I'd never seen any of the episodes of Alias Smith and Jones after original star Pete Duel was replaced by Roger Davies - I used to love the show when it was shown on BBC TV when I was a kid. I'm guessing I missed the original run since I would have only been six at the time. So maybe I saw repeats in the mid-seventies and the latter non-Duel episodes were not shown or at least not shown as often.
Pete Duel had filmed two-thirds of the season 2 episode, The Biggest Game in the West when he committed suicide. The word came down: continue filming. (Ben Murphy was told of Duel's death and decided to stay home for the day's filming, which consisted of pickup shots). When Roger Davis was brought in as Duel's replacement, he had the unenviable task of replicating Duel's every move (except for a few shots where only Duel's back is seen) before doing the last two days of filming on his own. (Davis also re-filmed the opening, with Ralph Story replacing him as narrator).
This episode which I stumbled across on one of the Freeview channels was apparently the last ever episode filmed, though it was shown as the tenth episode of season three. The storyline is that Smith and Jones are told to protect two witnesses to a lynching - a travelling con man and his daughter. And I enjoyed it. It was good solid entertainment with some great riding scenes and a major shoot out contained in its fifty minutes or so. There was also some well staged comedy when Smith and Jones get drunk on a bottle of the travelling con-man's tonic - Cure-all, guaranteed to cure alcoholism, made from 60% natural herbs and flower juices and 40% pure alcohol.
This is the only episode I've seen with Roger Davies so I can't say if there was any dip in quality when Duel went. The chemistry between the leads seems the same as ever, but Davies only did seventeen episodes before the show was cancelled. However this was 1973 and TV westerns were being replaced with cop shows - Bonanza also aired its final episode three days after Smith and Jones, leaving Gunsmoke as the only TV western running and then mostly only in the US. But I'd like to see more of these later episodes and maybe find out more about the show. Information on the web is minimal - I know that fellow Black Horse writer Joanne Walpole (Terry James) is a huge fan so perhaps I'll badger her for some info. I've just this minute ordered the season one box-set and I'm looking forward to reintroducing myself to this evergreen TV western classic