West of Cimarron
directed by Lester Orlebeck
starring Bob Steele, Tom Tyler, Rufe Davis, Lois Collier, James Bush, Guy Usher, Hugh Prosser, Cordell Hickman, Roy Barcroft, Budd Buster, Mickey Rentschler, Cactus Mack, Bud Geary, Stanley Blystone, James Gillette, John James, Nick Stewart
screenplay by Albert DeMond, Don Ryan, based on characters created by William Colt MacDonald, music by Cy Feuer
Three Mesquiteers, Republic's Three Mesquiteers
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Having survived the Civil War and hoping for long-lasting peace, the
Three Mesquiteers - Tucson Smith (Bob Steele), Stony Brooke (Tom Tyler)
and Lullaby Joslin (Rufe Davis) arrive in Texas, to realize that it seems
not everywhere the North and the South have buried the hatchets, as
certain officers within the Northern army led by Colonel Conway's (Guy
Usher) civil aide Bentley (Hugh Prosser) and Captain Hawks (Roy Barcroft)
have made it their source of revenue to tax those bloody Southerners to
the bone and shoot those who cannot pay - all without the knowledge of
Conway who thinks those opposing the Northerners, called the bushwhakers
and led by Ken Morgan (James Bush) and his father (Budd Buster) are
insurgents who have to be whiped out.
The Mesquiteers, consisting of a Northerner - Stony - and two
Southerners - Tucson and Lullaby - refuse to take sides in this,
especially since Ken Morgan once was Tucson's best friend, and try to get
to the bottom of it all ... and soon enough they have convinced Colonel
Conway to at least talk to the Morgans before taking retaliatory measures
- which is what Bentley cannot have, so he has the Colonel shot by his own
orderly (Bud Geary) and is even able to blame it on Ken Morgan.
The Three Mesquiteers, ignorant to the fact that Bentley is actually
the villain of the piece, agree to bring Ken Morgan in for questioning ...
and only too late they realize that it is a trap and all of a sudden,
Stony and Tucson are incarcerated with Ken Morgan and sentenced to a
necktie party. Fortunately though, nobody thought Lullaby would be
important enough for incarceration, and thus he manages to smuggle guns
hidden in watermelons into their prison cell while in black face (a scene
that would be seen terribly politically incorrect by today's standards but
is quite amusing in the film) and convinces Doris (Lois Collier), the
daughter of dead Colonel Conway, to bring in reinforcements to save the
Mesquiteers and Ken Morgan. It all ends in a big shoot-out between Bentley
and his soldiers on one side and the Mesquiteers and the approaching army
on the other, a shoot-out that also features quite some explosions, and at
the end of which Bentley and his men get their just desserts.
And ultimately, the North - represented by Doris Conway - and the South
- Ken Morgan - marry to grant everlasting peace. Sweet.
One of the more interesting films of the Three Mesquiteers-series,
as it - differing from other films treating the Civil War and its
immediate aftermath - refuses to take side and instead tells an
interesting story. That's of course not to say that West of Cimarron
is an intellectual masterpiece or a political commentary, it's still a
B-Western focussing more on typical Western action - massive horseriding,
many shoot-outs and fist fights - than anything else. It's just nice to
see that some thought was invested into the script too.