Cast & Crew
Appointed to examine recruits for Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders, Dr. Steven Monroe arrives by stagecoach to the town of Painted Springs. Painted Springs is being threatened by a war between the local sheep ranchers and cattlemen, and as soon as the coach stops in town, a gunfight between the two factions breaks out. Among the wounded are stagecoach passenger Nancy Richards, the daughter of a cattle rancher, and Ed Gordon, a sheepman. After tending to Nancy's wound, Steve treats Gordon, even though Nancy's father John tries to stop him. The ranchers are faced with a shortage of cowhands because so many have joined the Rough Riders, and Fred Burns, a cattleman who pretends friendship for Richards and the others, seizes the opportunity to plant outlaws at the Richards' ranch, where he hopes to steal the cattle at roundup time. Burns cunningly plays Gordon against Richards by making it seem as though Gordon is responsible for the subsequent death of Richards' cattle. Burns is aware of the rivalry for Nancy's affections between Steve and Kentucky Lane, the Richards' foreman, and foments bad blood between the two men. A fistfight ensues, and when Steve knocks Lane out and leaves the scene of the fight, Pete, one of Burns's henchmen, shoots the foreman and leaves him for dead. Steve has become suspicious of Burns, and so to eliminate him, Burns has Steve arrested for Lane's attempted murder. Although Lane is near death, Steve revives him long enough to learn that Pete was the man who shot him. With that information, Steve talks Maw Blane, the sheriff's wife, into letting him out of jail and races to the Gordon ranch just in time to prevent a gunfight between the forces of Richards and Gordon. Meanwhile, Nancy has confronted Burns with charges of rustling and murder. In retaliation, Burns takes Nancy prisoner and turns her over to Pete, who rides off with her just as Steve and Richards' men arrive for a showdown with Burns. Galloping after Pete, Steve rescues Nancy and then drags Pete into a creek, nearly drowning him into confessing Burns' nefarious scheme. With peace established between the cattlemen and sheep ranchers, Steve rides off to Sioux Falls to examine more recruits for the Rough Riders.
Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety reviews attribute the song "Lonely Rangeland" to Enright Busse. The Medico of Painted Springs was the first entry in Columbia's "Medico" series, which consisted of three films, all based on the "Medico" novels by James L. Rubel. Charles Starrett starred as Dr. Steven Monroe in all three and Lambert Hillyer directed. In the last two entries of the series, Cliff Edwards appeared as Monroe's sidekick "Bones Malloy." The last in the series was the 1941 film Prairie Stranger (see below).