Water Rustlers (1939) starring Dorothy Page, Dave O'Brien, Vince Barnett, Stanley Price directed by Samuel Diege Movie Review

Water Rustlers (1939)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Dorothy Page in Water Rustlers (1939)

Dorothy Fights Water Retention

Shirley Martin (Dorothy Page) is riding her father's land whilst singing a song when she sees that Silver Creek Mining Enterprises, owned by Robert Weylan (Stanley Price), has shut the gates of the dam which is stopping water getting to the cattle who are becoming desperate for it. Shirley and her father are not alone as other local ranchers have fallen foul to Weylan's dam and so together they decide to head to court to sort the matter out legally. Unfortunately Weylan has his men put the frighteners on the other ranchers to stop them testifying against him. Forced to take matters in to her own hands, Martin along with her new foreman Bob Lawson (Dave O'Brien) set about blowing up the dam but find themselves having to deal with Weylan's men.

Whilst I have watched more early westerns than your average movie fan I am no expert but "Water Rustlers" is the first of these western quickie's I have watched where the hero of the movie is a cowgirl. "Water Rustlers" is also my first encounter with actress Dorothy Page who only made 6 movies and seemed to suffer because audiences didn't take to a western with a singing cowgirl as the focus rather than a singing cowboy.

Having a singing cowgirl rather than a singing cowboy is not actually the issue with "Water Rustlers" as Dorothy Page has a natural, relaxed style which makes her quite charming and she is surrounded by entertaining supporting performances. The trouble with "Water Rustlers" is that having a cowgirl ends up a gimmick and when you ignore that it is a woman who saves the day as well as the man in distress it is the same old water rights storylines with a businessman getting rid of his neighbouring ranchers through stopping the water supply and using heavies to intimidate people. There is nothing original to the storyline at all and this disappointing considering how natural Page is.

What this all boils down to is that "Water Rustlers" is an entertaining distraction with the novelty of having a singing cowgirl. But whilst Dorothy Page is quite good the fact that behind the novelty is an unoriginal storyline makes this an ordinary western with a gimmick.