"Alias Smith and Jones" is not a Western series in the classical meaning of the phrase. The series takes place in the late nineteenth century in the Wild West, but there are clear differences in plot and structure from the usual Western.
First, the series is designed as light-hearted and humorous entertainment. The characters are all sympathetic and base their actions on motivations that are still relevant today.
It also doesn't include very many episodes with the usual scenarios such as cowboys vs. Indians, farmers vs. ranchers, or lawmen vs. outlaws. It scores with some really surprising twists.
The series is about two young men who robbed banks and trains, but then try to give their lives a new direction. Although it seems impossible for outlaws of their notoriety, they strive for amnesty. In return, they agree to a dubious deal with the territorial governor: to prove that they can change before their amnesty is granted. During this time, they are still wanted - dead or alive - with a bounty of $10,000 apiece on their heads.
Trying to escape their numerous persecutors and to avoid further trouble, they both take on aliases: Hannibal Heyes becomes Joshua Smith and Kid Curry takes the name Thaddeus Jones.
During this time, they face a wide variety of difficulties, but as tempting as it sometimes seems, they never give up. Despite all the hardships, they keep a youthful outlook and a sense of humour.
The characters - including the supporting roles - rarely correspond to the classic black-and-white scheme of earlier Westerns. They have unusually deep motivations for the time when this series was created. The two main characters aren't presented in their entirety at the beginning: on the contrary, it's only in the course of the series that one learns more about their abilities and inclinations, their past and principles, as well as their surprisingly numerous friends.
Kid Curry is known as the fastest gun in the West - with a fearsome reputation - who has never killed a man before. In addition to his youthful appearance, he has retained a boyish nature, which has earned him the nickname "The Kid". His good heart and compassion for others, as well as his deep moral principles, gradually emerge through the course of the series. Kid Curry is a man of few words and is therefore sometimes regarded, incorrectly, as mentally slow.
The thinking and talking of the pair is mostly done by Curry’s partner Hannibal Heyes, the former leader of the Devil's Hole Gang. The success of the robberies he planned earned them a reputation as the most successful outlaws in the history of the West. This is accompanied by a reputation that they only steal only from the rich, and that they never shot anyone during their raids. Hannibal Heyes is introduced as a cheerful optimist and thinker. Gradually, a multi-layered and multi-faceted personality reveals itself in addition to his sharp mind. His most important characteristic next to his "genius" is his "silver tongue"—his ability to talk their way out often defuses a difficult situation.
Together they make an unbeatable team. The word 'Bromance' is relatively modern, but "Alias Smith and Jones" is probably the first series where this term can be applied. The two main characters have a deep and multi-layered relationship to each other, which is only defined in more detail in the second season when it is revealed that they are cousins. It isn't expressed in words, but often in small gestures, glances, and trivialities.
The "chemistry" between the two main actors and the main characters is often mentioned as contributing to the success of the series. It is absolutely necessary to pay close attention, as a large part of the communication takes place via facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language.
"Alias Smith and Jones" is a series with unusual nuances that hasn't lost any of its charm even after more than forty years. It is best enjoyed in its original language.
Photo: Jed "Kid" Curry and Hannibal Heyes
Even today, there is an active fandom worldwide, for example on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wantedHHKC/
If you enjoy the series and might be interested in historical information, too, I would highly recommend you to join us there. And don't worry about the language: Facebook also offers a translation function.
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