Ray Corrigan had been on the Hollywood scene since the early 1930s, working as a physical fitness instructor to some of the Hollywood celebrities.  A good looking guy with lots of muscles, he wound up at MGM as a muscular stand-in and double for Johnny Weissmuller of Tarzan fame, and in walk-ons and bit-parts in films such as MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY.  During these early days, he was Ray Bernard.  The name change to Ray Corrigan would occur during his first year at Republic Pictures.

In the mid 1930s, the muscular Corrigan landed roles in several films produced by the new Republic Pictures, including two cliffhangers --- a supporting role in THE VIGILANTES ARE COMING (Republic, 1936), and as the star of UNDERSEA KINGDOM (Republic, 1936).
Republic signed him to a Term Player Contract(s) which ran from May 25, 1936 through May 24, 1938, and he became a member of the new Three Mesquiteers series.
From 1936-1938, Corrigan appeared in the first 24 Mesquiteers films (Republic made a total of 51 Mesquiteers films from 1936-1943). 
Ray then started in the Range Busters which was clearly a lower budget copy of the Mesquiteers.  Big, muscular 'Crash' Corrigan was clearly the lead, and comic relief was in the hands of ventriloquist Max 'Alibi' Terhune (and his wise-cracking dummy Elmer).  Both Corrigan and Terhune were established western film heroes with names and faces that Saturday matinee movie crowds would know and recognize.
Monogram would distribute the Range Busters but not be directly involved in the productions.  The production deal gave Corrigan a substantial share of the film profits (in an interview years later, Ray said he received 50%).
Twenty-four films were released during 1940-1943, and Corrigan appeared in 20 of them. 


Range Busters / Texas Rangers (Other Trio Westerns):

Other studios created trio westerns to compete with the Three Mesquiteers:

  • Rough Riders (See below)
  • Range Busters (See below)
  • Trail Blazers (See below)
  • Texas Rangers (See below) 
========THE THREE MUSQUITEERS============= 

1.  Roarin' Lead (1936) - The Three Mesquiteers

Hackett (Hooper Atchley) is out to take over the Cattlemen's Association by bankrupting them. His men rustle the cattle forcing the payouts to the ranchers. The Three Mesquiteers arrive and soon learn that the coward Canary is one of the gang. Stony (Robert Livingston) has a plan that he hopes will get a confession from him.

2.  Three Mesquiteers in Ghost-Town Gold (1936)Robert Livingston:

The Three Mesquiteers (Stony – Robert Livingston, Tucon – Ray Corrigan, Lullaby – Max Terhune) try to recover the gold stolen by a gang in its effort to ruin the banker/mayor who ordered them to leave town.

3.  Three Mesquiteers in Gunsmoke Ranch (1937)Robert Livingston:

The Three Mesquiteers (Stony – Robert Livingston, Tucon – Ray Corrigan, Lullaby – Max Terhune) protect settlers against an evil politician trying to steal their land after a flood.

4.  Three Mesquiteers in Range Defenders (1937) – Robert Livingston, Ray Corrigan

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 (Robert Livingston) and his buddies to clear his name and bring Harvey and his henchmen to justice.


5.  The Three Mesquiteers  in the Riders of the Whistling Skull (1937) - Robert Livingston, Ray Corrigan

A lost city, a forbidden temple, an ancient curse, and the Three Mesquiteers make for one of the strangest westerns ever seen.  After Professor Marsh disappears whilst searching for the lost city of Lukachukai, the Three Mesquiteers lead an expedition to find him.


6.  The Trigger Trio (1937) – Three Mesquiteers

Ray Corrigan, Max Terhune, Ralph Byrd.  Directed by William Witney

Ralph Byrd (better known as Dick Tracy) stands in for injured Mesquiteer Livingston in this adventure.

Rancher Brent (Cornelius Keefe) has some infected cattle. He has the brands changed and then has them put on the Evans ranch, With the law requiring the entire herds to be destroyed, he gets Larry Smith (Ralph Byrd) to help him illegally drive his and the Evans' cattle across the state line. Lullaby (Max Terhune) learns of the scheme and tries to stop Larry


7.  Come on, Cowboys (1937) - 3 Mesquiteers (Robert Livingston, Ray Corrigan, Max Terhune)

Harris (Anne Bennett) and Rigby (Edward Peil Jr.) own a circus. 

Rigby is a counterfeiter and frames his partner. The Mesquiteers learn Rigby is the culprit and get a confession from one of his men only to lose the case when the man is murdered in jail.  The Mesquiteers try again and send Lullaby (Max Terhune) to try and win some of the fake bills in a card game.

8.  Gunsmoke Ranch (1937) - Robert Livingston, Ray Corrigan and Max Terhune (Three Mesquiteers)

Flagg (Ken Harlan) 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.

9.  The Purple Vigilantes (1938) - Three Mesquiteers (

Robert Livingston, Ray Corrigan and Max Terhune)

In the 14th film in this series, the lawless conditions in the town of Trail's End leads to the law-abiding citizen to organize a vigilante group (wearing purple hoods and robes)and clean the town up. Once accomplished, several unscrupulous members see an opportunity, add a few members, and begin their own reign of terror for profit, while framing Dave Ross, the original founder, as leader of the gang. The Three Mesquiteers (Stony Brooke, Tucson Smith and Lullaby Joslin) can clear him, but they are ambushed on the way to the trial.

10.     The Three Mesquiteers  in Frontier Horizon (1939) – John Wayne (Stony Burke), Ray Corrigan (Tucson Smith), Raymond Hatton (Lullaby), Jennifer Jones

"The Three Mesquiteers" help a group of area settlers whose land is threatened by crooked speculators.

When ranchers learn their land has been condemned for construction of a new dam, they decide to fight.
John Wayne, after nearly a decade of low budget series westerns, finally emerged from Poverty row films with the release of John Ford’s Stagecoach in February 1939.  Republic released John Wayne’s last Three Mesquiteers western, Frontier Horizon in 1939.  After this movie, Wayne never returned to the world of series westerns.

===============RANGE BUSTERS===================================  

1.  Range Busters  in Fugitive Valley (1941) – Ray Corrigan & John King

The Range Busters have a plan to get into the outlaw's hideout in Fugitive Valley.

The Range Busters go under cover and join a band of outlaws in order to stop them from terrorizing the Arizona countryside.


2.  Range Busters in Underground Rustlers (1941) – Ray Corrigan:

Gold stages are being held up in the far west at a time when the U.S. government needs bullion, just before the famed "Black Friday" attempt to corner the gold market. The government sends the Range Busters, Crash Corrigan (Ray Corrigan), Dusty King (John King) and Alibi Terhune (Max Terhune), to Gold Butte, an important bullion dispensing center, to put an end to the stage robberies.

3.  Range Busters in Saddle Mountain Roundup (1941) - Ray Corrigan

Someone is trying to kill Magpie Harper so he sends for the Range Busters. Crash and Dusty arrive to find him murdered. Then Alibi who was bringing the Range Busters' cattle drive money fails to show up. Dusty accidentally finds a secret mine tunnel that leads to Alibi whom he sets free. Returning they see the murderer who flees but Crash is nearby to chase after him.


4.  Range Busters in Texas to Bataan (1942) – John King:

In the 17th of the 24 films in Monogram's "Range Buster" series, Texas ranch owner Conroy (Steve Clark) returns from Washington with an order for horses to be shipped to the Philippines. The Range Busters, Dusty (John King), Davy (David Sharpe) and Alibi (Max Terhune), are selected to take the horses there but, before leaving, they capture three spies who are trying to steal the horses and also learn that the ranch cook, Cookie, is a Japanese spy, but he manages to escape.

5.  Range Busters in Trail Riders (1942) – John King:

In the 18th entry of Monogram's 24 "Range Buster" films, the bank of Gila Springs is robbed by Ace Alton (Kermit Maynard) and his gang, and Sheriff Frank Hammond (Kenne Duncan), son of Marshal Jim Hammond (Steve Clark), is killed. The Marshal sends for the Range Busters, Dusty King (John King), Davy Sharpe (David Sharpe) and Alibi Terhune (Max Terhune), to come and restore order to the town.

6.  Range Busters in Arizona Stage Coach (1942)  - Ray Corrigan & John King

The Range Busters are called to break up a notorious outlaw gang preying on a small, independent stage line.


7.  Range Busters  in Boot Hill Bandits (1942) -  Ray Corrigan & John King

The Range Busters find time between romancing young fillies to solve a series of Wells Fargo holdups


8.  Range Busters in Rock River Renegades (1942) –Ray Corrigan and John King:

Having trouble with outlaws, Marshal Graham (Kermit Maynard) sends for his friends the Range Busters. Newspaper editor Ross (Christine McIntyre), dissatisfied with Graham, forms a vigilante committee and puts Jim Dawson (Weldon Heyburn) in charge not knowing he is the leader of the outlaw gang. Dawson then has his men frame Crash (Ray Corrigan) and Dusty (John King) for robbery and murder and then has them set out to lynch the two.


9.  Range Busters  in Haunted Ranch (1943) – John King & Dave Sharpe

The Range Busters and the bad guys race to find hidden gold bullion at a ranch that is haunted by the ghost of Reno Red.

10.  Range Busters in Trail Riders (1942) -  John King, Dave Sharpe, Max Terhune:

In the 18th entry of Monogram's 24 "Range Buster" films, the bank of Gila Springs is robbed by Ace Alton and his gang, and Sheriff Frank Hammond, son of Marshal Jim Hammond, is killed. The Marshal sends for the Range Busters, Dusty King, Davy Sharpe and Alibi Terhune, to come and restore order to the town. Ed Cole, head of the local vigilantes, and secretly the head of the outlaws, promptly orders the trio out of town. They visit an old friend, Rancher Mike Rand and his daughter Mary. Mary's brother Jeff has unwittingly become a gang member, and carries out Cole's orders by taking a shot at Davy, but the latter makes him a prisoner during a subsequent fight .   Jeff confesses to Cole's involvement, and the Range Busters, with the help of town banker Harrison, set a trap for Cole and his outlaw vigilantes.


11.  Land of Hunted Men (1943) - The Range Busters -

(Ray “Crash” Corrigan, Denny Moore, Max Terhune)

The Range Busters arrive to see if they can find out who has been robbing the stage of the mine payrolls

==================TEXAS RANGERS===============================  

1.  Texas Rangers in Marked for Murder (1948) – Tex Ritter:

Rangers Dave and Panhandle arrive and are joined by LawyerTex to try and stop the range war between the ranchers and the sheep men. After they jail the ranchers for attacking the sheep men, they are lead away from town by a decoy as the real culprits head for town to kill the ranchers and blame the sheep men.

2. Texas Rangers in Brand of the Devil (1944)  Dave O’Brien:             

Jolley is the leader of the Devil's Brand gang of rustlers. When Molly Dawson sends for the Texas Rangers, Tex (Dave O’Brien), Jim (Jim Newill), and Panhandle arrive pretending not to know each other. But eventually their identities become known and they are captured by the gang.

3.  Spook Town (1944) - Dave O’Brien,  James Newill (The Texas Rangers)

Dry Gulch Trading Post owner Kurt Fabian (Robert Barron) advances money on mortgages to the local settlers to finance an irrigation program.  Three Texas Rangers, Tex Wyatt (Dave O'Brien), Jim Steele (James Newill) and Panhandle Perkins (Guy Wilkerson) transport the money in a strong box which they place in the Wells Fargo safe as agent Sam Benson (Dick Curtis) assures them that he is the only one who knows the safe combination.

4.  Guns of the Law (1944) -  Dave O'Brien and Jim Newill

Lillian Wilkins and her old Civil War Veteran Uncle Jed Wilkins own a ranch through which a pipeline will be laid. They are unaware of this but Dan Tyndall, Joe Hyslop and Tom Binns are aware of the possibilities for a quick profit and set out to prove through crooked-surveyor Sam Brisco that the land has been improperly surveyed and not rightfully the possession of the Wilkins. They go to family friend and attorney Kendall Lowther for advice and this is not a good move as Lowther is actually the brains behind the scheme to beat them out of their property. But Texas Rangers Tex Wyatt (Dave O’Brien) and Jim Steele (Jim Newill) show up to take a hand on the side of the Wilkins.

5.  Gangsters Frontier (1944) - Tex Ritter, Dave O'Brien - Tex put the Kern gang away once but they have returned with reinforcements and have take over the town of Red Rock capturing the townsmen and forcing them to work for them in the gold mines. Dave and Tex then organize the ranchers into the Territorial Rangers. After blowing up the mines to keep the gang from getting the gold, they are ready for the showdown between the two sides.  [Added]

================TRAIL BLAZERS & ROUGH RIDERS================== 

US government agents Ken Maynard and Hoot Gibson, aka "The Trail Blazers", make a deal with captured outlaw Duke Dillon (Jack La Rue) to catch crooked Indian agent John Hampton (Kenneth Harlan), who has been using his authority to steal from the local tribe. Dillon double-crosses the inept and lethargic heroes, making it difficult for them to carry out their mission.

2.  Arizona Bound (1941) - Buck Jones and Tim McCoy (Rough Riders)

Retired marshal Buck Roberts (Buck Jones) has left law enforcement and is enjoying life on his northern Arizona ranch when he receives a telegram from Marshal Bat Madison (Jay Wilsey) requesting his aid in stopping a rash of stagecoach robberies near villain invested Mesa City, and off he goes as a fast-paced Rough Riders (Jones, Tim McCoy, Raymond Hatton) adventure begins.

3. Forbidden Trail (1941) - Buck Jones and Tim McCoy   (Rough Riders)

Trapped in a burning cabin by ex-cons Fulton and Howard, Marshal Buck Roberts (Buck Jones) has his horse Silver drag him to safety. He then joins Marshal Tim McCall (Tim McCoy) and Marshal Sandy Hopkins (Raymond Hatton) as they go after Fulton, Howard, and their boss Cramer.


Click on Nero (below) for the software to create Movies on DVDs or Audio on CDs