Victoria Montoya Cannon
Played by LINDA CRISTAL
born in the 1840's, was Don Sebastian Montoya's only daughter. She was Don
Sebastian's treasure and grew up in Sonora, Mexico, against a backdrop of wealth
and privilege. Her father did not inherit his wealth, however; he
carved The Rancho Montoya out of the wilderness with "his own two
hands" and was no stranger to hard work. His son, Manolo, was
Victoria's younger brother and known to be lazy and shiftless ... yet he could be tough
when the occasion called for it. Very little is known of Victoria's mother, but
we know that she was alive at least until Victoria's 18th birthday, when she
gifted her with the jewel-encrusted necklace her own mother had given to her.
These people were Victoria's strongest influences during her upbringing and,
while she did not grow up spoiled, she did mature into a stubborn, often
headstrong young woman.
Victoria's extraordinary beauty -- highlighted by her lithe figure, flowing jet black hair and angelic face -- made her an excellent marital prospect (not to mention her breeding and fortune). But Victoria, according to her father, "had a mind like a wild horse," and would not marry just anyone. She wanted a man even stronger than her own father and discarded suitor after suitor. Don Sebastian feared that Victoria was passing the age where girls in Mexico were married, and Manolito began referring to her as his "old maid sister."
When John Cannon and his brother Buck visited the Rancho Montoya for the first time, Victoria was introduced to them at dinner. Mano had earlier stolen John's horse and given it to Victoria as a gift, so Victoria's first comment to John was that she would be happy to return the present. John immediately impressed her with his gallantry by graciously asking that she keep it. She then asked him what brought him to their country, and John -- normally not a conversationalist -- launched into his mission to settle in Arizona and live peacefully among the Apaches. Victoria clearly admired him, sensing him to be a strong, powerful man.
Don Sebastian wished for Victoria to enter into an arranged marriage with John Cannon to safeguard their new treaty, and Victoria readily accepted. John was under the impression, early in their marriage, that Victoria was only acting upon her father's wishes ... but it became clear, only a short time later, that she had really married him for love. When she turned her back on Sonora, she turned her back on her life as a princess and threw herself into the more challenging role of a settler's wife. She was ready to pick up a gun and fight ... she was capable of nursing any injured cowboy or Apache who bled onto her living room floor ... she was ready to roll up her sleeves and do whatever was needed. What she didn't count on, though, was that her "love at first sight" for John would be unrequited for some time. John was still grieving for his first wife and had no room in his heart for Victoria. Yet Victoria had faith and stayed on .... telling her bewildered brother, who had accompanied her to High Chaparral, that someday John Cannon would love her as much as she loved him. Mano was very close to his sister, both in age and affection, and could not understand what force drove Victoria to stay at High Chaparral.
Victoria's faith did not go unrewarded. John found it difficult to let go of Annalee, but eventually his new wife taught the stoic, hardened man how to love again. Every trial they faced seemed to gradually bring them closer together ... and when Victoria was critically injured by a horse, John was willing to risk everything - including the ranch - to save her.
Victoria's only sadness was that her marriage to John failed to bring children. Yet there were compensations ... the main ones being John, Blue, and Buck. Blue, John's son, was extremely reluctant to accept Victoria as a mother figure, but Victoria gradually wore him down. She appealed to the sensitive, noble and poetic side of Blue, and he couldn't help responding favorably to her. The day Blue accepted an expensive birthday gift from her - a silver Mexican saddle - was the day she knew she had won his love. Buck, John's brother, was another man who couldn't help loving Victoria. Early in her marriage to John, Buck witnessed Victoria's struggles with her new husband and he reached out to her in friendship. It was clear that Buck, in his own way, loved Victoria greatly .... and Victoria always kept a special place in her heart for her brother-in-law.
It was easy to see why Victoria Montoya Cannon was so widely adored. She was courageous and often stubborn, but she brought a sense of beauty and elegance into the male Chaparral household. Unlike Annalee, who only pretended to dream John's dream, Victoria did share his dream and chose to live a life of hardship and danger over a life of comfort. She could have, according to Mano, "lived in a castle and had everything," but this would have been no life for Victoria. She was the one woman strong enough to help John Cannon build a ranch for his family and a future for his son. Given the deep love that grew between Victoria and her husband ... and all they accomplished together .... It's apparent that their marriage was "arranged" by a much higher authority than her father! (By Brenda Meskunas)
From "The Lost Ones"
See the Guide to Character Weight to determine in which episodes Victoria had major or minor roles.
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