AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Shadows on the Sage
Alternate Title: Shadow on the Sage
Director: Les Orlebeck (Dir)
Release Date:   24 Aug 1942
Production Date:   began 7 Jul 1942
Duration (in mins):   55-56
Duration (in feet):   4,974
Duration (in reels):   6
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Cast:   Bob Steele ("Tucson" Smith/[Curly])  
    Tom Tyler ("Stony" Brooke)  
    Jimmie Dodd ("Lullaby" Joslin)  
    Cheryl Walker (Doris Jackson)  
    Harry Holman (Lippy)  
    Bryant Washburn (John Carson)  
    Griff Barnett (Steve Jackson)  
    Freddie Mercer (Johnny Jackson)  
    Tom London (Franklin)  
    Yakima Canutt (Red Harvey)  
    Eddie Dew (Young deputy)  
    Burr Caruth (Doc Selby)  
    Fred Burns (Sheriff)  
    Johnnie Morris (Small man)  
    Frank Brownlee (Johnson)  
    Bill Nestell (Cherokee Bill)  
    Jack Rockwell (Foreman)  
    Rex Lease (Deputy)  
    Betty Farrington    

Summary: In Holbrook County, Colorado, bandit Curly leads his men on a series of robberies of the Jackson mining company, during which four successive sheriffs are killed. When no one else wants the job, old-timer Lippy succeeds in getting himself appointed as sheriff, much to the delight of young Johnny Jackson, who worships him. Less pleased are Johnny's father Steve and older sister Doris, but when Lippy assures him that he has sent for his friend, "Tucson" Smith, their fears are quieted. Lippy gets one shipment of Jackson's gold past Curly's gang, which is secretly led by banker John Carson, who has engineered the robberies in order to gain control of the mine. When the gang subsequently attacks the stage on which Lippy and Jackson are carrying the money back to town, they are routed by the arrival of Tucson and his compatriots, "Stony" Brooke and "Lullaby" Joslin, but Lippy is wounded in the arm. Jackson thanks Tucson, Stony and Lullaby, who are known as The Three Mesquiteers, then is escorted to town by Stony and Lullaby while Tucson tracks the gang. When Tucson reaches the hideout, he is captured by Carson and the men, who are amazed by his resemblance to Curly. Carson orders Curly to take Tucson's place and tells his henchmen to keep Tucson prisoner. Curly then joins Stony and Lullaby at the Jackson ranch, where he is barely able to keep up his impersonation of Tucson, but Johnny is delighted to have the Mesquiteers for company. Later that night, Curly is stealing money from Steve's safe when Johnny enters the room and sees the bandit struggling with his father. Steve is shot during the fight and Curly escapes. Stony and Lullaby are greatly upset when Johnny, believing that Curly is Tucson, claims that Tucson is responsible for Steve's death, but they can do nothing. Lippy is forced to step down as sheriff and vows to track down Tucson. While Lippy looks for Tucson, the angry townspeople try to lynch Stony and Lullaby, but the two Mesquiteers escape and go in search of their friend. Carson goes to the gang's hideout, to which Curly has returned, and orders the men to let the posse chasing the Mesquiteers find Tucson. Just then, Lippy reaches the hideout, but he also is captured. The gang is about to throw Lippy and Tucson off a cliff when Stony and Lullaby find them and help them escape. After retrieving the money, Stony sends Lippy and Curly to Doris before she signs the ranch over to Carson, then chases the rest of the gang with Lullaby and Tucson. At the ranch, Doris and Johnny refuse to believe that Curly is not Tucson until he escapes and is chased by the Mesquiteers, who have rounded up the other bandits. Curly is killed when the wagon he is driving overturns, and later, the Mesquiteers wave goodbye to Doris and Johnny as they leave for other adventures. 

Production Company: Republic Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Republic Pictures Corp.  
Director: Les Orlebeck (Dir)
  George Blair (Asst dir)
Producer: Louis Gray (Assoc prod)
Writer: J. Benton Cheney (Orig scr)
Photography: Edgar Lyons (Photog)
Art Direction: Russell Kimball (Art dir)
Film Editor: William [P.] Thompson (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Otto Siegel (Int dec)
Music: Mort Glickman (Mus score)
Country: United States
Series: Three Mesquiteers

Songs: "Happy Cowboy" and "The Cowboy's Voice Lesson," music and lyrics by Jimmie Dodd.
Composer: Jimmie Dodd
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. 24/8/1942 dd/mm/yyyy LP11568 Yes

PCA NO: 8645
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Western
Sub-Genre: with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Cowboys
  Doubles
  Gangs
  Impersonation and imposture
  Robbery
  Sheriffs
 
Subjects (Minor): Bankers
  Brothers and sisters
  Chases
  Colorado
  Drunkenness
  Hideouts
  Mobs
  Murder

Note: The opening title card reads: "Republic Pictures presents The Three Mesquiteers in Shadows on the Sage ," followed by pictures of Bob Steele, Tom Tyler and Jimmie Dodd with their names and character names superimposed. This was the first "Three Mesquiteers" film in which Jimmie Dodd appeared. He replaced Rufe Davis as "Lullaby" Joslin. Modern sources include the following actors in the cast: Horace B. Carpenter, Curley Dresden and Pascale Perry. For more information on the series, consult the Series Index and the entry for The Three Mesquiteers (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.4617). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   28 Aug 1942.   
Film Daily   15 Jan 43   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Jul 42   pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Jul 42   p. 9.
Motion Picture Daily   30 Dec 1942.   
Motion Picture Herald   2 Jan 1943.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   2 Jan 43   p. 1090.
Variety   30 Dec 42   p. 23.

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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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