Cast & Crew
Reclusive "Mad" Martin lives alone in Whisper County with his trained dwarf horse Brilliant, and receives mysterious packages of books from stagecoach driver Freddie. One day, after learning that his niece Ann, who is also Freddie's sweetheart, is returning home from school, Martin and Brilliant go for a walk. The old man is ambushed and shot, but is able to get his attacker's pistol and hide it in Brilliant's saddlebag before dying. Brilliant runs away, sparking a county-wide hunt conducted both by Ann and Martin's killer, lawyer Frank Nolan. Along with his seemingly respectable henchmen, Lon Henderson, Reese and Rankin, Nolan had been watching Martin, who they believe had a secret gold mine. Suspecting that Brilliant is the key to the mine's location, Nolan and the others hunt for her, but she is found first by Tucson Smith, Stony Brooke and Lullaby Joslin, a trio of wandering cowboys known as "The Three Mesquiteers." After Lullaby discovers the pistol in Brilliant's saddlebag, the Mesquiteers are surrounded by a posse led by Sheriff Pillsbury. Believing that they killed Martin and stole Brilliant, Pillsbury arrests the Mesquiteers. He also takes Brilliant in as evidence, and later that night, Reese, Rankin and Henderson kill deputy Bets McGee while stealing the little horse. The Mesquiteers witness the crime and break out of jail to chase the criminals. They recover Brilliant and Henderson, but before they can get the sheriff to question Henderson, he is killed by Reese. The sheriff suspects the Mesquiteers of killing Henderson, whom he mistakenly believes to be an innocent rancher, but they escape from him again. While searching Martin's cabin, the Mesquiteers find a piece of paper with what appears to be a secret code. Hoping that Nolan can help them, the Mesquiteers go to his office, where they discover some books written in braille, letters of which also appear on the piece of paper. When Freddie arrives on the scene, he confirms that he had been delivering the books to Martin, and the Mesquiteers deduce that Martin was going blind. They figure that Martin must have trained Brilliant to act as a "Seeing Eye dog" and lead him to his gold mine, and that Nolan must also have been aware of this and killed Martin in order to get Brilliant. Freddie informs them that Nolan and Ann are heading for Whisper Canyon with the horse, and the four of them ride off to rescue Ann before she is harmed. Brilliant leads Ann to the secret mine, and Nolan orders Reese and Rankin, who have been following, to kill her. The Mesquiteers and Freddie arrive but are captured by Reese and Rankin, who prepare to kill them in an explosion in the mine. Nolan double-crosses his men by barricading them in the mine, too, but Lullaby calls to Brilliant, who succeeds in kicking open the door. The Mesquiteers escape just before the explosion, then chase Nolan, who has attempted to kill Ann by loosening her saddle then causing her horse to run wild. Ann is thrown but is unharmed, and the sheriff arrests Nolan after the Mesquiteers capture him. Soon after, Nolan is convicted of Martin's murder, and the Mesquiteers ride off in search of another adventure.
Charles F. Miller
Brilliant, The Horse
The opening title card reads "Republic Pictures presents The Three Mesquiteers in The Blocked Trail," followed by pictures of Bob Steele, Tom Tyler and Jimmie Dodd with their names and character names superimposed. Although Hollywood Reporter production charts include Bud McTaggart in the cast, it is unlikely that he appeared in the finished picture. Modern sources include Al Taylor and Art Dillard in the cast. For more information about the series, consult the Series Index and the entry for The Three Mesquiteers in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4617.