Gold Raiders (1951) is a comedy Western film, directed by Edward Bernds with a script by B-movie writer William Lively and veteran comedy writer Elwood Ullman. The film was an attempt by independent producer Bernard Glasser to inaugurate a new western series starring old favorite George O'Brien. Adding novelty value to the proceedings are The Three Stooges -- Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Shemp Howard.
The movie's plot is fairly divided between O'Brien, playing a frontier insurance investigator, and the Stooges, cast as itinerant peddlers. The star and his comic cohorts thwart a gang of thieves hijacking gold-mine shipments. The villain is local bigwig Sawyer (Lyle Talbot), but the plot sneaks in a few interesting twists, including a red-herring character who initially seems to be a spy for the baddies, but who turns out to be an agent for the good guys. The Stooges, despite their buffoonery, perform heroically during the climactic shootout.
Sheila Ryan co-stars as the granddaughter of tipster doctor Clem Bevans, while Monte Blue enjoys a larger part than usual as the local mine owner. Some of the stunts were performed by Hugh Hooker, who also plays a juvenile role.
The 56-minute Gold Raiders was economically filmed in a record five days by director Edward Bernds.
Gold Raiders was originally released by independent producer Jack Schwarz through United Artists in 1951-52, and although the principals worked well together, plans to pursue an O'Brien-Stooges series were abandoned. The film was reissued to theaters in 1958, and television distributor AAP issued two home-movie abridgements on 8mm film in the 1960s. It is one of the few full-length films featuring Shemp Howard as one of the Stooges. Moe, Larry and Shemp appeared together in the 1930 film Soup to Nuts, which also features Ted Healy.