The High Chaparral

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Third Season
Plot and Character Highlights

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Matar, Kyle, Victoria, and Juanita

Victoria turns on the bandits

Mano and Victoria celebrate their victory

3.58  Bad Day for a Bad Man          Mano, Victoria
Bandits take advantage of Manolito's affinity for a pretty face by absconding with one of his girlfriends and cash, the theft of which threatens the loss of the Cannon ranch.
Written by Michael Fessier         Directed by Robert Friend

Story Line:  Entrusted with money to buy a huge cattle herd, Manolito is overpowered by Matar and Kyle who head for the border with both the booty and Manolito's fiery girlfriend, Juanita. John Cannon, Buck and Blue and Manolito give chase but it is the feminine wiles of Juanita and Victoria Cannon with which the bandits soon learn they must contend.

Guest Stars: 

Marianna Hill 
as Juanita

Malachi Throne 
as Matar

Robert Yuro 
as Kyle



Mark Tapscott 
as Hanniman

Character Highlights:  Mano and Victoria end up being the focus of this episode when Mano is ostracized by John after he loses the cattle money chasing a pretty girl.  It is their efforts separately and together that redeem the fortunes of the Cannon ranch as well as Mano's relationship with John.  It is a very strong episode for Victoria who demonstrates her loyalty to both her husband and her brother, as well as her courage and quick thinking when held hostage in her own home by the bandits.  Juanita is a strong supporting character as the bandit's girlfriend who plays on Victoria's sympathies but fails to win her trust.  Malachi Throne and Robert Yuro both play colorful, engaging bandidos.  

Complete Episode Synopsis:  The success of John Cannon’s ranch rests on an important cattle deal he has made with the army. In order to fulfill the order, however, he has had to purchase most of the herd with money he has borrowed, via a mortgage, from Don Sebastian. Mano has been dispatched on the important assignment of going to Rancho Mantoya to obtain the papers needed for the bank loan, and then to Tucson to withdraw the money. On his way out of the bank, however, Mano receives word that an old flame, Juanita, is distraught and needs Mano’s comfort as quickly as possible. Mano goes to Juanita’s to tell her that he must hurry back to High Chaparral, but instead of finding Juanita he finds an ambush. He is assaulted and the money is stolen.

When Mano tells his sad tale back at the ranch, John is merciless in his condemnation of his brother-in-law’s irresponsibility. He orders Manolito to leave High Chaparral and it is only through Victoria’s intervention that Mano is permitted to accompany the men in their desperate hopes of finding the bandits before the payment deadline. Meanwhile, the thieves -- Matar, a Mexican who has fallen from greatness, and Kyle, a no-account gringo -- are making their way back toward the border with Juanita, whom they have taken prisoner. At first it appears that Juanita is not on their side -- she expresses remorse that she had to betray Manolito, and at night, when she finds the opportunity, she takes the money belt, a horse, and tries to escape. During the day, however, her mount is startled by a rattlesnake and bolts, leaving Juanita to make her way on foot. She staggers toward High Chaparral, where Victoria, washing clothes, welcomes her.

Juanita, however, is in no hurry to return the money to its rightful owners. She wears the money belt securely around her waist and it is only Victoria’s sharp detection that forces her to give the money back. Victoria, entirely distrustful of Juanita’s motives, hides the money in a washtub full of water -- and in the nick of time, for it is not long before Matar and Kyle have tracked Juanita back to Chaparral while their men continue making their way toward the border, leading the Chaparral posse on a wild goose chase. The only man not fooled by the easy trail is Mano, who continues to receive barbed comments from his angry brother-in-law. Mano tries to persuade the men from Chaparral that they are being led on a false trail, but John refuses to listen to Mano now that he has lost all faith in him. Cannon continues leading his men toward the border while Mano splits off from the group and, picking up a new trail, heads back toward High Chaparral.

In the meantime the other Montoya -- Victoria -- tries to stall for time. The few men who had been left back at the ranch have been tied up in the bunkhouse, leaving her at the mercy of Kyle and Matar. They quickly find Juanita hiding in one of the bedrooms and, when they demand she return the money, she is quick to betray Victoria by telling them that she gave it all to her. Victoria, knowing that the fate of her husband’s ranch relies on her silence, refuses to tell them where the money is hidden. They destroy her furnishings piece by piece while they search until, during a struggle between Victoria and Kyle, the washtub is tipped over and the soapy water ... with a pile of soggy money ... washes over the floor. The men, jubilant in their success, carry on as if they were enjoying a fiesta and force Victoria to wait on them like a servant. Juanita, now seeing which way the wind was blowing, tries to cozy up to these two bad men and leaves Victoria standing in a corner. Victoria finally sees her chance ... Kyle, Matar and Juanita are all sitting in the living room, underneath the chandelier, and Victoria, her hands behind her back, unworks the knot that keeps the heavy item suspended above their heads. The chandelier comes crashing down, giving Victoria a chance to go for Matar’s gun. At that moment, the front door opens and some of Matar’s men enter ... but Victoria quickly sees they are being led by Manolito’s gunpoint. The bunkhouse boys take Matar and Kyle off to prison and Juanita, who immediately switches her alliance and tries to sweet-talk Manolito, is forced to accept the same punishment. Mano and Victoria hug, their success sealed.

But John does not know what has happened back at the ranch; he stubbornly continues leading his men on a trail that does, in fact, turn out to be false. John now has no choice but to give up. They are out of time and payment on the herd is due. Reluctantly he tells Blue that they’ll have to start over and unhappily leads his men back to the ranch, where Victoria has a celebration feast waiting for him. John, amazed, listens to the incredible news that payment has been made and the herd is on its way to the army. He realizes that Victoria and Mano have saved his ranch and, after apologizing to Mano for his quick temper, they all sit down to revel in their victory.  (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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