The High Chaparral

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Second Season
Plot and Character Highlights

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Stinky Flanagan serenading Tillie

Frank Gorshin as Stinky Flanagan

Buck, Reno, and Blue, upset with Buck's purchase of a camel instead of a mule

2.48  Stinky Flanagan            Mano, Buck, Blue, Pearlita
A flamboyant Irishman cons Buck into buying a camel, promising it will revolutionize the cattle industry.
Story by Henry Wills         Directed by William F. Claxton

Story Line: Cavalry trooper Flanagan misinterprets an order to "shoe" his camel Tillie as "shoot" and deserts his unit to save the camel's life. Flanagan wears out his welcome at the Cannon Ranch when he cheats at poker, steals Manolito's girl, Pearlita, and admits Tillie can't herd cattle. When Flanagan attempts to escape the Cannon Ranch with Tillie and rejoin the cavalry, he discovers the unit is surrounded by Indians.

Guest Stars: Frank Gorshin as Flanagan, Marie Gomez as Pearlita, Richard X. Slattery as Capt. Phinster, Ken Mayer as Sgt. Cochrane, Mike Wagner as Mike the Bartender.

Character Highlights: A light-hearted episode where John leaves Blue in charge in his absence. Blue takes his role seriously and does well except for having to deal with Buckís gullibility. Good scenes with Perlita interacting with Mano and with Flanagan. Frank Gorshin is an oddly sympathetic character who has some very good Irish singing scenes. Classic Buck-Victoria exchange at the end: Buck: "Aeedios." Victoria: "Itís ahhdios." Buck: "Yeh, but I speak American."

Complete Episode Synopsis:  Cavalry trooper Patrick Flanagan has a problem. His life had been saved, once, by the army's pet project, a camel named Tillie, making Flanagan the animal's tacit keeper and supporter, but he has now been ordered to shoot the beast by his misinterpreted commander, an order he cannot bring himself to carry out. Finding no other alternative to his predicament, he turns Tillie loose in the Arizona desert, hoping she can fend for herself. Back at the Chaparral, John Cannon is leaving for a trip to Phoenix, leaving Blue in charge, with forty dollars and orders to ride into Tucson to pick up a mule John has ordered. As Big John rides away, Buck Cannon is also preparing for a little trip; he's on his way into Tucson to try to cure his nasty head cold. Sam Butler points out that he'll just be trading his cold for a hangover, but Buck is determined, so Blue gives him the forty dollars and tells him to pick up the mule while he's there. A mule, not whiskey or women, the two men insist, and Buck assures them that he gets the picture. He's still not quite able to get away, though, for Manolito also has a message for him to deliver. He tells Buck to tell his Tucson girlfriend, Perlita, that if she will forgive him for standing her up the week before, he will get for her the nicest of Victoria's dresses that he can steal. Laden now with money and orders and messages galore, Buck finally makes his break. He doesn't get far, though, before he encounters a terrifying sight - the escaping Tillie. His horse spooks, throwing him, and he is forced to walk the rest of the way to Tucson.

In the mean time, Tillie has once again found Trooper Flanagan. Flanagan, unable to shake his burden or destroy her, feels he has no choice, now, but to desert, and try to find someone to buy Tillie from him. As he makes his decision, though, his commanding officer has returned to camp, and has been told about the miscarriage of his orders. As far as the men know, Tillie has been shot, but this was not the order the captain gave; he wanted Flanagan to shoe the animal, not shoot her. Now he's in trouble, because the camel was the general's pride and joy, and he orders Flanagan found to take the blame for the mishap. By now, Buck has made it to town. He's accosted by Perlita, who wants to forgive Manolito herself, but Buck is too shaken by his experience, and too ill, to remember Manolito's message to her, or hers to him. He stumbles to the saloon where he finds Joe and Reno in on a supply run. They assure him, unhappily, that he's not going crazy, there really is a camel, who's aromatic owner is sitting there in the corner. Buck can't smell a thing, but he's intrigued enough to want to go talk with Flanagan.

Flanagan senses he has found his patsy. Weaving a wonderful tale full of blarney and balderdash, he lays fantastic claims to Tillie's value, some true some fanciful, that she can carry large loads for days, travel longer distances than any mule without water, even, he claims, herd livestock. Despite stern warnings to the contrary from his hands, Buck is taken in, and buys the camel. More amused than otherwise, Joe and Reno then challenge him to ride the beast, a comedy of errors that defies even a ladder until Flanagan teaches Buck how to make the animal "coush", or get down on her knees so that he can mount. Happily, Buck rides off to Chaparral, with Flanagan mounted behind him, spooking everything in sight. Once back at Chaparral, Buck manages to frightens everything in sight there, too. Blue is furious that his uncle has taken such liberties on "his watch" and the rest of the gang are just as displeased with this ill- smelling creature and her equally ill-smelling former owner. Under pressure from Victoria, however, who is more amused at the novelty than not, Blue agrees to let Flanagan stay, at least until John returns. The hands retaliate by giving him a little bath in the horse trough, just to make his stay a little more pleasant for all of them.

Although Flanagan appears grateful for the opportunity he has been offered, he immediately gets into trouble. Sent by Manolito to intercept Perlita with a message, Flanagan woos her for himself, instead. When Manolito catches them, and in a fit of anger tears up the dress he has stolen for Perlita, Tillie takes it as a threat to Flanagan and attacks, terrifying Manolito's horse and leaving him on foot to return to the Chaparral humiliated and furious. Arriving home to much ribbing, he takes off after Flanagan, but Blue stops him. He wants Flanagan and Tillie to get to working the cattle, as Flanagan had promised. Tillie, as it turns out, though, is terrified of cows, and bolts into the desert as soon as she sees one. Flanagan, distraught, and also needing a means of escape, takes off after her on Manolito's horse. Mano goes after both of them, but before he can exact his revenge, they hear the cavalry blowing retreat. Investigating, they find Flanagan's company surrounded by Apache. Flanagan charges in, and Tillie scares the Apache so badly they run off in terror.

All is eventually forgiven, though not before Flanagan is placed under arrest for stealing government property, and roundly read out. Buck, however, still has a problem. He has lost the camel, and the forty dollars for the mule John is expecting - five months salary for him. Patrick Flanagan saves the day once more by sending him a mule he has allegedly purchased from a neighboring rancher to square things with the High Chaparral. So it looks like a happy ending, except that Buck knows of no local with the initials OSC. It takes a closer look at the brand by Blue, though, to realize that the mule they've been given was stolen. The "O" is, in fact, a doctored "U, and the mule the property of the United States Cavalry. Flanagan has had them again.  (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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