The Three Mesquiteers Wikipedia
The Three Mesquiteers is the umbrella title for a Republic Pictures series of 51 Western B-movies released between 1936 and 1943, including 8 films starring John Wayne. The name was a play on mesquite and The Three Musketeers, and each film featured a trio of stars. The series was based on a series of Western novels by William Colt MacDonald, which began with The Law of 45's in 1933.
The series blended the traditional Western period with more modern elements, which was not unknown with other B-Western films and serials. Towards the end of the series, during World War II, the trio of cowboys were opposing Nazis.
The Law of the 45's (1935, Normandy Pictures)Powdersmoke Range (1935, RKO Pictures) starring Harry Carey as Tucson Smith, Hoot Gibson as Stony Brooke, and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams as Lullaby Joslin.
The cast list varied but always focused on a trio of cowboys. The original (and most frequently recurring) trio of characters were:Stony Brooke
(Played by Bob Livingston in 29 films, John Wayne in 8 films, and by Tom Tyler in 13 films.)Tucson Smith
(Played by Ray Corrigan in 24 films, and by Bob Steele in 20 films.)Lullaby Joslin
(Played by Syd Saylor in 1 film, Max Terhune in 21 films, Rufe Davis in 14 films, and by Jimmie Dodd in 6 films.)
The other members of this trio over the entire series were:Ralph Byrd as Larry Smith (1 film, replacing Bob Livingston, injured during filming)Raymond Hatton as Rusty Joslin (9 films)Duncan Renaldo as Rico Rinaldo (7 films)Elmer as Elmer (Lullaby Joslin's (Max Terhune) Ventriloquest Dummy)Kirby Grant as 'Tex Reilly (1 film, Red River Range) (Pretended to be Stony Brooke while Stony Brooke was undercover)
Stars in supporting roles at various times included:Yakima CanuttHoot GibsonTom LondonRoy Rogers
Actress Lois Collier was sometimes called the Fourth Mesquiteer because seven of the movies featured her as the female lead.
The Three Mesquiteers series was extremely popular at the time of its release. The series was the only one of its kind to be specifically named and ranked in contemporary polls of the top western film stars. For example, from 1937 to the end of the series in 1943, The Motion Picture Herald consistently ranked the series in its top ten, reaching a peak of 5th place in 1938, when a pre-Stagecoach John Wayne was the series lead.
The success of the series led to many "trigger trio" imitators at other studios. The first was The Range Busters (1940–43) from Monogram Pictures which starred original Mesquiteer Ray "Crash" Corrigan as the character "Crash" Corrigan. Monogram also released The Rough Riders (1941–42), again poaching a Mesquiteer in the form of Raymond Hatton, and The Trail Blazers (1943–44). Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) produced two similar series, The Texas Rangers (1942–45) and The Frontier Marshals (1942).
Republic Pictures produced 51 films in The Three Mesquiteers series between 1936 and 1943: