The boys are out testing the General ahead of Sunday’s Smokey Hollow race when they drive past Rosco, who quickly pursues them. Rosco gets Enos to block the road, and thinks he has them trapped, until a stranger in a sports car spoils the plan. The “city slicker” in the sports car then challenges Bo to a race before disappearing up the road and out of sight. Bo is so surprised that he says, “I hope we don’t run into him at that race on Sunday.” Luke replies, “You can’t hardly run into something you can’t catch up to.”
When the boys get back to the farm, they find the sports car and its driver already there. Uncle Jesse informs them that he’s Gaylord Duke, their third cousin from London, England, although he’s not blood kin. Gaylord has inherited the original land grant for some property in Hazzard County, and from the description the Dukes think it sounds like the old Henshaw place, which has about $30,000 owing on it in back taxes. The taxes are due by noon on Monday or the banks will foreclose on the land. The only person Jesse can think of with that sort of money (except Boss) is old Ira Murchison, but when they go to visit, they find he’s passed away.
What the Dukes don’t know is that Boss already has his eye on that land because he stands to make $250,000 by selling it to the Dixie King supermarket chain. To prevent the Dukes raising the money for the back taxes, Boss gets Rosco to arrest Bo, Luke and Gaylord. Daisy manages to distract Enos with some fried chicken, and the escapees go to meet up with Jesse and Daisy at the old Shawnee Indian cave. After some discussion they decide that they need to visit the land office to find out who’s interested in the land, but the land office is next to the Sheriff’s office, so a ploy is needed to get Rosco out of the way (watch carefully; the land office is actually the bank). Bo sets off the horns on the patrol cars and soon has Rosco and Enos chasing him. That leaves Jesse and Luke free to question Homer Hotchkiss about the land.
Back at the cave they tell Gaylord that Boss plans to acquire the land quietly by not publicizing the auction. Luke comes up with a plan to get Boss to pay the tax, and initiates Gaylord in the art of “shuck and jive” before taking him off to town.
When Gaylord reveals that he knows about Dixie King, Boss figures half of $250,000 is better than nothing, so he agrees to pay the tax and become partners. When they return to the cave, Jesse is absent. Since Daisy has taken a shine to Gaylord (she likes the idea of being a Duke who’s a duchess), the two of them go off for a picnic.
While they’re away, Jesse returns with bad news. A couple of Gaylord’s answers have made him suspicious, so he’s sent a telegram to England. It turns out that the real Gaylord is a preacher man who runs a halfway house for people just coming out of prison. One of these ex-prisoners, a young con man by the name of Roger Blevin, has disappeared along with some papers, some pictures and the land grant. When Gaylord and Daisy get back they confront him with evidence, which he concedes is true. Daisy is furious about being lied to, but before anyone can do anything, Gaylord pulls a gun and ties them up.
It doesn’t take long for the Dukes to free themselves, and a plan is made. A false detour gets rid of Rosco, and a barrier brings Boss to a halt right under the tree where Luke is holding Milford, a genuine Hazzard polecat. Luke drops Milford into the Caddy, and Jesse swaps out the land grant for a poster of Daisy while Boss is running away.
Boss pays the back taxes at the county seat in Coreyville before the switch is discovered. Outside, the Dukes explain to him that Gaylord is an imposter, and that he can’t get his money back. Gaylord makes a run for it, but Daisy chases him down, and even puts the cuffs on him.
This is another of the episodes where Cooter is absent. His replacement for this and two later episodes is another cousin, Longstreet B. Davenport, played by Ernie Lively (credited as Ernie W. Brown). Ernie previously appeared as Dobro Doolan in One Armed Bandits.
The producers obviously felt that a stereotypical, well-spoken, upper-class Englishmen with a hint of aristocracy was best for the show. There are some nice touches like the open-top Jaguar XK-E, and calling Boss “an absolute blackguard”, but a “God Save The Queen” sign? They even got Daisy to say “Cousin Gaylord, I love the way you English talk English.” Having said that, there seems to be a Hollywood tradition of casting English/British actors as villains.
Anyone searching for the moral tone of the original series needs to look no further than this episode. As soon as Gaylord’s true identity is revealed, Jesse says to him, “Too bad you ain’t got Duke blood in your veins. If you did have, you’d know what’s right and what’s wrong and what’s good and bad in this world.”
The plot device of the land being foreclosed on by the bank because of back taxes due makes little sense. Banks foreclose when its mortgage hasn’t been paid, but property taxes due becomes an issue with the town (or county) and a tax lien is placed on the property. If the lien isn’t paid within so many years, the town/county then issues a tax deed, taking the property and superseding the bank’s mortgage. The town can then sell the land, usually for the amount of the back taxes due and the bank is left holding the bag on the mortgage. It’s not specified if the property here had a mortgage on it (from Boss’s bank, of course) but if it did, Boss’s potential deal with the Dixie King supermarket chain is the kind of thing most bankers stuck with foreclosed property can only dream about. As they say, only in Hazzard, but as we all know, Boss lost both ways anyway.
Back in Swamp Molly Boss tried to master disco dancing. In this episode he tries to get fit with an exercise bike and massage.
Because the circuit judge is away for two weeks, Rosco uses the “alternate penal code” to set punishment for Bo, Luke and Gaylord. They end up painting road signs, although not to Enos’s satisfaction. Gaylord’s first attempt is a “Stay Left” sign, to which Enos says “I believe it should read ‘Stay Right,’ not left.” Gaylord replies “Not in England, dear boy.” Some of the others are pictured below.
Simon MacCorkindale (Gaylord Duke) was a British actor who worked on both sides of the Atlantic. He had regular parts in Falcon Crest and long-running British hospital drama Casualty, and also starred in the short-lived 1983 series Manimal.
The original script by Herman Groves needed extensive rewriting, but Myles Wilder and Bruce Howard couldn’t think of an ending. Over lunch they decided that Gaylord should escape, and Daisy would go after him.
–synopsis and vidcaps by Hoss (with info from The Dukes of Hazzard Unofficial Companion).
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