The High Chaparral

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Second Season
Plot and Character Highlights

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Mano takes cover from his old
family friend, El Lobo.

El Lobo intent on settling the score
with Mano who is pinned down
behind a rock.

Buck and Mano launch dynamite
missiles with an improvised arrow.

2.34 The Covey                El Lobo, Buck, Mano
Mexican bandit El Lobo breaks jail and plots to plunder the Cannon Ranch supplies to avenge his imprisonment by Manolito.
Written by Alex Sharp       Directed by William F. Claxton

Story Line: When heavy rain prevents wagons from reaching the ranch with needed supplies, Buck, Billy Blue, and Manolito attempt to get a mule train through. El Lobo traps the group in an isolated canyon.

Guest Stars:
Anthony Caruso
as El Lobo

Sara Vardi
as Pilar
Kelly Thordsen
as Bruger

Lane Bradford
as Roark

Character Highlights: Excellent episode for El Lobo and strong performances from his girlfriend, Pilar. This is a "Buck in charge" episode throughout where he is the responsible one in town and the crafty problem solver in the clutch. Good interplay between Mano and Buck from the beginning where Mano introduces Buck as "one of my ranch hands who cleans my stables" to the scene where Buck challenges Mano to try being in charge next time and Mano says, "Buck you know me. I have such a weak character", to when they are trapped and Mano, as usual, tricks Buck into letting him take the greater risk. Buck: "Mano, you cheat." Mano: "Never." Also includes some good Sam-Joe interaction as when Joe tells his brother who is trying to collect on a loan, "Sam, you know better than to loan me money when Iím drinkiní."


Complete Episode Synopsis
 It's a hot day for travel with the threat of rain and flooding in the offing, as the High Chaparral crew makes their way to Tucson with a mule train for a major supply run.  It's a dusty trip, but the men are looking forward to a few days in town.  All except, perhaps, Sam, who has just had a short verbal altercation with his brother over five dollars Joe claims he does not recall owing him.

Sam and Joe disagree about a debt.

Buck is not impressed with Blue's
musical abilities.

Once in town, Buck sets out to have a "chin" with store keeper Wiley as the boys retire to the "watering hole." Wiley has almost everything Buck needs, including his dynamite, but no .44 cartridges. Two mountain men have just bought him out. Buck is distressed because they badly need that ammunition and he sets out to find the mountain men, starting with the nearest saloon. He doesn't find them, but he does find Blue plinking away at a newly acquired guitar, and Sam and Joe in the middle of a fist fight.
He establishes that Blue has not seen the mountain men, breaks up the brawl between the Butlers by pointing out the girl they've been tussling over has long since left, then reminds everyone that they will be leaving early the next morning. On his way out of the saloon, though, he finds his two mountain men, Bruger and Roark, getting ready to leave town. Unbeknownst to him, they've seen the mule train already, assessing it's potential with greedy eyes. Despite Buck's attempts at charm and negotiation, they refuse to sell him even one box of cartridges.

Bruger and Roark see the Chaparral
supply train as an easy mark.

Lobo decides on a siesta to wait for his
prey to come to his trap.

The reason for Bruger and Roark's unfriendliness becomes clear after they ride out of town. El Lobo is back, having broken out of the Yuma prison, and they are running with his band. They convince El Lobo to attack the Chaparral mule train, despite the risks he would run of recapture, and against the protests of El Lobo's girlfriend, Pilar. The unsuspecting men, says Bruger, are low on ammunition, and would be just like shooting a covey of quail. But it is only when Lobo finds out that Manolito is with them, who was responsible for putting him in that Yuma prison in the first place, that he agrees to try.
The mule train will be coming through Renata Pass for water. It is a location El Lobo does not like, and he is determined to redirect them. But first, he will have a siesta, and then he will show the others how a wolf thinks.
The boys get a late start the next morning after a night of carousing in the saloon and Mano is very nearly left behind.  Out on the trail, Blue is disturbing the peace with his guitar, despite Buck's attempts to shut him up, and Buck and Sam are worried about the condition of the stock, who are half dead from thirst. Buck steers them toward Renata Pass for water, but when they get there they find the water hole poisoned. They have no choice but to continue on further up into the mountains to a spring Buck knows about, and right into El Lobo's ambush.

The boys have a hard time getting going in the morning after a hard night in town.

As the horses and pack animals scatter, Buck moves the boys under cover in a box canyon. They are safe for the moment, but "plugged in good," as Joe says.

Blue is fading with the heat and thirst.

El Lobo has problems of his own. He sends a few men up the gorge to worry his victims with rifle fire, then proposes to let the sun and the lack of water do the rest. Roark and Bruger don't trust the plan, however, and convince some of Lobo's men to join them in making a rush at the Chaparral men. They are unsuccessful though, losing several men in the attempt, and Lobo contemplates killing them for it until Pilar intervenes and reminds him that soon he will have less men than the Chaparral crew.
Back in the canyon, our boys are painfully low on bullets, and suffering from the sun. And Mano has told them who it is they're up against. When Buck confirms that the mountain men know about their ammunition situation the outlook seems dire indeed. The Butlers settle their differences in the face of impending death, and the others just hunker down and hope for a miracle. Buck, however, is hatching a strategy. He sends Pedro to gather up some long sticks, and Blue to cut him a sapling. And, after, breaking sticks with Manolito, he sends Mano to go retrieve Gladys, the mule with the dynamite.

Buck works out the fuse timing on the dynamite as he puts his plan together.

Pilar proves loyal to Lobo when she kills the men who tried to double-cross him.

In Lobo's camp, the atmosphere is also tense. Pilar is growing frustrated with the inactivity, and when Lobo does not listen to her, Bruger and Roark try to convince her to kill him, and let them take over. Pilar is more loyal than that, however, and she kills the mountain men instead.  El Lobo knows it is time to act. Moreover, Manolito's daring and successful attempt to retrieve the mule has infuriated him. He orders the attack - and charges right into Buck's ingenious defense: a war-bow strung with guitar strings and dynamite-loaded arrows. The airborne assault proves successful, destroying or scattering El Lobo's forces. It looks like total victory for our brave and ecstatic Chaparral gang.
All has not quite ended, however. As the others congratulate Buck, Manolito finds El Lobo wandering in the underbrush. Pilar pulls a rifle on him, but El Lobo, fearing for his life, makes her put it down. Manolito, however, is feeling guilty about sending his father's friend to jail the last time they had met, and he agrees to let him go. Pilar, on the other hand, chooses to stay with Manolito. He keeps her too, right up until the moment Buck and Blue ride up with his horse, and then he leaves her there in the desert while he rides off to join his friends and head for home. 

A temporary standoff.

(Synopsis by Sheryl Clay)


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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