AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Santa Fe Scouts
Director: Howard Bretherton (Dir)
Release Date:   16 Apr 1943
Production Date:   2 Feb--10 Feb 1943
Duration (in mins):   55-56
Duration (in feet):   4,978
Duration (in reels):   6
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Cast:   Bob Steele (Tucson Smith)  
    Tom Tyler (Stony Brooke)  
    Jimmie Dodd (Lullaby Joslin)  
    Lois Collier (Claire Robbins)  
    John James (Tim Clay, Jr.)  
    Elizabeth Valentine (Minerva "Nervy" Clay)  
    Tom Chatterton (Neil Morgan)  
    Tom London (Billy Dawson)  
    Budd Buster (Wid Leighton)  
    Jack Ingram (Frank Howard)  
    Kermit Maynard (Ben Henderson)  
    Rex Lease (Tom Howard)  
    Ed Cassidy (Sheriff)  
    Merlyn Nelson (Pete, the stage driver)  
    Curley Dresden (Red Hennessy)  
    Al Taylor (Curt)  
    Reed Howes (Brit)  
    Ken Duncan (Jay)  
    Mauritz Hugo (Passenger)  
    Bud Geary (Cowboy Bill)  
    Eddie Cobb    

Summary: The Three Mesquiteers, Stony Brooke, Tucson Smith and Lullaby Joslin, have tired of defending Tim Clay, Jr., a good-hearted but mischievous young cowboy. After helping him in his latest fight, they chastise him and declare their happiness that Tim's mother Minerva "Nervy" Clay, a local rancher, has given him her other ranch in Santa Fe as a birthday present. Tim, however, informs them that Nervy has decided he is too immature to handle the ranch, even though he has become engaged to Claire Robbins. At Nervy's nearby ranch, three men harass her and though Tim tries to defend her, only the Mesquiteers can capture them. The Mesquiteers, however, tell Nervy that Tim handled the men by himself, knowing she will award him with the Santa Fe ranch, which she soon does. A few weeks later, after Tim has left for Santa Fe, Nervy surprises the Mesquiteers by asking them to bring Tim a herd of cattle. The Mesquiteers agree, and when theys reach the Clay ranch watering hole, they find that Billy Dawson, Wid Lighton and Tom Howard are illegally charging visitors a fee to water their herds. The angry Mesquiteers suspect Tim is behind the scheme and start a fight, but when Tim and Claire arrive, Tim helps the Mesquiteers defeat the thugs and reveals that he had no knowledge of the water fee. Later, Dawson and Leighton visit their boss, the crooked judge Neil Morgan, to inform him that Tim has come to take control of his mother's ranch. After Morgan reminds them that, according to the new squatters' rights law, if they live on the range for two more weeks they will have a legal right to the land, they assume they can easily convince Tim to allow the men to stay. When Tim, however, confounds them by refusing to let them stay, Dawson and Leighton attack him, and Claire, fearing they will kill her fiancĂ©, shoots Leighton. Dawson pronounces the man dead and convinces Tim that Claire will be jailed for murder unless he allows Dawson to stay at the watering hole in exchange for his silence. After Dawson carries Leighton from the office, Leighton sits up, unharmed. Dawson brings Leighton and Howard to an abandoned mine for the required week, then returns to the watering hole. Meanwhile, the Mesquiteers prepare to leave town, but when they see Dawson still charging a rancher at the watering hole, they run him out and return the money to the rancher. Back at Tim's house, Tim criticizes their actions just as the sheriff arrives and arrests the Mesquiteers for stealing Dawson's money. On the way to the jail, they escape but are promptly captured by Leighton and Howard at their nearby hiding place. When Leighton leaves, the Mesquiteers trick Howard and escape. They go to Morgan's, where they hear the judge tell Leighton that Dawson needs only one more day to gain ownership of the Clay ranch. Tucson and Stony chase down Nervy and Claire, who are on a stage to the next town, and inform them about the squatters' rights issue, while Lullaby chases after Leighton. Tucson, Stony and the women return to kick Dawson out, but Howard has blocked the road, forcing the Mesquiteers to battle the barricaders. As the fight rages, Tim finds his mother and confesses the truth about Leighton's death. Just then, however, Leighton rides by, and Tim captures him before joining the Mesquiteers. Together, the group defeats Howard's men and brings the villains to justice. A few days later, after Tim and Claire have married and Nervy has decided to stay on at the Clay ranch, the Mesquiteers leave, satisfied that order has been restored. 

Production Company: Republic Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Republic Pictures Corp.  
Director: Howard Bretherton (Dir)
  Kenneth Holmes (Asst dir)
Producer: Louis Gray (Assoc prod)
Writer: Morton Grant (Orig scr)
  Betty Burbridge (Orig scr)
Photography: Reggie Lanning (Photog)
Art Direction: Russell Kimball (Art dir)
Film Editor: Charles Craft (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Charles Thompson (Set dec)
Music: Mort Glickman (Mus score)
Country: United States
Series: Three Mesquiteers

Source Text: Based on characters created by William Colt MacDonald.
Authors: William Colt MacDonald

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Republic Pictures Corp. 7/4/1943 dd/mm/yyyy LP12007 Yes

PCA NO: 9176
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Western
 
Subjects (Major): Extortion
  False accusations
  Land rights
  Mothers and sons
  New Mexico
  Ruses
  Squatters
 
Subjects (Minor): Arrests
  Escapes
  Gunfights
  Lawyers
  Marriage
  Mines
  Ranches
  Sheriffs
  Stagecoaches
  Telegrams
  Water

Note: The working title of this film was Santa Fe Scout . Modern sources add the following actors to the cast: Yakima Canutt, Jack Kirk and Carl Sepulveda. For additional information on the series, please consult the Series Index and the entry for The Three Mesquiteers in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.4617. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   3 Jul 1943.   
Daily Variety   26 Mar 43   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Jan 43   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Feb 43   p. 2, 7
Hollywood Reporter   26 Mar 43   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald   15 May 1943.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   24 Apr 43   p. 1276.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   15 May 43   p. 1314.
Variety   30 Jun 43   p. 20.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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