OVERLAND STAGE RAIDERS
(director: George Sherman; screenwriters: from the short story by Bernard McConville/William Colt MacDonald; cinematographer: William Nobles; editor: Tony Martinelli; cast: John Wayne (Stony Brooke), Ray Corrigan (Tucson Smith), Max Terhune (Lullaby Joslin), Louise Brooks (Beth Hoyt), Anthony Marsh (Ned Hoyt), Henry Otho (Sheriff Mason), Charles “Slim” Whitaker (Hawkins), Yakima Canutt (Bus Driver), Ralph Bowman (Bob Whitney), Frank LaRue (Hank Milton), Gordon Hart (Mullins), Arch Hall Sr. (Joe Waddell), George Sherwood (Clanton), Roy James (Dave Harmon); Runtime: 54; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William Berke; Republic; 1938)
“This Mesquiteer western looks like all the others except for the airplanes.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This was Louise Brooks’ final film; she was the star of G.W. Pabst’s masterpiece Pandora’s Box. She took the part in this B western only because she needed the dough. It was John Wayne’s second turn as a Mesquiteer. Republic Pictures made 51 “Three Mesquiteers” westerns from 1936 to 1943, as different trios appeared the series nevertheless retained their usual chases, gun duels and fistfights. This Mesquiteer western looks like all the others except for the airplanes. It’s directed by George Sherman and written by William Colt; it’s based on the short story by Bernard McConville.
The Oro Grande “Geyhound” bus gets held up of $25,000 in gold shipment by cowboys on horse in this contemporary western. The “Three Mesquiteers”– Stony Brooke (John Wayne), Tucson Smith (Ray Corrigan) and Lullaby Joslin (Max Terhune) — prevent another robbery of the stage and convince the gold mine owner Dave Harmon to ship by airplane. The Mesquiteers become air express partners with newcomers Ned Hoyt (Anthony Marsh) and his lovely sis Beth Hoyt (Louise Brooks), and to get a better plane they get the ranchers to sell their cattle and invest in the airline. Crooked bus operator Mullins (Gordon Hart) hijacks the cattle train and the Mesquiteers come to the rescue. The new plane arrives and Bob Whitney is made co-pilot. This angers Joe Waddell (Arch Hall Sr.) who wanted the job, and he goes to work for Mullins to sabotage the operation while working ground control at the airport.
The highlight scene has two hijackers, working for Mullins, take over Ned’s plane and force the four passengers to parachute out. After killing the co-pilot, the hijackers take over the plane with the $100,000 gold shipment aboard. It’s up to the Mesquiteers to save the day.
REVIEWED ON 3/5/2006 GRADE: C+