Heroes of the Hills


55m 1938

Film Details

Also Known As
Western Justice
Release Date
Aug 1, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Santa Susana, California, United States; Simi Valley--Ray Corrigan Ranch, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on characters created by William Colt MacDonald.

Technical Specs

Duration
55m
Film Length
4,946ft (6 reels)

Synopsis

When convicts Red and The Kid are captured by The Three Mesquiteers, Stony Brooke, Tucson Smith and Lullaby Joslin, the Kid faints in Stony's arms. After reviving, the Kid explains that Red, who only had three more months to serve, planned the escape so that he could get the fresh air that his weakened lungs badly needed. The Mesquiteers return Red and the Kid to prison, but promise to help them. Because the prison is overcrowded, the Mesquiteers suggest that prison trustees be sent to ranches to work out the remainder of their terms. Thirteen prisoners, including Red and the Kid, are then paroled under the guidance of the Mesquiteers. Because Robert Beaton has already begun builing a new penitentiary for which he expects to win a contract, he, his men Jim Connors and Crane and an actress named Madeline Roberts plot to undermine the experiment. They begin by shooting over the heads of the convicts, which makes them scatter as they ride to the ranch and appear as though as if they are trying to escape. The convicts reassemble with a little encouragement from Red, however, thereby impressing the sheriff and everyone else with their intentions to make good. A short time later, Stony meets Madeline and makes a date for that night. Meanwhile, Tucson and Lullaby are lured away from the ranch and have to walk back when their horses are stolen. Stony is also put out of commission when he is drugged with knock-out drops that Madeline puts in his drink, and Connors' men then commit a series of robberies while dressed as prisoners. The Kid interrupts them as they are planting the loot at the ranch and is shot by Connors. Connors' escape is witnessed by Red, who is told by the dying Kid that his killer was from the construction camp. After learning what has happened, Stony returns to town and apprehends Madeline as she is leaving on the train. Although she tells the sheriff that Stony has kidnapped her, he escapes and finds Tucson, Lullaby, and Red, who had tried to apprehend the murderers. After learning about the robberies, local ranchers demand that the parolees be returned to prison, but the Mesquiteers tie up the sheriff when he comes to recapture Stony. They then make the sheriff call Beaton to identify a watch he had reported stolen. Once at the ranch, Beaton is confronted by Red, who tells him that the Kid named him as his killer. Red forces Beaton to reveal that while he was behind the plan, Connors committed the murder. After the sheriff overhears Beaton's confession, Connors and Crane rescue Beaton, but the Mesquiteers are soon on their trail, and Connors plunges off a mountain to his death. The rest of the gang then is captured and Madeline is cleared by a jury. The Mesquiteers' parole plan is then hailed as a success.

Film Details

Also Known As
Western Justice
Release Date
Aug 1, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Santa Susana, California, United States; Simi Valley--Ray Corrigan Ranch, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on characters created by William Colt MacDonald.

Technical Specs

Duration
55m
Film Length
4,946ft (6 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

This film first appeared on Hollywood Reporter production charts as Western Justice. That same chart adds James Regan to the cast, although his participation in the released film has not been confirmed. A news items in Hollywood Reporter just prior to the film's production noted that Ray Corrigan was to have been replaced in the Three Mesquiteers series by Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, but complaints from exhibitors convinved Republic to retain Corrigan. Other news items noted that the picture was filmed at Ray Corrigan Ranch in Simi Valley, CA, that this was the first film that Priscilla Lawson made after leaving M-G-M, and that it was the last Mesquiteer film by Livingston. John Wayne took over the role of Stony Brooke in Pals of the Saddle, the next Mesquiteer film (see below), however, Livingston returned to the series in October 1939 with the release of The Kansas Terrors (see below). Although contemporary sources list Priscilla Lawson's character name as Madelyn, a newspaper headline in the film spells her name Madeline. Modern sources include Jack Kirk and Curley Dresden in the cast. For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index and for The Three Mesquiteers.