The High Chaparral

Previous Episode

Second Season
Plot and Character Highlights

Next Episode

Mano on his replacement mount 

Pedro with a bird in the hand

The Thanksgiving Table 

2.30   For What We Are About To Receive           All
John Cannon quarrels with a neighbor and Indians, and interrupts Thanksgiving plans.
Written by Michael Fessier       Directed by William F. Claxton

Story Line: Victoria persuades John to buy the last turkey from argumentative neighbor Fergus McLeish. The deal fails when McLeish, a squatter, insists on a free deed to some Cannon land. Chief Koso steals McLeish's bird, and ranch hand Pedro swaps the Indian a rifle for the turkey. The Thanksgiving dinner is threatened when Chief Koso wants the turkey back and McLeish thinks John is the thief.

    Guest Stars:

Marie Gomez
as Perlita Flores

Ned Romero
as Carlos Mendoza

Gene Rutherford
as Bart Kellogg

Christopher Cary
as Fergus McLeish

Barry Sadler
as Robbie McLeish

Hal Jon Norman
as Chief Koso

Don Starr
as Dan Carter

Francesca Jarvis
as Martha Carter

Character Highlights: This episode is as even a casting episode as you are likely to find, with all of the main characters and most of the supporting players turning in excellent performances. Only Don Sebastian and Vaquero are missing here. There are many genuinely humorous moments without stooping to silliness. The scenes of Mano riding a mangy, uncooperative donkey are great. He also has some very good scenes with Perlita and Carlos. Bart Kellogg is especially good in this episode. There are lots of threads running here but somehow they all come together quite well. Sam very seriously to John, "You know it sounds like we’re surrounded by turkeys."

Complete Episode Synopsis

It's the day before Thanksgiving, when all through the ranch, Victoria wants a turkey -- plain and simple. Only there aren't any to be had ... John argues that the wild turkeys are as "tough as tripe" and the only rancher raising domesticated turkeys is Fergus McLeish, a nearby rancher with whom John is feuding.. In John's mind, this means that Thanksgiving is going to feature beef as the main dish, but Victoria begs Buck and Blue to somehow find her the real thing when they go to Tucson. Buck gives her a wink and together with Manolito, riding in the buckboard so they can pick up supplies, set off in search of their "holy grail."

Buck gives Victoria a wink, acknowledging that
they will do their best to find her a turkey.

Perlita insists on her present before
sharing her affections with Mano.

When the boys do get to town, however, Mano decides to find some trouble while the other boys look for a turkey. After a brief encounter with Carlos Mendoza, who accuses Mano of making love to Carlos' fiancée during his absence, Manolito spends all his money to get Carlos drunk and land him in jail ... enabling Mano to once again visit Carlos' intended, Perlita Flores. Perlita, on the other hand, doesn't care who she makes love to -- Carlos or Manolito -- as long as she is given a present. Realizing he won't gain access to any of her favors without a gift, and having spent all of his money trying to make Carlos "drunk and disorderly," Mano goes off in search of Buck and Blue, who are trying to win a turkey in a turkey shoot.

While many folks -- including a poor settler and his family -- have to drop out of the contest because of the cost, Buck and Blue give it a try but get beaten by their old buddy, Bart Kellogg. Mano, who arrives late at the contest, then challenges Bart to a shoot-off, betting twenty dollars (which he doesn't have) against the turkey Bart has won. By some miracle, Mano wins the bet ... and then tries to borrow money off his friends so he can buy Perlita a dress. They don't have the necessary funds, but Mano talks the shopkeeper into changing the Chaparral supply order so he can have the dress instead.

Blue gives the turkey shoot his best shot.

Mission accomplished, Mano takes the buckboard -- with the caged turkey sitting in the back -- and returns to Perlita's home to give her the dress and receive his rewards, not realizing that Carlos has been released from jail. Carlos, eager to get even with Mano, sees the unattended buckboard and rides off with it, taking the precious turkey with him.

Mano chases after the buckboard as
Carlos rides away with the prized turkey.

Steven McLeish doesn't take kindly to the Chaparral men's desire to get a turkey.

 In the meantime, John, who hates disappointing his wife, decides to try bargaining with McLeish to acquire a turkey. Taking Sam and the boys with him, he visits the McLeish ranch but is ordered off the premises. On their way back to Chaparral, they spot Carlos racing across the desert in the stolen buckboard and pursue it, delighted when the cage containing the turkey falls off the back.

The men pounce on the turkey and are nearly ready to rejoice when Fergus McLeish and his sons, Steven and Robbie, ride in, accusing John of stealing the turkey because one of theirs is missing. Fortunately for the Cannons, Buck, Blue and Mano ... all riding borrowed mounts of questionable lineage ... come up behind McLeish and persuade him and his sons to go on their way. While Mano struggles to explain to John how the buckboard ended up being stolen, the boys realize that Pedro, who was originally holding the turkey, no longer has it.

Buck comes up behind the McLeishes, relieving them of their "weepons".

The Carter family gives thanks for the heavenly gift of a turkey.

The boys frantically search the desert for the missing bird, but have to give up the search when they finally find the turkey in the presence of the Tucson settler who was too poor to buy his children a real Thanksgiving dinner. John, not having the heart to deprive them of the turkey, insists that it doesn't belong to them and they leave it with the family. Pedro, however, who has been blamed for the mess, has been off on his own, trying to find the turkey himself, and does find one ... but it belongs to Chief Koso and his small band of Apaches, who took the bird from the McLeish farm. Pedro trades them his broken rifle for the bird and rides home to Chaparral with it, thrilling Victoria and the rest of his family with his amazing discovery.

The next day, the entire ranch sits down for Thanksgiving dinner but are treated to many more blessings as unexpected visitors keep dropping by. Perlita, wanting to return the buckboard that her fiancée stole from Chaparral, is invited by Mano and Pedro (also her occasional boyfriend) to join them for dinner. Bart Kellogg, deciding to drop by, is invited to dinner by Buck ... and McLeish, who comes over with his sons to apologize to Big John for having called him a thief, is invited to sit down at the table as well.

Dinner gets underway with a few guests.

Dinner is interrupted yet again, this time
by Chief Koso and friends.

Most fitting of all, of course, is when Chief Koso and his band of Apaches show up, angry that they were traded a broken fire stick for their sacred bird. John then makes peace with them by inviting them to wipe off their war paint and stay for dinner. So, with the largest social gathering at Chaparral ever, Victoria has her "dream" Thanksgiving dinner at last!  (Synopsis by Brenda Meskunas)


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

Return to Season Two Directory

Return to Home/Contents