The Purple Vigilantes


58m 1938

Brief Synopsis

David Ross organizes the ranchers into a vigilante group to rid the town of outlaws. The plan succeeds but the trouble starts when some of the men form a new vigilante group and posing as the original one plunder for loot.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 24, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on characters created by William Colt MacDonald.

Technical Specs

Duration
58m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,254ft (6 reels)

Synopsis

The honest citizens of Trail's End, deciding that they have had enough from the outlaws who frequent the Bonanza Saloon, form a vigilante committee to close the saloon and clean up the town. David Ross, head of the committee, plans a raid on the saloon and decides to ask The Three Mesquiteers, Stony Brooke, Tucson Smith and Lullaby Joslin, to join them in maintaining the peace. Unknown to most of the vigilantes, a few of the men use the raid to rob those in the saloon and later utilize their purple vigilante robes to rob and kill in future raids, assured that the blame will be placed on Ross and the committee. Although Sheriff Dyer knows that Ross is not to blame, he advises him to leave town for his own safety. To force the reluctant Ross to leave, Stony signs a phony complaint against him, implicating him in three murders, but enabling him to be placed safely in the county jail. Only the sheriff, Ross and the Mesquiteers know about the ruse, so when the sheriff is mysteriously shot, Tracy, his deputy, proceeds as if the charges were real and Ross is put on trial. On the way to testify, Stony, Tucson and Lullaby see some of the phony vigilantes and chase them, but wind up being trapped until after Ross is convicted. Stony is able to catch up with one of the vigilantes, but discovers that he is actually William Jones, an insurance company detective investigating Ross's partner, J. T. "Mack" McAllister, who would receive $500,000 if Ross were killed. When Stony confronts him, Mack is insulted, as is his daughter Jean, with whom Stony has become friendly. Stony begins to think that perhaps Mack is not to blame and conceives of a plan whereby Tucson will arrest him while he is wearing the purple vigilantes' robes. The real criminals then break Stony out of jail, thinking that he really is one of them, and take him to a secret cave that is their meeting place. During their meeting, the leader, called "Number One," says there is a traitor among them and asks that every man remove his mask in turn. After Jones is unmasked, the others kill him and, in the melee, Stony is able to get away with Jones' notebook. Meeting up with Lullaby and Tucson, Stony realizes that the notebook doesn't contain any evidence, but they decide to pretend that it does. Tucson and Lullaby then tell Mack that Stony is hiding Jones's notebook and ask him to meet Stony. Mack, who has been advised by Drake, his and Ross's attorney, to leave town for a while, goes after Stony, but Drake, overhearing Tucson and Mack, finds Stony first. Although he pretends to help Stony, he soon summons the vigilantes for whom he is "Number One." Soon Tucson, Lullaby and Tracy arrive and arrest Drake and the vigilantes, and it is revealed that Drake, who had power of attorney for Ross and McAllister, had planned to gain their business and the insurance money. With Ross and McAllister both cleared, everything returns to normal in town and, while Stony brags about his exploits to Jean, Lullaby and Tucson let her know he's exaggerating.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 24, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on characters created by William Colt MacDonald.

Technical Specs

Duration
58m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,254ft (6 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index and see entry for The Three Mesquiteers.