(director/writer: Ray Taylor; screenwriter: story by Charles R. Condon/Jack Natteford/based on the book by William Colt MacDonald; cinematographer: William Nobles; editor: William Thomson; music: Harry Grey; cast: Robert Livingston (Stony Brooke), Ray Corrigan (Tuscon Smith), Syd Saylor (Lullaby Joslin), Gene Marvey(Bob Bryant), Kay Hughes (Mary Bryant), J.P. McGowan(Brack Canfield), Al Bridge (Olin Canfield), John Merton (Bull), Frank Yaconelli (Pete), Nena Quartaro (Rosita), Allen Conner (Milt, missing leg), Duke York (Chuck, missing arm); Runtime: 53; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Nat Levine; Mill Creek Entertainment; 1936)

It does justice to the B-western genre.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Ray Taylor (“Law and Order”/”The Daltons Ride Again”/”The Vigilantes Return”) directs the initial Three Mesquiteers serial that led to 53 films in the long-running series that ended in 1943. It’s based on the book by William Colt MacDonald and on Charles R. Condon’s story and Jack Natteford’s screenplay. It does justice to the B-western genre.

At the end of WW I, in 1919, a group of disabled vets are discharged from a Chicago VA hospital and through the Homestead Act are granted farming land in New Mexico’s San Juan Basin. Most of the vets suffer from being gassed and the doctors tell them they can use the fresh air. Bob Bryant (Gene Marvey) travels there with his pretty sister Mary (Kay Hughes), the others in the large group include wannabe cowboy Lullaby (Syd Saylor), a vet with a missing leg (Allen Conner), a vet with a missing arm (Duke York) and Italian-American Pete (Frank Yaconelli). In San Juan Basin the homesteaders are met with hostility and threats by wealthy rancher brothers Olin and Brack Canfield (Al Bridge & J.P. McGowan) and their foreman Bull ( John Merton), who are not vets. Carefree cowpuncher drifters Tuscon Smith (Ray Corrigan) and Stony Brooke (Robert Livingston) side with the homesteaders and bond with their fellow vets. The group must survive a landslide caused by the evil land-grabber gang, the burning of a ranch by the gang, the death of a veteran with bad lungs who is tied to a bucking horse, the absence of a sheriff to get law and order and a final shoot-out in town between the good guys and the bad guys, where the vets lob grenades and avenge the death of their GI pal.