Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, two of the most wanted outlaws in the history of the West, are popular "with everyone except the railroads and the banks", since "in all the trains and banks ... See full summary »
Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, two of the most wanted outlaws in the history of the West, are popular "with everyone except the railroads and the banks", since "in all the trains and banks they robbed, they never shot anyone". They are offered an amnesty on condition that they stay out of trouble for a year and that they don't tell anyone about it. With a view to keeping their noses clean they adopt the identities of Smith and Jones and use all of their ingenuity keeping out of the way of the law. Written by
Roger Davis played a Smiling Gunman in season 2 and was killed by Kid Curry. Davis returned to the series to replace Pete Duel after Duel committed suicide. See more »
During the entire show, Heyes and Curry have either one pair of saddlebags each, or nothing at all, yet they continually appear in different recurring outfits, including heavy coats, suits (with matching hats), and different vest/jacket combinations. See more »
In the UK this gentle, unassuming western series stormed straight into viewers' hearts; garnered enormous audiences, and generated many fond memories... how many among us still recall the 'five pat-hand' poker trick? Lots and lots, I'd wager.
What made it so successful, in retrospect, was the thoroughness of the script preparation and the subsequent chemistry between the two leads. Roy Huggins' (aka John Thomas James) thoughtful and professional approach was everywhere. Many of the most memorable moments within the series were based upon fact and/or documented historical incidents e.g. soap selling dodges, poker escapades, safe-cracking attempts, and - although I was unaware of this as a child - it explains why so much of the series' background 'hung true'. Toss in the amiable, laconic tit-tat verbal interplay between Hannibal Heyes (Pete Duel) and Kid Curry (Ben Murphy)... and you ended up with small-screen magic.
Heyes followed the silver-tongued, 'I can talk us out of this calamity' approach, with endless undinted confidence and zest, but varying success; Curry, meanwhile, was content to watch him 'wing-it', then stepped in when catastrophe threatened - as it often did.
It was the 'little things' that made this series soar, the consistency of character, the fallibility, the kicks of fate that tweaked Heyes and Curry into two magnetically likable 'pretty good bad men'. The delicate interplays between two men who would 'do to ride the river'.
It was often the smallest stories that were the most successful, the ones where technically 'not a lot was happening'. For example, in one episode they got snowed-in, for the whole winter, in a remote mountain cabin... all very static? nope, just the opposite... what you got, was a heck of a lot of Heyes and Curry getting on with the business of making the best of a bad deal. Fantastic.
This is the 'less is more' approach; so often lauded - but oh so rarely allowed onto the screen. The actors gelled with their characters; the characters enthralled; the writing created an environment within which the ensemble could thrive.
So okay... some episodes were better than others, a couple were great, and a couple were not-so great; but through it all Smith & Jones bantered and bickered, won, lost, and kept on trying. It was joyous entertainment. Joyous.
What's that, you said? Naw... can't be... d'you mean, you really don't know the 'five pat-hand' poker trick?!
Watch and Enjoy!
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