This television show only last three seasons from 1971-1973 and from reading the reviews of the day it attracted young viewers because of the young male leads Pete Duel and Ben Murphy. It’s a western comedy about two reformed non-violent bank robbers who are trying to go straight.
The Governor has promised them amnesty if they stay out of trouble for a while but no one can know so, they are still wanted. The episodes are humorous and different from the two big westerns at the time…Gunsmoke and Bonanza. The episodes tended to be uneven though but overall it was a good show.
Pete Duel was going through problems in his life at the time. During the first season, he was driving drunk and pulled into the path of an oncoming car. Two people were injured and one hospitalized. This would haunt him till his death and he would fight a drinking problem to the end.
Pete and Ben are in about every shot of the series. They both worked 12-14 hour days 6-7 days a week. Pete was never happy with the show. He was restless and wanted to do different things. When the second season started he was put on 2-year probation for the accident and lost his drivers license.
One quote from him around this time about being in a TV series was “It’s a big fat drag to any actor with interest in his work. It’s the ultimate trap.” He was very environmentally conscious and often spoke out on issues like pollution.
After being driven home from the set on December 30, 1971, he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the early hours of December 31, 1971.
The show continued on with Roger Davis taking over Duel’s character in the series. It lasted only 17 episodes after Duel’s departure.
This is from Wikipedia… it’s a sad commentary
Upon learning of Duel’s death, executive producer Jo Swerling, Jr., initially wanted to end the series, but ABC refused. Swerling later stated:
ABC said, “No way!” They said, “You have a contract to deliver this show to us, and you will continue to deliver the show as best you can on schedule or we will sue you.” Hearing those words, Universal didn’t hesitate for a second to instruct us to stay in production. We were already a little bit behind the eight ball on airdates. So, we contacted everybody, including Ben (Murphy), and told them to come back in. The entire company was reassembled and back in production by one o’clock that day shooting scenes that did not involve Peter — only 12 hours after his death.
Narrator: Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry – the two most successful outlaws in the history of the West. And in all the trains and banks they robbed, they never shot anyone. This made our two latter-day Robin Hoods very popular – with everyone but the railroads and the banks.
Jed ‘Kid’ Curry: There’s one we thing we gotta get, Heyes.
Hannibal Heyes: What’s that?
Jed ‘Kid’ Curry: Out of this business!
Sheriff Lom Trevors: The governor can’t come flat out and give you amnesty now. First you have to prove you deserve it.
Hannibal Heyes: Ah. So all we have to do is just stay out of trouble till the governor figures we deserve amnesty.
Jed ‘Kid’ Curry: But in the mean time, we’ll still be wanted.
Sheriff Lom Trevors: Well, that’s true. Till then only you, me and the Governor will know about it. It’ll be our little secret.
Hannibal Heyes: That’s a good deal?
Jed ‘Kid’ Curry: I sure wish the governor’d let a few more people in on our secret!