The Tenderfoot is a three-part live action television miniseries comedy Western film produced in 1964 for Walt Disney's The Wonderful World of Color. It is based on James Henry Tevis' book Arizona in the '50's. It was directed by Robert L. Friend and Byron Paul.
Starring Brandon deWilde of Shane (1953) and Disney veteran Brian Keith (The Parent Trap) in the title roles. It aired in 3 parts over 3 consecutive weeks beginning on Sunday, October 18, 1964. It also starred James Whitmore, Richard Long, James Daly, and Nehemiah Persoff in principal roles.
The Tenderfoot was aimed at teens and featured character actors of the period. Also appearing was 15-year-old Disney regular Roger Mobley. This was typical of past Disney live action TV productions, most notable being The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh (1964).
On-location filming occurred on California's Santa Catalina Island and Channel Islands. Highlights include the roundup of wild mustangs and a climactic horse race.
Brandon deWilde had previously appeared in All Fall Down (1962) with Warren Beatty and Hud (1963) with Paul Newman. Brian Keith would be a scene stealer and filmed with deWilde for Disney again the following year in Those Calloways, as his father.
Song "The Tenderfoot" by Disney Legend Richard M. Sherman.
The Tenderfoot would be released theatrically through Europe in 1966. It aired on the Disney Channel as an edited-down 2-hour feature in the 1990s.
Tevis' Arizona in the 50s, written in 1880 and not published until 1953 and out of print for the last 50 years, has recently been edited by Betty Barr and Dr. William J. Kelly and rereleased.
Jim Tevis (Brandon deWilde), shortly after arriving in 1856 Arizona from the East, meets up with Mose Carson (Brian Keith), self-proclaimed big brother of legendary frontier scout Kit Carson. According to Mose, Kit learned everything from him and it should really be him that is famous. Mose consoles himself by staying drunk and avoiding Indian fights. Captain Ewell (James Whitmore) is a veteran Indian fighter and Paul Durand (Richard Long) is a misfit soldier and ladies' man. Carson and Ewell take a quick liking to the young Tevis and both agree to make him Mose's junior scout. Together they all wind up in a search for buried treasure with Captain Malcione (Nehemiah Persoff) as the primary villain.
The Tenderfoot has never been released on home media by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.