William Smith worked to change all that.
Born in 1933, Smith graduated from UCLA magna cum laude, and was teaching Russian (one of several languages he spoke fluently), when he began modeling for Bob Mizner's Athletic Model Guild, which published many other posing-strap-clad hunks (Gary Conway, Glen Corbett, Randy Jackson) for a mostly-gay male fanbase. He was also a regular at Henry Willson's infamous gay-and-gay-friendly parties.
When he signed on for Laredo (1965-67), he was already accustomed to presenting his body as an object of male and female desire. It would not be one of the stereotypic Westerns of the period.
Alias Smith and Jones a few years later, was about buddy-bonding. Two hunky Texas rangers, Chad Cooper (Peter Brown) and Joe Riley (William Smith), worked together, played together, and had eyes only for each other, in spite of Chad's occasional dalliance with the feminine. The actors remained close friends for the rest of their lives.
See also: Peter Brown, the Buddy-Bonding Cowboy.