A none-too-flattering contemporary review of the 1938 Three Mesquiteers film, “Santa Fe Stampede,” published in the April 26, 1939 issue of the New York Times:
“Don’t go expecting to see a lot of cattle in ‘Santa Fe Stampede,’ at the Rialto, because there aren’t any cattle: not one scrawny maverick, not a single unbranded heifer, not a sign of a little dogie. Aside from this curious fact, and the unaccountable absence of guitars, it seems to be a Western picture, all right; there are three fellows dressed up in cowboy suits, and drawls, and a villainous claim jumper who nearly gets John Wayne lynched in a typical Republic mob scene—that is, a mob scene filmed in close-up, for economy’s sake. And oh, yes—in case you don’t remember—Mr. Wayne seems to be the D’Artagnan of a curious trio known as the Three Mesquiteers, whose success up to now is probably due to the fact that nobody has thought of ambushing them with a Flit gun.”
The most curious thing about the review is who wrote it – Frank Nugent, the journalist/film reviewer who in his second career as a screenwriter would script some of Duke Wayne’s best films, including Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers, and The Quiet Man.