It takes a bit of getting used to Roy Rogers not being Roy Rogers cowboy hero in MacIntosh & TJ. Still for his final big screen appearance Roy decided to do a character part and if he'd wanted to probably could have done more roles like this.
The title roles are played by Roy and young Clay O'Brien respectively. Roy's an old time working cowboy who's not settled down and O'Brien is a young kid of 14 on the road. He's run away because his father has died and he's not liked his mother's choice in companions. The two hit it off and eventually find work at a ranch where Walter Barnes is the foreman and Edith Atwater his wife.
O'Brien did roles in two John Wayne films before this one, The Cowboys and Cahill, US Marshal and the same easy chemistry he had with the Duke he also has with Roy Rogers. Most of the screen time is spent with these two.
It looks very much like they're going to stay on Barnes's ranch, but a jealous husband, a battered wife, and a cowboy with some issues all get involved in their business. It ends in tragedy. The three parts are played respectively by Billy Green Bush, Joan Hackett, and Andrew Robinson.
Of the three Hackett is the one to watch. Charlton Heston who worked with Joan Hackett in Will Penny in his memoirs paid tribute to her grace and talent. Without much in the way of dialog she does a marvelous job in portraying a battered spouse.
For those who remember Roy Rogers in those fancy western shirts and fancy designed boots seeing him dressed as just a regular cowboy takes a bit of getting used to. It was over 20 years since he made his last big screen appearance and a little less for when his television western series ended its run. I wonder what made him decide to do this film, it might have been to see if he could play a character. He sure didn't need the money. Oh, and Roy is wearing reading glasses at times so you know he's conceding his age.
When I heard he was doing this film back in the Seventies I wanted to see it, but it never played in New York. Mackintosh & TJ apparently only played in the red state market like so many films that never make it to the east. So when I finally did get to see it, it was a double pleasure in it was good.
Roy only did two more acting roles, on the television series Wonder Woman and The Fall Guy. Mackintosh & TJ is a very nice farewell big screen performance to the most famous of cowboy heroes.
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