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THREE TEXAS STEERS (director: George Sherman; screenwriters: Betty Burbridge/Stanley Roberts; cinematographer: Ernest Miller; editor: Tony Martinelli; music: William Lava; cast: John Wayne (Stony Brooke), Ray Corrigan (Tucson Smith), Max Terhune (Lullaby Joslin), Carole Landis (Nancy Evans), Ralph Graves (George Ward), Roscoe Ates (Sheriff Brown), Billy Curtis (Hercules, the Midget), Collette Lyons (Lillian), John Merton (Mike Abbott); Runtime: 59; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William Berke; Republic; 1939)
“This might be the Three Mesquiteers’ funniest film but it’s far from their best.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Below average B-Western from the Three Mesquiteers series. The undiscovered John Wayne was borrowed by John Ford to make Stagecoach in the middle of filming, and when that pic was completed returned to finish this film. ThreeTexas Steers came out before Stagecoach, the film that paved the way for Wayne’s stardom. It’s set in the contemporary west. George Sherman directs from a script by Betty Burbridge and Stanley Roberts.

George Ward (Ralph Graves) is the shady business manager of circus owner Nancy Evans (Carole Landis). He covets the ranch in Mesquite that Nancy’s grandfather left her, that she never saw, and tries to use a local resident there, Mike Abbott, as a front man in buying the ranch dirt cheap. George hopes to make a fortune by building a dam on the site. When he can’t get Nancy to sell the run-down ranch, baddie George causes a series of circus accidents which bankrupts the show. Instead of selling the ranch, Nancy takes the five remaining circus performers back to the ranch to live. George arranges for the circus caravan to be bushwhacked on the trail but the Three Mesquiteers, Stony Brooke (John Wayne), Tucson Smith (Ray Corrigan), Lullaby Joslin (Max Terhune), rescue her. After a series of misunderstandings Nancy doesn’t believe George is a bad guy and thinks her neighbors, the Three Mesquiteers, are either crazy or after her ranch. Things get straightened out when the boys enter her dancing circus horse Rajah in a fair race. In the comical conclusion, Lullaby is the harness rider that wins the Big Race and gets enough money to save the circus.

The only mystery remaining is the title. This might be the Three Mesquiteers’ funniest film but it’s far from their best.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”