The Range Busters: Ultimate Collection [11 Discs] [DVD]

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Tonto Basin Outlaws
The Range Busters returned to bust a few more ranges in Tonto Basin Outlaws. As ever, the three protagonists are played by Ray "Crash" Corrigan, John "Dusty" King and Max "Alibi" Terhune. The story takes off when Corrigan takes a job as manager of the Tonto Basin hotel. From here, he intends to observe the comings and goings of the local cowpokes, thereby hoping to uncover a gang of rustlers who've terrorizing the countryside. Making life miserable for Corrigan and his fellow Range Busters is the unwelcome snoopery of Jane (Jan Wiley), a big-city reporter assigned to cover the rustling story for her paper. The fact that the film takes place in 1898, when girl reporters were as scarce as hen's teeth (and almost as pretty), didn't seem to phase the screenwriters a bit; if the viewer wanted logic, the viewer was in the wrong theatre. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Trail Riders
The Range Busters do their heroic duty once again as they set out to capture those responsible for a bank robbery and murder of the town marshal's son. ~ Kristie Hassen, Rovi

The Three Mesquiteers
After a couple of false starts, William Colt MacDonald's "Three Mesquiteers" stories were converted into a western film series by Republic Studios. The Mesquiteers, a trio of wandering do-gooders, are muscular Tucson Smith, played by Ray "Crash" Corrigan; hotheaded Stony Brooke, played by Robert Livingston; and comic sidekick Lullaby Joslin, portrayed in this first series entry by Syd Saylor. The three heroes waste no time getting down to business once they're discharged from WWI military service: Tucson and Stony take on a gang of greedy cattlemen, Stony romances homesteader's daughter Marian (Kay Hughes), and Lullaby rounds up stray cattle while astride a motorcycle. J. P. Gowan plays the villain, as he would in several subsequent Mesquiteers entries. Among the film's many assets is the excellent location photography by William Nobles. The Three Mesquiteers proved to be a moneyspinner, encouraging Republic to stay with the series through six years and 51 entries. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Boot Hill Bandits
"The Range Busters" -- "Crash" (Ray "Crash" Corrigan), Dusty (John "Dusty" King), and "Alibi" (Max Terhune) -- go up against yet another licentious saloon owner in this Western series entry from Monogram. As it turns out, the saloon proprietor, Brand Bolton (John Merton), is actually in the employ of Sundance's corrupt mayor (Budd Buster), who dabbles in a bit of stage robbing on the side. Lawman "Crash" Corrigan, who is thought by everyone to have been killed by a local thug, The Maverick (Glenn Strange), is actually very much alive and manages to collect enough evidence to not only prosecute Bolton but also go after the mayor. But first he and "Dusty" must free disgruntled saloon girl May Meadows (Jean Brooks) and "Alibi," who have been kidnapped. Leading lady Brooks later played Kim Hunter's mysterious sister in the Val Lewton thriller The Seventh Victim (1943). ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

The Haunted Ranch
The Triangle W Ranch is indeed haunted in this Monogram Range Busters series entry, though not by the spirit of the late outlaw Reno Red as the townsfolk are led to believe, but by nasty Rance Austin (Glenn Strange) and his gang on the premises searching for a stolen gold bullion. Enter the Range Busters, one of whom, Dusty (John "Dusty" King), impersonates the heir to half of the ranch. The other half belongs to Helen Weston (Julie Duncan), and together with Dave (Dave Sharpe), Alibi (Max "Alibi" Terhune), and Red (Rex Lease) they finally nail Rance and his men and locate the gold bullion hidden in -- of all things -- a music box that plays "Little Brown Jug." Co-star Dave Sharpe entered the service during the filming of Haunted Ranch and was replaced in the latter part of the Western by Rex Lease. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Fugitive Valley
Part of the "Range Buster" series of westerns, this film follows the adventures of a couple of former criminals (Ray Corrigan and John King) as they give up their thieving ways and take on the responsibilities of deputies. When a group of outlaws, headed by a man known as "The Whip," begins to hassle the locals, it is up to Corrigan and King to track them down and bring them to justice. This film features some musical numbers, including "Riding Along," "My Little Prairie Annie," and "Chisholm Trail." ~ Iotis Erlewine, Rovi

The Kid's Last Ride
The Range Riders - Ray "Crash" Corrigan, John "Dusty" King and Max "Albi" Terhune-ride the range once more in Monogram's Kid's Last Ride. Sent to a wide-open town to stem the activities of the local criminal element, our three heroes almost immediately get mixed up in a deadly feud between local land barons Harmon (Al Bridge) and Bart (Glenn Strange). The Range Riders patch things up by deflecting Harmon's son Jimmy (Edwin Brian) from a life of crime, thereby also expediting the romance between Jimmy and Bart's daughter Sally (Luana Walters). Then, almost as an afterthought, the do-gooding trio trounces the villains. Like most of the The Range Riders' entries, Kid's Last Ride was cheap but profitable. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Arizona Stagecoach
In this western the three Range Busters go undercover, take on a gang of ruthless outlaws, and bring them to justice. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Rock River Renegades
In this western, the courageous Range Busters, round up the rabble-rousing rustlers who've been rendering Rock River really rowdy. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Wrangler's Roost
Wrangler's Roost is another of Monogram's "Range Busters" epics, said Busters portrayed herein by Ray "Crash" Corrigan, John "Dusty" King and Max "Alibi" Terhune. The plot is predicated on the legend of "gentleman bandit" Black Bart, long thought dead but now apparently back in business. On behalf of the original Bart, now a respectable citizen living under an alias, the Range Busters go after the impostor, revealing his identity during a climactic poker game. George Cheseboro is at his best as a chronic drunk who is cured by kindly pastor Forrest Taylor (who, of course, is the original Black Bart). Range Buster John King gets to sing two songs on this occasion. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Trail of the Silver Spurs
Trail of the Silver Spurs was Monogram's first "Range Riders" entry for 1941. As in previous episodes, the three heroes are portrayed by Ray "Crash" Corrigan, John "Dusty" King and Max "Alibi" Terhune. The plot concerns the efforts by the Range Riders to "exorcise" an alleged ghost town. It is giving nothing away to reveal that the spooky goings-on are the handiwork of half-mad prospector Nordick (Milburn Morante), who hopes to scare away all potential visitors so that he can work the local gold mine himself. Since Nordick isn't really a villain, the heroes take pity upon him and cook up a method that will allow him to come out ahead--and to entrap the film's real villain, who has been using the ghost town as his headquarters. Dorothy Short, wife of actor-stuntman Dave O'Brien, is the heroine, while future singing cowboy star Eddie Dean shows up in a bit. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Saddle Mountain Round-Up
Like the first entry in the "Range Busters" series, the 1941-42 season opener Saddle Mountain Roundup was as much a whodunit as a western. This time, the murder victim is irascible rancher Magpie Harper (John Elliot). Arriving too late to save Harper from his fate, heroes Ray "Crash" Corrigan, John "Dusty" King and Max "Alibi" Terhune commit themselves to solving the murder. The identity of the killer is tipped off by the actor's prominence in the screen credits (at this time, he was usually cast in uncredited bit roles). Fairly well directed and acted, Saddle Mountain Roundup is compromised a bit by the surprising shoddy editing of Ray Claire. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Bullets and Saddles
In this western the wild and wooley Range Busters are again out for justice. This time they are after a shady businessman and his cutthroat gang who are harassing the settlers. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

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