The High Chaparral

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Second Season
Plot and Character Highlights

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Armando Isfas as Carlos Ruis

 Victoria teaching in the schoolhouse

Michael Ansara as Alberto Ruis
2.54  For the Love of Carlos            Victoria, Blue


Victoria reopens Tucson's only school and befriends a troubled Mexican boy, but is kidnapped by the boy's father.
Written by James L. Henderson        Directed by William F. Claxton
Original Broadcast: April 4, 1969

Story Line:  Alberto Ruis, wanted in a slaying, abandons his son Carlos to flee a posse. Carlos remembers his father's promise to return, agrees to live with a local family and attend Victoria's school. He reacts quickly to her affection and to learning despite being taunted by the class bully. As Blue and Victoria are returning Carlos to his host family they are intercepted by Alberto who plans to kidnap Victoria for ransom and return to Mexico with Carlos.

Guest Stars:

Michael Ansara
as Alberto Ruis

Armando Isfas
as Carlos Ruis

Fernando Pereira
as Fernando


Sara Vardi
as Constancia

Pamelyn Ferdin
as Charity

Kevin Burchett
as Ted

Character Highlights: A strong vehicle for Victoria and also for Blue, showing them making decisions together that they know will not be to John’s liking. Blue gets to act as the adult enforcer in the school scenes, which is a switch from him being the kid in most of the settings he is in. He backs up Victoria with restraint and maturity. Contains one of the best affectionate scenes between John and Victoria when John willingly gives in to her wishes at the school house. Blue is also very straight forward in siding with Victoria against his father, not whiny or argumentative. Good sibling interaction between Victoria and Mano. Buck is pretty much a background player limited to some opening scenes. Armando Islas, who also plays the role of Chodi in "Ten Little Indians", does an excellent job, especially in his scenes with his outlaw father, portrayed very well by Michael Ansara.  Odd that they used child actor, Pamelyn Ferdin again in a different role so soon after she played Jennie Simmons in "No Bugles, No Drums".

Complete Episode Synopsis

    Outlaw Alberto Ruiz, accompanied by his young son, Carlos, is fleeing the law when his horse gives out. Carlos persuades his father to take his horse instead, realizing the law is only after his father, not him, and Ruiz agrees. He tells his son that they will meet again in Tucson. Carlos, now alone and on foot, is walking through the desert when he is discovered by Victoria, who is driving the Chaparral buckboard. She asks Carlos where he is from, but Carlos only tells her that his parents are dead, and nothing more. Despite the fact that the boy is surly and uncommunicative, Victoria takes pity on him and decides to take the “orphan” back to Chaparral.

Victoria offers Carlos water when she
finds him wandering in the desert.

The Cannon household tries to decide
what to do with Carlos next.

Once back at the ranch, Carlos makes it evident he doesn’t wish to stay there. He fights Blue and Mano when they try to give him a bath, and then violates their hospitality by stealing Mano’s horse. Mano succeeds in capturing the little horse thief and bringing him back to Chaparral, but John is adamant that Carlos needs to be turned over to the orphanage. Victoria argues that the boy only needs to be taught right from wrong, which logically leads her to the decision that he needs to go to school in Tucson.

Mano and Blue introduce Carlos to
his new foster family.

Carlos, remembering that this is where his father is, eagerly agrees to go to Tucson with Victoria, Mano and Blue. Once they get there they find a family for Carlos to stay with in Tucson but they are alarmed to find that the school has been closed because the new teacher is not expected to arrive for another month. 

Fernando Rodriguez welcomes
Carlos to his large family.

Victoria is convinced that Carlos will just get into trouble again without a regimented routine, so she decides to stay in Tucson to teach the classes herself until the new teacher arrives.
Victoria goes ahead with her plan and it appears to work beautifully. Carlos, now feeling needed by his new “brothers and sisters,” makes new friends.  He finds through education that there is more to life than his father’s outlaw existence. He is content with his new life and has no wish to leave it. His devotion to Victoria and what she has sacrificed for him has also changed him. The only dark cloud seems to be the school bully -- Ted -- who constantly taunts Carlos about his outlaw father and how they’re going to hang him.

Carlos studies the constitution late
into the night.

Still, Carlos is able to stay on the right path until he is finally confronted by his father. He tells his father to go to Mexico without him, but Ruiz, angered by his son’s changed loyalties, decides to take his revenge and his son. While Victoria, Blue and Carlos are headed home in the buckboard, Ruiz ambushes them and takes Victoria hostage, giving Blue instructions to go back to Chaparral for ransom money.

Alberto Ruiz intercepts Victoria's buckboard, disarming Blue and
sending him back to the ranch for ransom money for Victoria.

Carlos tries to intervene against his
father to save Blue and Victoria.

Carlos begs his father to let Senora Cannon go, but he refuses.  Blue, not wanting to leave Victoria, tries to surprise Ruiz and fails. Ruiz decides to kill Blue, but in the struggle that takes place, Carlos lays his hand on a rifle and threatens to shoot his father if he won’t release Blue and Victoria. Ruiz, realizing his son has betrayed him, disowns the boy and rides off for Mexico without him.
Carlos weeps over his father’s abandonment but Victoria comforts him, telling him that someday his father will come back to him and be proud of the man that Carlos will become. Victoria leaves Tucson once the new teacher arrives, but promises Carlos that she will come back to visit him and his new family. The once unhappy and troubled boy now has a mother, a father, younger brothers and sisters, and a future in a land where he has learned that all men are created equal. 

Victoria tries to comfort Carlos after his
father abandons and disowns him.

(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

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