Like James Garner before him, Roger Moore, the future 007, saw greener pastures ahead and escaped his Warner Brothers contract, leaving Beau Maverick behind. 'Red Dog' was his final, his most serious, and in many ways his finest, Maverick portrayal of all.
The greatness of this episode lies in the outstanding group of guest stars. Lee Van Cleef, as Wolf MacManus, previewed an early version of the villainous character who would go on to star in a series of internationally successful 'spaghetti westerns' (including The Good, The Bad And The Ugly). John Carradine, the Hollywood legend perhaps best known as the father of three acting sons, with his craggy, booming, sonorous voice grabs your attention every moment his Judge Reese is on screen (although, unfortunately, several times a less resplendent voice is dubbed in, perhaps due to a poor original sound recording). Mike Road, in the first of three Maverick appearances, delivers a colorful, personable performance as Buckskin Charlie King, the killer with a kind heart ("You know, I never could figure out why I got a warm place for women like her … or men like you"). Refusing to be upstaged by all the male firepower, Sherry Jackson delivers a lively turn as the young hellcat, Erma Kerr (though her admission that "I never wash much in the wintertime" was a bit unsettling).
Roger Moore, normally the carefree, bon vivant 'kid' cousin, was more reserved in his final appearance as Beau Maverick. High in the cold Montana hills, surrounded by hardened thieves and killers, there wasn't as much opportunity for quips and one-liners as usual. Indeed, this time out, the best lines seemed reserved for the episode's great guest stars. In sum, a solid ensemble effort closes Roger Moore's career as Beau Maverick.