It was no accident that Leif Erickson was cast as the stalwart father of The High Chaparral. Producer David Dortort had spied him years earlier playing God in a Bonanza episode, and his performance made such an impression that no one else was even considered for the part of John Cannon. It was a good choice. After spending most of his life in the entertainment industry, Leif Erickson is still best remembered for his work in The High Chaparral. It wasn't all fun and games, either...or fame and glory, for that matter. He endured hours in the desert heat, had his wrist broken by fellow actor Henry Darrow in a riding accident, and suffered the brunt of some of Cameron Mitchell's most outlandish jokes. Was it worth it? You bet. It is not possible to think of anyone else as John Cannon...Civil War veteran, Apache fighter, rancher, father, mentor, and peace keeper in the Arizona Territory of the 1870's. It takes an experienced actor, and an exceptionally gifted one, to make that happen.
The Dusty Trail to the High Chaparral
The Day Leif Erickson Faced Death
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