The High Chaparral

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Melanie toying with Buck

Blue trying to keep peace between 
Buck and John

Mano toying with Melanie

1.15   The Widow from Red Rock         Buck, Mano
Buck Cannon goes to work as foreman for a lovely neighboring widow, and clashes with his brother John when the job appears permanent.

Produced by William F. Claxton
Directed by Robert Sparr and William F. Claxton
Written by Michael Fessier      
Originally Broadcast:  November 26, 1967

Story Line: Buck falls in love with the widow, Melanie Cawthorne, and becomes her tool as she strives for quick riches and respectability. She buys stolen Mexican cattle from Romero without Buck's knowledge, setting up serious conflicts with John as water grows scarce.

Guest Stars: 

Patricia Barry 
as Melanie Cawthorne

Carlos Romero 
as Romero

I. Stanford Jolley 
as the foreman



Duke Cigrang 
as Strobe

Character Highlights: Episode centers around Buck’s relationship with Melanie, but also around the conflict it sets up with John over limited resources. At the outset, it is Buck who is most suspicious of Melanie’s story and intentions, but he is the one who later succumbs to her charms. Mano, however, is able to recognize how manipulative and conniving she is and intervenes indirectly to protect Buck. There is a playful scene where Mano first meets Melanie when he finds her in his bed after coming in late. Mano later woos Melanie to expose her shallowness but then makes no attempt to defend himself against Buck’s retaliation. In conversation with Mano, Melanie refers to Buck as his "best friend", so there is recognition that Mano and Buck are increasingly aligned.
Good scenes where Blue intervenes very forcefully in the conflict between Buck and John. Romero, a rather sympathetic bandit and distant relative of the Montoyas, becomes another victim of Melanie’s selfishness. Mano makes an earnest but futile attempt to save Romero. His death is unfortunate because he could have made a good recurring bandit similar to El Lobo. The bunk house boys are pretty involved here in vying for Melanie’s attention and grumbling about Buck’s involvement with her. In the standoff with John though, even the boys who have been working for Buck and Melanie side with John. After Buck has called things off with Melanie, Mano follows him out the door with a wordless tip of his hat to Melanie that makes it clear he is the one who has bested her.

Complete Episode Synopsis: The action begins as John Cannon and his hands are about to quit work for the day. A wagon rolls up to them containing an attractive redhead, who stops long enough to establish her identity as the widow of the late neighboring rancher Clay Cawthorne and to reject both advice and offers of help from Big John. Upon arrival at her new home, however, Melanie Cawthorne is confronted with several dead ranch hands and the knowledge that she will indeed need some help in getting the ranch back on its feet. She proceeds to procure that help from the Cannons in as dramatic a way as possible, conveniently fainting in Buck's arms.

The Widow Cawthorne arrives in Arizona.

Buck sees through Melanie at first.

The revived Mrs. Cawthorne reveals her plans of staying at Red Rock ranch and throws in enough "moonlight and magnolias"-flavored baloney that even John has a difficult time not rolling his eyes at her. Buck sees through her immediately and wants nothing to do with her, but as John had already offered to help her, Buck was commissioned to take Sam and some of the other hands to Red Rock until new hands could be hired.
Melanie proves to be a fast worker and ruthless in her purpose. When Romero, a comanchero who was betrayed by her late husband, appears at her door wanting the payment that he had never received, Melanie contracts to buy all the cattle he can steal for her without batting an eye. In order to keep Buck ignorant of her dealings with the comancheros and to keep him working for her, Melanie uses her feminine charms against Buck's better judgment. His defenses fall when she tells him a sob story about her running a saloon and not receiving the kind of respect she thought she deserved. He is smitten with her and shortly becomes engaged to her, with a good deal of prodding from Melanie.

Pedro, Reno, and Joe are unhappy with the Widow's attention toward Buck.

A confrontation over water rights is brewing.

Meanwhile, a crisis is brewing over water rights for the Cawthorne herd, threatening to pit the Cannon brothers against each other. Through her conniving Melanie has made Buck willing to come to blows with his brother for refusing water to the Red Rock herd. He is still more than willing to fight for her despite catching Manolito and Melanie together at her cabin in a compromising situation.
Manolito's own doubts about the feisty redhead mushroom when he happens upon the camp of his distant cousin Romero and learns of his dealings with a wealthy widow. The next morning when Romero shows up with the stolen cattle wanting payment, Melanie begrudgingly pays him. She then hits on an idea to get her money back from the rancheros and still keep the cattle; she tears her dress and rides to Buck, tearfully claiming that the comancheros had robbed her. 

Melanie concludes her deal with Romero.

Mano tries to get Romero to give himself up.

Buck and the Chaparral men ride out after Romero. Believing him to be innocent, Manolito finds him first and tries to convince his cousin to give himself up so he can help him later. Romero doesn't cooperate and is shot, but he lives long enough to tell Buck of his business agreement with Melanie. A hurt and disillusioned Buck rides back with Manolito to Melanie, where they tell her what happened and leave her with enough stagecoach fare to get out of the territory. 

Romero refuses Mano's best advice.


A surprised but pleased John awkwardly welcomes Buck back to the ranch 
and his rightful position there - to Blue's obvious relief.

(Synopsis by Lisa McKenzie)

Supervisory Producer:  Irving Elman
Production Manager:  Kent McCray
Music by Harry Sukman; Theme by David Rose      
Director of Photography:  Harold Stine, A.S.C.
Color Consultant:  Edward P. Ancona
Unit Production Manager:  Andrew J. Durkus
Assistant Director: Sherry Shourds
Stunt Coordinator:  Henry Wills
Story Editor: Ward Hawkins
Art Direction:  Hal Pereira, McClure Capps
Edited by Harry Gerstad, A.C.E.
Set Decoration:  Bill F. Calvert
Post Production Co-ordinator:  Bill Wistrom
Casting:  Russell Trost
Sound Recording: Joe Edmondson, Joel Moss
Make-up Supervision:  Wally Westmore, S.M.A.
Hair Style Supervision:  Nelly Manley, C.H.S.
Titles by CINEFX
Filmed at Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California

Much of this material, including the Story Line descriptions, comes from The High Chaparral Press Kit released in 1971. The Character Highlights were written by Charlotte Lehan.  The Episode Synopses were written by members of the HC Discussion Group and are attributed at the end of each one.
Especially good portrayals of these characters

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