Slightly more elaborate than most Charles Starrett westerns, Down Rio Grande Way is set in the mid-19th century, when the Republic of Texas was poised to join the Union. Starrett plays Texas Ranger Steve Martin (!), who is dispatched to a "renegade" Texas country that refuses to become part of the good old USA. He discovers that the crux of the problem is a local tax collector (Norman Willis) who, with the help of a crooked newspaper editor (Davision Clark), is systematically robbing the citizens of their hard-earned cash, all the while fomenting anti-American sentiments. Britt Wood takes over from Cliff Edwards as Starrett's comical sidekick, while band singer Rose Ann Stevens makes an impressive acting debut as the heroine.