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Riders of the Rio Grande (1943)

A banker struggles to keep his bank solvent and his town from going bankrupt after the bank is robbed and all its money taken. The Three Mesquiteers ride into town and set out to help.


Howard Bretherton


Albert DeMond (original screenplay), William Colt MacDonald (based on characters created by)




Complete credited cast:
Bob Steele ... Tucson Smith
Tom Tyler ... Stony Brooke
Jimmie Dodd ... Lullaby Joslin
Lorraine Miller ... Janet Owens
Edward Van Sloan ... Pop Owens
Rick Vallin ... Tom Owens
Harry Worth ... Sam Skelly
Roy Barcroft ... Sarsaparilla Cherokee
Charles King ... Thumber Cherokee
Jack Ingram ... Henchman Berger


Mayor Timothy "Pop" Owens (Edward Van Sloan) , also the highly respected town banker,has a problem. His useless son Tom (Rick Vallin) has aided henchmen of Sam Skelly (Harry Worth), a saloon owner , rob the bank in order to pay off Tom's gambling debts, and the bank examiners are coming in two days. "Pop" is facing imprisonment and disgrace and he decides to make the bank the beneficiary of a trust fund he created for his daughter, Janet (Lorraine Miller), and Tom, which will more than cover the stolen money. He then has Skelly hire a desperado to kill him. Skelly, never the one to under-staff a project, hires three ruthless outlaws, Sasaparilla Cherokee (Roy Barcroft), Thumber Cherokee (Charles King) and Butch Cherokee (Jack O'Shea). No one is faster on the draw than the Cherokee Brothers, except the Three Mesquiteers, Tucson Smith (Bob Steele), Story Brooke (Tom Tyler) and Lullaby Joslin (Jimmie Dodd) and they just happen to be in town. Stopping at a bar, they tangle with they ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE THREE MESQUITEERS in a RIP-ROARING ACTION THRILLER! original print ad-mostly caps)


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Release Date:

21 May 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Treis assoi tis fasarias See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


[first lines]
[reading the plaque on a statue]
Older Boy: "Timothy Owens, Founder of Owensville"
Younger Boy: What does it mean "founded it"? Was it losted?
See more »


Follows Pals of the Pecos (1941) See more »


I Got Those Wailin' in the Jailhouse Blues
Written by Jimmie Dodd
See more »

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User Reviews

The last Three Mesquiteers film was a good one!
2 January 2005 | by stevehaynieSee all my reviews

Riders of the Rio Grande was the last in Republic's Three Mesquiteers series. From the start the plot builds around an honest man trying to hold together the local bank he owns to keep the whole town from going bankrupt after the bad guys rob the vault. We do not see the Mesquiteers until about fourteen minutes into the movie, but as soon as they arrive a fight scene begins. Republic was always good at providing plenty of action in their movies. Mistaken for the Cherokee Boys, the team of Tucson, Stony, and Lullaby has to evade the local sheriff as they work to right the wrongs in this last adventure.

Harry Worth is excellent as the main villain, Skelly. He had a cold, gentlemanly demeanor as he led the criminal gang in more than one movie. Riders of the Rio Grande has several of the actors that made B westerns fun. By 1943 Republic had perfected the quickly made western, and this movie proves it. The pacing and the story keep flowing nicely with no dull moments.

Knowing this was the end of the Mesquiteers series I had to wonder if they would go down on a low note or deliver the level of the series' past great moments. I was not disappointed. As much as I prefer the Livingston, Corrigan, Terhune lineup, the final lineup of Bob Steele, Tom Tyler, and Jimmie Dodd worked well.

In one scene Dodd pronounces "Mesquiteers" as "mess keet ers", much like someone with a Southern drawl would pronounce "mosquitoes." I had always thought it was pronounced similar to "Musketeers."

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