by Cleveland Amory
TV Guide, March 6, 1971

If you liked the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"--well, so did the producers of this series. Not that this is just a copy of that, mind you. Plagiarism, you'll recall, is copying one book--research is copying two books. And ABC has researched this one real good. They've even got over-tones of two previous shows, The Fugitive and Run for Your Life. And, to top it off, they've found a guy for one of the principal parts who's the splitting image of Paul Newman. Please, typesetter, not spitting--splitting.

One thing you'll have to grant this show. It doesn't promise very much, and it certainly doesn't deliver a whole lot, but it's got a terrific premise. In fact it's got the longest premise of the season. This is that there are two bad guys who have now become good guys. Through a friend, who has become sheriff, they've got a promise of amnesty from the governor--if, and here is the nub, they can stay out of more trouble. During this probationary period, the premise continues, they are constantly bounded by three things: (a) bounty hunters who want to turn them in, (b) bounders who are quick to blame them for any crime in the vicinity and (c) the evil that still lurks unwittingly--even occasionally witting--their good-little-bad-guy hearts.

Another thing you'll have to grant is that the two principals are fine actors who deserve not only better treatment but also better finished scripts. These are Jed "Kid" Curry, alias Thaddeus Jones, alias Ben Murphy; and Hannibal Heyes, alias Joshua Smith, alias Pete Duel. Mr. Duel, whom you'll remember from Love on a Rooftop, has a particularly engaging smile. Alias Smith and Jones also has a plethora of guest stars--first show, for example, giving us Burl Ives, Cesar Romero and Edward Andrews, and the second Pernell Roberts, Susan Strasberg and Slim Pickens. But that is about all we can say. The basic trouble seems to be that the only real suspense you have is whether or not you're going to believe anything and, if so, for how long. We realize you're not meant to believe it; still, we want to believe, honest we do.

Our favorite episode so far was one in which our heroes, posing as "Grant" and "Gaines," two private agents hired to thwart a train robbery, catch a train to Brimstone which is not only loaded with (a) gold and (b) hired guns, but also with (c) Sara Blaine (Beth Brickell), a Southern belle who is supposed to be on board because she is the only one who can put the finger on Grant as Heyes alias Smith alias Duel, and on Gaines as Curry alias Jones alias Murphy as leaders of the Devil's Hole Gang. but is actually working to get the gold for herself. At the crucial moment, Grant and Gaines not only ward off that old gang of theirs but also manage to convince the Southern belle's side-kick (William Windom) that they are not Heyes and Curry or Smith and Jones or even Grant and Gaines, but that they are so secret that they are a secret even to the actual chief of the private eyes (J.D. Cannon). Alas and alack, it was one too many aliases for us. But just the same, we did try not to believe that we had to believe.

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