The Three Mesquiteers

The Three Mesquiteers is the umbrella title for a Republic Pictures series of 51 Western B-movies released between 1936 and 1943, including eight films starring John Wayne. The name was a play on words, referring to mesquite, a plant common in the Western states, and The Three Musketeers. Each film featured a trio of stars, with the composition of the trio varying according to the individual movie. The series was based on a series of Western novels by William Colt MacDonald, which began with The Law of 45's in 1933.[1]

The Three Mesquiteers
Written byWilliam Colt MacDonald (based on novels by)
StarringBob Livingston
Ray Corrigan
Syd Saylor
Max Terhune
John Wayne
Ralph Byrd
Duncan Renaldo
Raymond Hatton
Tom Tyler
Bob Steele
Rufe Davis
Jimmie Dodd
Release date
September 22, 1936-May 21, 1943
CountryUnited States

The series blended the traditional Western period with more modern elements, which was not unknown with other B-Western films and serials. Toward the end of the series, during World War II, the trio of cowboys were opposing Nazis.

Previous Non-Republic Films

The Mesquiteers

The cast list varied but always focused on a trio of cowboys. The original (and most frequently recurring) trio of characters were:

The other members of this trio over the entire series were:

Stars in supporting roles at various times included:

Actress Lois Collier was sometimes called the Fourth Mesquiteer because seven of the movies featured her as the female lead.[2]


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.[3]


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).[3]


Republic Pictures produced 51 films in The Three Mesquiteers series between 1936 and 1943:

Year Title Stars
1936 1. The Three Mesquiteers Robert Livingston
(Stony Brooke)
Ray Corrigan
(Tucson Smith)
Syd Saylor
(Lullaby Joslin)
2. Ghost-Town Gold Max Terhune
(Lullaby Joslin)
3. Roarin' Lead
1937 4. Riders of the Whistling Skull
5. Hit the Saddle
6. Gunsmoke Ranch
7. Come on, Cowboys
8. Range Defenders
9. Heart of the Rockies
10. The Trigger Trio Ralph Byrd
(Larry Smith, Tucson's brother)
11. Wild Horse Rodeo Robert Livingston
(Stony Brooke)
1938 12. The Purple Vigilantes
13. Call the Mesquiteers
14. Outlaws of Sonora
15. Riders of the Black Hills
16. Heroes of the Hills
17. Pals of the Saddle John Wayne
(Stony Brooke)
18. Overland Stage Raiders
19. Santa Fe Stampede
20. Red River Range
1939 21. The Night Riders
22. Three Texas Steers
23. Wyoming Outlaw Raymond Hatton
(Rusty Joslin)
24. New Frontier
25. The Kansas Terrors Robert Livingston
(Stony Brooke)
Duncan Renaldo
(Rico Renaldo)
26. Cowboys from Texas
1940 27. Heroes of the Saddle
28. Pioneers of the West
29. Covered Wagon Days
30. Rocky Mountain Rangers
31. Oklahoma Renegades
32. Under Texas Skies Bob Steele
(Tucson Smith)
Rufe Davis
(Lullaby Joslin)
33. The Trail Blazers
34. Lone Star Raiders
1941 35. Prairie Pioneers
36. Pals of the Pecos
37. Saddlemates
38. Gangs of Sonora
39. Outlaws of Cherokee Trail Tom Tyler
(Stony Brooke)
40. Gauchos of El Dorado
41. West of Cimarron
1942 42. Code of the Outlaw
43. Raiders of the Range
44. Westward Ho
45. The Phantom Plainsmen
46. Shadows on the Sage Jimmie Dodd
(Lullaby Joslin)
47. Valley of Hunted Men
1943 48. Thundering Trails
49. The Blocked Trail
50. Santa Fe Scouts
51. Riders of the Rio Grande


  1. B-Westerns, retrieved 14 November 2007
  2. Magers, Boyd; Fitzgerald, Michael G. (2004). Westerns Women: Interviews with 50 Leading Ladies of Movie and Television. McFarland & Co. Inc. pp. 58–62. ISBN 9780786420285. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  3. B-Westerns, retrieved 14 November 2007
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