I was sitting in the living room watching TV when a commercial came on for a new show called Alias Smith and Jones, starring Pete Duel and Ben Murphy.

I remember the quickening interest, the sense of excitement and my hurried question to my mother about whether we could watch the show.  I really don’t know why that still stays so clearly in my mind, but I remember that afternoon like it was yesterday.

The premise was simple – a western, inspired by the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – about two criminals that were trying to go straight.  They worked mostly in the Wyoming Territory, and went to the territorial governor to ask for amnesty for the crimes they committed.

The governor agrees, but tells them he cannot make it public and that they have to stay out of trouble until he feels they have earned their amnesty.  The problem is, with no one knowing of the deal with the governor, they are still wanted men and still being hunted by the law.

There was something about the dark haired, 31-one-year-old Duel that caught my attention; and as only a 13-year-old-can, I was quickly enamored of the actor.

Sorry for the fuzzy picture - the pocket behind the horns made it difficult to take the page out of the page protector.

I covered my walls with pictures of him from all those teen magazines and waited eagerly every week for Thursday nights.

These are some of the pictures in the pocket cut in the page protector.

By December of that year, I was totally hooked on the show and the actor; not knowing about any of the demons that haunted his life.

December 31st, 1971:

As my family got ready to drive to Syracuse for groceries, my brothers suddenly started yelling over the sound of the news on the radio.

Pete Duel had been killed by a gunshot wound to the head, an apparent suicide.

I was devastated; my young girl’s heart broken with the thought that he had been so unhappy, and the question of whether he would have sought forgiveness from God before the gun went off.

The news was full of the story and it was only then that his depression and his drinking came to light.  I never knew until a few years ago, when I read a biography of his life, that he also had epilepsy and had suffered a broken hip in a car accident when he was 18.

The broken hip caused great back pain, especially when he had to be on the horse so much for filming the show.  He had been told at one point that he would probably be crippled within 15-20 years because of the severity of the broken hip.

I  knew none of  this at that time.  I only knew that it felt like I had lost my best friend.

Even all these years later, the thought of his life, and death, can move me to tears.

I did these pages in his memory and decided to post them today, the 40th anniversary of his death.

Thank you for stopping in to share what was a large impact on my life.

© Drusilla Mott and, 2011



    • I know, Patti. I remember wondering back then if Pete was a Christian or not. I remember talking to my mother about it and actually remember praying for him.

      I find myself wondering now, when I watch a show, what the actors are really like in person – if they are Christians, if they are nice, nasty or whatever. There are some that get so much negative publicity it is obvious; while others talk quite openly about their relationship with their Savior. There have been quite a few that I have started to like and then find out about their true personalities that just turns me off and I can’t watch their shows anymore.


  1. Hi Dru, I like the way you presented Pete’s in memory, it is well done, you are very good at Scrapbooking but as I said before I haven’t really seen any the way you do them there great.

    I never knew of Pete Duel, most girls my age where really gone on Elvis and like you with Pete,
    I felt sorry for him and the way he died, did you find a new heart throb, I think the Beatles were the next big stars but I was more interested in the Movie Stars the funny ones Abbot and Costello Laurel and Hardy etc

    Many blessings for the New year – Christian Love Annie.


    • Hi Annie, I was beginning to worry about you and had decided this AM that I was going to send you an email and see if you were OK.

      As far as a new heart throb, I was too devastated over Pete’s death to be interested in any other actor for a long time.

      There was a singer back in the 80’s and 90’s that I really liked, Benny Mardones. I met him a few times and went to enough of his concerts so he knew who I was. I sent him a letter about my sister, and he called me at work one day to thank me for the letter and invite me backstage at his next concert in Syracuse.That was back when I was not really living for the Lord and did not mind going to a bar to see a concert. Since I have rededicted my life to Him, I have not seen Benny.

      I liked Elvis, but just as a singer. There have been others that I have liked – Tom Selleck, Robert Urich (who was a Christian), Sam Elliot, Mel Gibson. I really like Jim Caviezel (he is a Christian too). And of course, my favorite NASCAR driver, Jeff Gordon – but that’s a long story that I will be posting soon.

      Glad to hear from you again. Happy New Year.


      • Hi Dru, in the craft groups that I was part of the ladies Scrapbooking was more like a Photo album but much more ornate, some were very beautiful but on a small scale. They had lots of small pictures and stickers, tiny ornaments’ like beads and toys but as I shared I like yours better, it’s very beautiful or like this one about Pete, tells a story and brings back memories. I loved your Christmas Scrapbooking but I’m still waiting to receive the first one I saw with the flowers but then I did promise you a bunch of furry friends. 😛

        Take Care – Christian Love Annie


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