The Purple Vigilantes

The Purple Vigilantes is a 1938 American Western film directed by George Sherman and starring Robert Livingston, Ray Corrigan, and Max Terhune. Written by Betty Burbridge and Oliver Drake, the film is about a rancher who organizes other ranchers to form a vigilante group in order to rid their town of outlaws. After the outlaws are defeated, some of the men, posing as the vigilant group, go on a crime spree. The Purple Vigilantes is the 12th entry in the Three Mesquiteers series of B-movies produced by Republic Pictures.[1] The film was released in the United Kingdom as Purple Riders because at that time the word "vigilante" was unknown in Britain.[2]

The Purple Vigilantes
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGeorge Sherman
Produced bySol C. Siegel
Written byWilliam Colt MacDonald
Screenplay by
Music byAlberto Colombo
CinematographyErnest Miller
Edited byLester Orlebeck
Distributed byRepublic Pictures
Release date
  • January 24, 1938 (1938-01-24)
Running time
58 minutes
CountryUnited States

John Denvir, in his book, Legal Reelism: Movies as Legal Texts, compared the hooded-and-robed vigilantes in the film to the Ku Klux Klan. He cited The Purple Vigilantes as being "the series western most clearly inspired by the Klan", noting that the film was "treating its hooded terrorist organization as originally serving a legitimate purpose but corrupted over time."[3]



  1. "The Three Mesquiteers Republic Pictures". Retrieved August 29, 2011.
  2. Hardy, Phil (1997). The BFI Companion to Crime. A&C Black. p. 340. ISBN 9780304332151. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  3. Denvir, John (1996). Legal Reelism: Movies as Legal Texts. University of Illinois Press. p. 68. ISBN 9780252065354. Retrieved October 10, 2017.

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