The High Chaparral

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Second Season
Plot and Character Highlights

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Chato accepting rifles from Capt. Surtee

Brooding Captain Surtee

Victoria and Blue speculating about stolen cattle

2.46  Surtee
A dishonest Indian agent jeopardizes the future of an Apache reservation started by John Cannon.
Teleplay by William F. Leicester       Story by Tim Kelly       Directed by William F. Claxton

Story Line: Capt. Albert Surtee treats the hungry reservation Indians harshly. John takes the law into his own hands and fires Surtee. He suspects Surtee has hired renegade Chief Cubero to start trouble and to steal government cattle. John and Billy Blue attempt to prove John's suspicions by exposing themselves to attack by Surtee and renegade Indians.

Guest Stars: John Dehner as Capt. Albert Surtee, Jerry Daniels as Chief Cubero, Christopher Dark as Chato, Susannah Darrow as Quintana.

Character Highlights: Ponderously slow episode that focuses mostly on the brooding of Indian agent, Surtee and his interactions with the Indians. John is the ambassador trying to help everyone get along while Mano acts as his interpreter. Even Manoís interpreting lacks his usual flare for editorial license. Sam and Joe play larger roles than usual, but they, like the rest of the characters, donít seem to have much to do but stand around and worry.

Complete Episode Synopsis:  John, Victoria and the High Chaparral bunkhouse crew await the arrival of the first Indian Affairs officer to head the new San Carlos Indian reservation. The Cannons have a stake in the new reservation, as it is near to the High Chaparral ranch, and John has pledged his word of fair treatment to the Apache chief, Sandoval. When the new commandant, Capt. Surtee, arrives, he appears cold and distant, and offends the Apache chief immediately. John is able to diffuse the situation by appealing to Surtee to give a proper greeting to the chief, which he agrees to do. Thinking all is now under control, the Cannons depart.

Trouble begins among the Apaches as Cubero, a brave, is unable to keep his woman from another brave, Chato. The Apache punishment for Chato is to have his nose cut off, but Surtee intervenes and rescues Chato. Again, Chief Sandoval feels that he has lost face among his people, and he rides to the High Chaparral to obtain help from his friend, John Cannon. John persuades Surtee to apologize to Sandoval, and the chief awards the Apache woman, Quintana, to Surtee for his cooking and cleaning. After a few drinks, Surtee calls in Chato, who speaks English well. He incites the brave to fight, to aspire to become another Geronimo, and hands him a rifle.

During the next few cattle shipments to the reservation, Chato and his followers carry out raids, and up to two hundred head are stolen. After one raid, Surtee rides to the High Chaparral ranch and all but accuses John of stealing his own cattle back so he can resell them, profiting by them twice. Surtee then recovers himself, and takes back the accusation. John smells a rat, however, and sets out to track down the real thieves. A council with Sandoval only reveals to John that the old chief has lost control of some of his braves, but doesn't want to admit to it.

The next shipment from the Cannon ranch is heavily guarded. When the Apaches attack, Blue runs down the leader, Chato, and brings him back to John. Chato at first refuses to tell who had masterminded the plan, but when he is threatened with hanging, he admits that Surtee is the one. Back at the reservation, Surtee makes a move toward Quintana in his quarters, and Sandoval and his braves force him out of the reservation. He is captured in the same canyon where he was keeping the stolen cattle, and turned over to the army for punishment.

Back at the ranch, John is discouraged because the San Carlos reservation has been dissolved. Victoria points out to him, however, that Chief Sandoval was willing to adhere to the American rule of law by turning Surtee over to the army. She tells him that there will someday be a San Carlos reservation, and that what had happened was the beginning of another Cannon dream, and he is again buoyed with hope.  (Synopsis by Lisa McKenzie)

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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