The High Chaparral

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Fourth Season
Plot and Character Highlights

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Mano, dressed as a peon, on the trail 
of the horse thieves 


Mano struggling to understand 
and to please his father


Bruce Dern as Wade, the horse thief

4.83  Only the Bad Come to Sonora     Mano, Don Sebastian

The victim of highwaymen who left him stranded after stealing his money and prize stallion, Manolito poses as a poor drifter in his attempt to track down the bandits.
Written by Gerry Day, Don Balluck         Directed by Don Richardson

Story Line:  Determined to recover his money and the handsome horse, Manolito travels incognito from one Mexican town to another on the trail of the three renegades. Wade, Lafe, and Jubel. Although he finally catches up with them, his disguise fails him and he is forced to gamble on a desperate ruse.

Guest Stars:


Bruce Dern 
as Wade

James Gammon 
as Lafe

Ed Bakey 
as Jubel

Ralph Manza 
as Gomez


Than Wyenn as Gonzales


Margarita Cordova 
as Constanza

Joaquin Martinez 
as the Peon


?


Paul Fierro 
as the Bartender

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Character Highlights:  Mano's "crusade" takes him to a cantina in a small town, in search of a woman mentioned by the leader of the thieves. Along the way, he exchanges clothing with a peon, losing his aura of a "patron", and effectively disguising his identity. Now traveling as a peon, a poor man, Gonzales, generously offers him a meal and together they discuss the dismal state of affairs most peons live under. Mano again encounters the three bandits in the cantina, but his humble demeanor and attire prevent them from recognizing him. As part of his ruse, he lets the head thief toss him out of the establishment for talking to his woman. 


Mano with the Stallion

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Complete Episode Synopsis:  "Only by their shapes can you tell them apart." Thus speaks Don Sebastian Montoya with unmistakable pride, as he watches his son gallop away on a high-spirited black stallion aptly named El Diablo. 


Mano preparing to leave on the stallion.

Manolito has been entrusted with delivering the valuable horse to the High Chaparral to mate with John Cannon's Morgan mares. Of course, he never would have said such a thing directly to his son instead, he has criticized his choice of travel clothing, tried to get more money out of him for the stud fee, and declined to answer when Mano suggests that the horse is more valuable than he himself is.


Don Sebastian watching as Mano leaves.


As their journey together begins, Mano tells his mount, "Stay away from those low branches, if you please, eh? I know all those tricks better than you!" When he spots a fallen rider nearby, he comments, "A cousin of yours, no doubt, who derives his entertainment from throwing his master." His happy-go-lucky mood takes a turn for the serious as his efforts to help are met with a loaded gun in the hand of an unhurt man.

While Mano is regretting his act of kindness, John Cannon and Sam Butler are back on High Chaparral, discussing the quality of the mares and the fact that John has overextended himself financially to purchase them.  According to both of them, however, the stallion Mano is bringing makes it worth the risk. Little do they know that he's about to lose the horse - and more.
 


Mano in a predicament

Wade, the man with the gun, along with his two partners, Lafe and Jubel, admires the horse, as Mano dangles by his wrists from a tree branch.  To add insult to injury, as Mano says, "You have stolen my horse, you taken a few pesos from my pocket, you have hung me from this tree, ridiculed my appearance, and rendered my manhood in all probability, but all those things are nothing in comparison to how much you bore me."  Wade threatens to shoot him with his own gun, which he has appropriated and put on, but decides instead to leave him where he is, assuming that he will not be able to escape. The three do just that: taking his horse, his gun, his boots - and the money that was hidden inside them. 

The sentry at the High Chaparral barely recognizes Mano when he limps toward the ranch gate sometime later, completely exhausted and his feet wrapped in the remnants of his jacket. His arrival is perfectly timed John and Victoria were just discussing the fact that he was late in returning. Unhurt, but "very tired," he gives them a brief explanation of what happened, then seeks his bed.  Despite of the loss of the stallion, John proves is continuing trust in Mano by sending him back to Rancho Montoya, while Buck and the men track the horse thieves. Mano's mission this time is to deliver $800 in cash --security against the return of the stallion." It's all he can afford to pay, although the horse is worth much more. When Mano mentions that he's the one who lost the horse in the first place and asks why he's been chosen, John explains his reasoning that since Mano has been robbed once, he will be that much more careful.

Don Sebastian is much less understanding than his son-in-law. He is very angry, and as he says, "very serious," asking what Mano intends to do about the loss of the horse. He also wants "concern, genuine concern," which he does not see in his apologetic and equally serious son. In a soul-baring discussion, Mano admits that he cannot understand what drives his father and John Cannon to him it is still only a "lost horse." Yet he respects what his father wants, "even though it is completely different" from what he wants. When Don Sebastian responds that he would like to respect him for what he wants as well, and asks what that is, Mano replies in a bewildered tone, "I do not know." Explaining that such an answer is fine for a child, but not for a man, his father calls upon him to do whatever he has to do, no matter how long it takes, to get the stallion back.
 

Mano's "crusade" takes him to a cantina in a small town, in search of a woman mentioned by the leader of the thieves. Along the way, he exchanges clothing with a peon, losing his aura of a "patron", and effectively disguising his identity. Now traveling as a peon, a poor man, Gonzales, generously offers him a meal and together they discuss the dismal state of affairs most peons live under. Mano again encounters the three bandits in the cantina, but his humble demeanor and attire prevent them from recognizing him. As part of his ruse, he lets the head thief toss him out of the establishment for talking to his woman. 


Mano flirting with Constanza

With the thieves otherwise engaged, Mano locates the stallion, and attempts to escape with him, but is caught and beaten by the three. Despite his injuries, he is determined to follow when they take the horse again. Constanza, the cantina girl, urges him to "kill them, kill them, please".  An old man at the stable tells him, "I know not if you are a fool, but you remind me of the way things used to be." "They will be again, father," Mano promises as he rides away.
 


Lafe, Wade, and Jubel preparing to kill Mano

In another small town, Mano actually gets the three at gunpoint while they are robbing Gomez, the storekeeper, but the untimely arrival of a customer allows them to escape. Matters go from bad to worse when she accuses Mano of being the robber and sends the authorities after him. Borrowing a big sombrero from a small boy, and posing as a shepherd, he evades the lawmen only to fall into the hands of the thieving trio once again. Continuing his ruse as a "poor peon", Mano claims he is following them and trying to steal the horse because they embarrassed him in front of the woman and to prove he is "macho mucho hombre", but "always I fail". 

At this point, one of the men thinks that Mano looks familiar, but his leader smugly declares that "all Mexicans look alike", and the man doesn't pursue the issue. Because he cost them $500 from the store safe, the leader decides to kill him slowly, one strategically-placed bullet at a time,  but Mano quickly strikes a bargain with him. In exchange for his life, he will show them where Don Sebastian Montoya keeps thousands of dollars. He believes that his father is away on a cattle drive, and therefore out of harm's way. It proves to be an offer they cannot refuse. Under cover of darkness, Mano leads them into the rancho, helping to disarm the sentries and preventing unnecessary deaths. Once inside the house, the leader looks around, saying, "Look at all this. How could a Mexican get all this?" Mano clenches his jaw at the derogatory remark, but wisely holds his tongue. After showing them the hiding place for the money in his father's study, Mano attempts to retrieve a hidden gun, but it is taken away from him. 
 
In the meantime, Don Sebastian has awakened and is looking for the source of unusual noise. To spare his father worse harm, Mano punches him, apologizing after he is lying unconscious. Staying true to his assumed role, he expresses satisfaction at having the opportunity to do such a thing to a man he supposedly despises. When his "partners" turn on him, Mano knocks out the one who is assigned to kill him, then holds the other two at gunpoint, revealing his true identity. "Now to answer that question you had about my father, Don Sebastian Montoya. You are wondering how that Mexican acquired such wealth as you see. He worked for it." He then angrily orders them out of the study. 


Mano laying in wait for his father.


Don Sebastian recovering the morning after.

The following morning, Mano is surprised to find Don Sebastian awake so early, albeit he is reclining dramatically on a couch with a damp cloth pressed to his face. After berating his son for "risking his father's life", he congratulates him for accomplishing a "formidable task". As he rises to see Mano out, he comments, "You know, it was too dark last night to see the faces of those renegades, but it is assuring at least to know that they are behind bars. Especially that one."  "Which one?" Mano asks, puzzled.  "The veritable mound of filth! His face was twisted with evil and hate, so that he would shame even the devil". "Which one was that?" Mano seems even more mystified. "Why, the one that struck me!" Don Sebastian declares. "Oh, him! Oh, yes, an evil man, but one who has been safely removed from society, Papa!" his son replies most seriously, and they head toward the front door together.   (Synopsis by Kat Garcia)
 

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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