16 January 2006 | stevehaynie
Any adventure of the Three Mesquiteers will be good, but Red River Range is not as polished as some of the other movies I have seen in the series. By polish, I mean that were continuity and script issues that I felt could have been handled better.
Everything starts fine with a build-up of the importance of the Mesquiteers. When the town sends for one investigator to help the local sheriff find out who has been stealing the ranchers' cattle they end up with three! However, there is a switch along the way. The meat industry sends out its own agent to investigate what is happening to the cattle in the area. That investigator is Tex Reilly (Kirby Grant) who happens to be an old friend of the Mesquiteers. When he runs into the trio he explains that his face may be known to the cattle rustlers, so he trades places with Stony (John Wayne) and rides into town with Tuscon (Ray Corrigan) and Lullaby (Max Terhune). Stony investigates Tex's lead by masquerading as escaped murderer who falls in with the rustlers. That makes a total of four people working as Mesquiteers. From there the adventure unfolds!
There were a few things that made me feel the quality was lacking in this movie. In one scene Tex refers to "the kid" before any kid has been mentioned or seen. In the next scene Tuscon and Lullaby meet Tommy (Sammy McKim). A scene must have been edited from the film or the scenes were edited out of order. Another thing that is really minor but noticeable is the lack of development of the main bad guys, Payne and Hartley (William Royle and Perry Ivins). They are taking/giving orders throughout the movie, but they never come across as really strong villains.
The last thing to complain about is something that I perhaps should not mention, but it was significant. Red River Range recycles a plot element that I remembered from a Gene Autry movie, Public Cowboy No. 1 which was released in 1937. In that movie the cattle rustlers butchered the cattle on the range, buried the hides and waste, and moved the beef out in refrigerated trucks. That is repeated in this Mesquiteers adventure. Complaining about re-using plot elements in a B western may be a bit like complaining about 14 shots coming from a six shooter without reloading, but what seemed to be an original twist on cattle rustling in one movie reeked of plagiarism in the next. To be fair to Red River Range there is a plot element that I have not yet seen anywhere else. Vacationers at a dude ranch are taken out to rustle cattle as part of the everyday activities without knowing that they are helping real cattle rustlers.
Perhaps I have nitpicked too much because over all Red River Range is worth viewing.