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Prairie Pioneers

USA 1941
produced by
Republic
directed by Lester Orlebeck
starring Robert Livingston, Bob Steele, Rufe Davis, Esther Estrella, Robert Kellard, Guy D'Ennery, Davison Clark, Jack Ingram, Kenneth MacDonald, Lee Shumway, Mary MacLaren, Yakima Canutt, Jack Kirk, Silver Tip Baker, Wheaton Chambers, Leander De Cordova, Frank Ellis, Cactus Mack, Carleton Young
screenplay by Barry Shipman, based on an idea by Karl Brown and characters by William Colt MacDonald, music by Cy Feuer

Three Mesquiteers, Republic's Three Mesquiteers

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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1853: California has just split from Mexico and gone into the possession of the USA - and soon enough, settlers are heading West like nobody's business - which soon enough leads to tensions between the (American) settlers and the resident (Latino) landowners.

One of the trecks is led by the three Mesquiteers - Stony (Robert Livingston), Tucson (Bob Steele) and Lullaby (Rufe Davis) -, who are initially welcomed with open arms by Don Miguel (Guy D'Ennery) because Tucson is the best friend of his son Roberto (Robert Kellard) - but problems soon arise when Mexicans attack and burn down the treck and the blame is laid on no other than Roberto - and of the Mesquiteers only Tucson believes in his innocence and helps him escape from the law. Stony on the other hand thinks Roberto is guilty as the devil, but still agrees to deliver to him a message from his father without giving him away to the authorities ... but somehow he has been tricked and thanks to his help, Roberto is arrested, tried abnd convicted to death by a firing squad after all - and Tucson is more than a little disappointed in Stony, and he tries to clear his friend's name on his own.

Stony meanwhile has done some thinking and slowly comes to the conclusion that Roberto was indeed framed, so he and Lullaby pick up investigations as well.

Soon, the trails of both Tucson and Stony lead to Don Carlos Montoya (Davison Clark), a close friend of Don Miguel who actually only wants to get his hands on Miguel's land, and a certain Mr Fields (Kenneth MacDonald) and his hydraulic mining corporation, who has promised Don Carlos a huge amount of money if he could get Don Miguel off his land.

After the usual chases, shoot-outs and action, Tucson and Stony finally reconcile and fight side by side to free Roberto and bring the baddies to justice. To noone's real surprise, they succeed ...

 

A rather typical Republic B-Western of the 1940's, meaning it has a certain production line feel to it, but having its two leads going against each other - at least for a while - actually makes this film interesting ... it's just a shame that Robert Livingston hampers the movie by giving a very poor performance as the hero in the wrong who (temporarily) seems to be a bit of a bigot. This could have been Livingston's role of a lifetime, unfortunately he just doesn't get a hold of it and in his (supposedly) more interesting scenes seems to be oddly out of place.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD