"Tennessee's Partner" (1955): Ronald Reagan at the Miner's Cabin
Reagan plays a character known only as Cowpoke — he's the "Partner" in "Tennessee's Partner." Here's a shot of Cowpoke from early in the movie, at the Miner's Cabin — also known as the Lone Ranger Cabin — which was located on the Upper Iverson. The stone foundation visible at the bottom of the photo is still in place at the site.
Foundation of the Miner's Cabin in recent years
This is what's left of Miner's Cabin today — the stone foundation and front steps. The two largest rocks toward the left of the photo are the same as the two big rocks at the bottom left of the Reagan photo at the cabin, above.
the Phantom. That's the weaselous Turner holding Grubstake's sign as Turner tries to take over the claim. The back side of the Phantom is in the background.
The site of Grubstake's Claim in modern times
Here's a shot of Grubstake's Claim as it appears these days. You may be able to match up both the main "mine entrance" at the center of the photo and the small diagonal crack in the rock seen at the left. That smaller crack can also be seen in the screen shot above of Turner holding the sign. The site is a little less accessible today, with some foliage blocking the view.
Reagan's death scene — Cowpoke's last words to his friend Tennessee.
Garden of the Gods.
The getaway site as it appears today — Getaway Rock on the right
Here's that same spot during a recent visit, including the large boulder on the right, which I call Getaway Rock because of its role in this sequence. I walked the area with screen shots and was able to trace the path of the action and find where every shot was taken — thanks to the movie being shot in location verite.
The sharp-edged rock today
Here's the same spot in recent times — still easy to get to and easy to find if you follow the action in the movie. Many of the same rocks can be seen in both of the above two shots. The movie shot was taken from a distance with a long lens, which accounts for the rock in the background (behind the dead tree in the movie shot) appearing closer in the movie than in the recent photo. That background rock is one of the highest in Garden of the Gods.
Below is a clip from "Tennessee's Partner" containing the climactic sequence — including most of the rocks mentioned above:
Location verite is a technique that was rarely used in the B-Westerns, where keeping costs to a minimum was the guiding principle. It's refreshing to find it here, and it's an indication the movie probably had a little bigger budget. It's a good technique from the standpoint of realism, and as a bonus it makes it easier to do location research.
Click here for a little more about the "Tennessee's Partner" shoot in a blog post mainly about the Judy Garland movie "The Harvey Girls," which was partially shot in the same area.