Tennessee tries return the favor by saving Cowpoke from marrying an untrustworthy golddigger (Coleen Gray), and the broken-hearted Cowpoke wants to kill Tennessee. Then Tennessee is charged with murder...
The screenplay, from a Bret Harte story, is nothing particularly special, but TENNESSEE'S PARTNER is a fun, colorful Western with an amiable cast and solid production values. Payne and Reagan make a good team, with Payne as the slick tough guy who's been around and Reagan as the sunny-natured, more innocent Cowpoke. The flame-haired Fleming brightens the screen both literally and figuratively in an energetic performance as a woman who thinks Tennessee is marriage material. The only weak link in this was Gray, who is unfortunately rather colorless in a thankless role.
The supporting cast includes a bunch of familiar faces from '50s Westerns. Leo Gordon, a favorite of mine, has plenty of screen time as the sheriff, while Chubby Johnson plays an old prospector, Morris Ankrum is a judge, and Anthony Caruso is the dastardly villain. Myron Healey is also in the cast.
If you look closely at the "ladies" working for the Duchess, you'll spot Angie Dickinson. A couple of the other actresses looked familiar, but the credits at IMDb are unfortunately incomplete in that regard.
This 87-minute film was directed by Allan Dwan.
The attractive color photography is by John Alton, who won the Oscar for shooting the ballet in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951). Alton was also known for his striking black and white photography of film noir titles like T-MEN (1947), RAW DEAL (1948), and HE WALKED BY NIGHT (1948).
TENNESSEE'S PARTNER is available on DVD in a fine print from VCI.
It's also been released on VHS.