Roy Rogers Last Ride

The heartwarming Mackintosh and TJ provided one final role for Roy Rogers, a nice way for the Singing Cowboy to go out in style. Released in the mid-70s, Roy Rogers had been retired from acting for years since his reign as King of the Cowboys in the Fifties.

The star of nearly 100 Westerns, the cowboy icon returns to the screen playing a familiar version of himself. The movie is a fitting farewell to the star’s screen presence and gravitas.

The heartwarming Mackintosh and TJ provided one final role for Roy Rogers

Directed by Marvin Chomsky, the PG-rated tale’s heartfelt storytelling and grounded characters paint a poignant picture of life as a ranch hand with Roy Rogers as the guiding force. Featuring a score created by country legend Waylon Jennings at the height of his creative powers in the Seventies, the musical soundtrack would spawn an album that successfully placed on the country charts. Willie Nelson even shows up as a musical contributor.

Roy Rogers is Mackintosh, a drifting ranch hand not getting any younger. The over-the-hill cowboy is passing through Dickens, Texas when he encounters the boyish T.J., a young teen runaway hitchhiking his way across America. Future Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Clay O’Brien plays the rambunctious T.J. in a role perfectly designed for his skills. Their path lies along dusty country roads and rowdy honky tonk bars.

Taking T.J. under his wing, a father-and-son bond slowly begins forming between the pair. Mackintosh finds work as a ranch hand at the 6666 Ranch run by Jim Webster with T.J. tagging along. There the aging cowboy will break in horses and hunt coyotes threatening the ranch’s cattle.

The only female character of note in the entire movie is Maggie (Joan Hackett), the wife of a ranch hand who innocently gets Mackintosh into trouble when her husband thinks she’s cheating. It’s about the only conflict in an otherwise maudlin tale more concerned about sharing life lessons and showcasing the demands of modern ranching.

Roy Rogers was always concerned about projecting characters with strong moral values; he took his status as a film and music star seriously. Mackintosh fits in neatly as a father figure showing T.J. moral guidance.

Mackintosh and T.J. consciously went for something different than Hollywood trends were going in the Seventies and its sappy sentimentality springs from an earlier era. It’s a sweet, good-natured tale of modern ranching, grounded with credible characters. The movie is a predecessor of Kevin Costner’s Yellowstone in spirit.

Video

Having been relegated for years to dusty prints and inadequate television showings, the movie looks excellent on Blu-ray. Producer Steve Latshaw took on restoring Mackintosh and T.J., giving it a new color correction matching its intended contrast and palette.

A new 4K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative produces a healthy film transfer with fine grain reproduction and lively colors. The movie’s clean cinematography is mildly soft but cinematic with palpable definition. Detail and clarity are pleasingly revealing. Film elements are in fantastic condition.

Technical parameters provided by MVD for the BD are superb. The main feature runs almost 97 minutes on a BD-50, encoded in transparent AVC. Unfiltered without a hint of video processing, this is a film-like presentation of solid filmmaking from the 1970s. The contrast holds up well with proper flesh-tones. Mackintosh and T.J. The 1.78:1 presentation is a faithful effort with crisp imagery.

Audio

The 2.0 PCM soundtrack is pretty decent with fine-sounding music, if limited in scope and impact. The press release says the audio has been restored. Despite the stereo claims listed, the audio is little more than mono.

The musical soundtrack by Waylon Jennings is a country affair steeped in the Outlaw’s classic period from the Seventies. A Willie Nelson song is also heard playing when Mackintosh visits a bar. Decent fidelity is offered with minimal bass. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced without issues.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a yellow font.

Extras

The Blu-ray includes new special features and a fascinating archival behind-the-scenes featurette made for the movie’s original promotion. Also included are a mini-reunion of select cast members and an audio commentary.

It’s just great having the modern Western available again. For years and years the movie wasn’t available on anything but VHS unless you wanted to buy a DVD directly from the original producer Tim Penland.

The back cover lists the disc as Region A but that has not been tested.

Audio Commentary – Actors Clay O’Brien and Andrew Robinson are joined by C. Courtney Joyner and producer Steve Latshaw in this engaging group chat.

Behind The Scenes Featurette (12:29 in Upscaled HD) – A vintage program from 1976 that reminds viewers that press materials haven’t changed much over the decades. Featuring original on-set footage and the usual interviews with cast and crew, clips of the local town celebrating Mackintosh and T.J. filming in their backyard is like stepping back into the past.

Lone Pine Cast Reunion (67:52 in HD) – A Zoom call teleconference with cast members Clay O’Brien, Andrew Robinson and Larry Mahan. The discussion is moderated by C. Courtney Joyner and hosted by producer Steve Latshaw. It’s a group of men recalling their experiences filming the movie, impressions of working with Roy Rogers, and a multitude of other topics.

Interview With Actor Billy Green Bush (16:28 in HD) – C. Courtney Joyner and Steve Latshaw join this solo interview of Billy Green Bush over Zoom, who played Luke in the movie. The elderly actor discusses his religious turn after leaving Hollywood and other subjects.

Mackintosh and T.J. Trailer (01:45 in HD)

When We Last Spoke Trailer (02:12 in HD)

Getting Even With Dad Trailer (02:42 in Upscaled SD)

Savannah Smiles Trailer (02:55 in Upscaled SD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Mackintosh and T.J.
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Roy Rogers’ final movie is a friendly ranching tale with heart and warm storytelling.

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