The High Chaparral

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Fourth Season
Plot and Character Highlights

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Wind is nearly lynched for stealing cattle.  

Rudy Ramos as Wind

John and ranchers plan Kansas cattle drive.

4.84  Wind
 A half-breed Indian lad whose life has been saved by men of the Cannon ranch strives to repay the debt.
 Written by Clyde Ware         Directed by Phil Rawlins

Story Line:  John Cannon, Buck and Manolito intervene when ranchers Fraley and Henderson attempt to hang Wind, whom they accuse of rustling cattle. The boy's indebtedness later figures significantly in the defense against a series of mysterious and costly raids on a major cattle drive.

Guest Stars:

Scott Brady 
as Walt Fraley

R. G. Armstrong 
as Ed Henderson

Mark Tapscott 
as Ben Colton

Tyler McVey 
as Will Todd

Dan White 
as Dirt Smith

Steve Raines 
as Trent

Henry Wills 
as Tommy


Character Highlights:  As the title implies, this is the episode that introduces the new primary character of Wind.  A half-breed adolescent Pawnee, Wind seems to have more skills than men twice his age, including those on the High Chaparral.  He is an expert tracker, marksman, cattle driver, rider, strategic thinker and philosopher.  He is also pretty mouthy.  Still, the folks at the ranch seem to like him and want to take him in.  This episode includes the scene where Buck and Wind try to best each other shooting rocks and Mano says to Buck,  "I pass my turn.  You two have used up all the good rocks."  After he nearly single-handedly saves the ranch, Wind tells John that this evens the score between them.  Once again Victoria appears in pants and there is a rare shot of Sam in his undershirt rather than his usual buckskin.

Victoria carrying wood to the summer kitchen.

Sam, warning John about the fire at Henderson's.

Complete Episode Synopsis:  At High Chaparral, John Cannon has called a meeting of his neighboring ranchers. John has a plan, he wants to break the cattle monopoly from Texas by organizing his Arizona neighbors into taking a cattle drive straight through to the Kansas railheads, beating the Texans to the best prices. 

Colton, Smith, and Fraley

Not all the men are supportive. Such an effort will be dangerous and there are no guarantees of success, but John talks them around eventually. When it comes to choosing a man to head up the drive, though, there is little question.  John Cannon is the best, and perhaps only, man for the job.  All agree except one man, Walt Fraley, a hot-head who wants the position himself. Fraley backs down, however, in the face of the others' choice, and agrees to follow John.

Todd and Henderson

As John and his neighbors work to consolidate the herds, Joe Butler rides in with word of trouble: Apache trouble.  John and Mano ride out to find Fraley, and a rancher named Henderson, about to hang a half-breed youth for rustling six or eight head of beef.  The boy does not deny it, he has stolen the cattle to feed a band of starving Apache women and children who have been deserted  by their men.  Fraley insists on the hanging as proper range law, but John reminds him that he is the law on High Chaparral.  When Buck rides in to confirm the boy's story, John decides to let him go, provided he goes far and fast and takes those Apache with him. His actions only further antagonize Fraley, who comments to his foreman that John won't be riding so high if those Apache attack and stop the drive before it even gets started.

Wind almost smiles.

The boy, it seems, has not gone far after all.  He shows up later, at the ranch compound, driving three maverick steers to replace the ones he had stolen.  He tells John he will work the rest of them off, and John seems to have little choice but to let him stay. Sam is impressed enough with his work for John to offer him a full time paying job. The boy is hesitant, telling John that he does not feel he had a place in any world. His mother was Pawnee, and his father a white man.  He was orphaned at the age of ten, and held slave by the Pawnee, and then later by a while trader. He tells John that his mother called him Wind because she said he would never have a home.  John reiterates his offer, and later that night, Victoria frets that the boy is working too hard. It is obvious that she has taken a genuine liking to him, too. 

The next day, John, Sam and the others are waiting for Fraley and rancher Dirt Smith to join them. Fraley rides in alone, with the news that Apache have attacked and killed Smith.  Fraley is obviously agitated, taking exception to Sam's presence - a mere foreman.  John sets him straight about Sam's importance to the High Chaparral, and to him, and they all ride off together to investigate. Finding Smith and his hands slain, the others want to go after the marauders, but John says no, to stop would be to lose their initiative with the drive, and they might never find the killers. Fraley is furious, but the others agree with John.  John leaves Sam to transport the bodies home, and goes, himself to tell Smith's widow.

When John gathers his men, the next morning, Wind is missing.  When Victoria questions Sam, the man admits that Wind had gone off to the desert, as he did every night, but had not returned in the morning.  Though Sam expresses reservations about Wind's independent ways, it is obvious that he, too, likes the boy, and it doesn't take much for Victoria to convince him to look out for him. Wind, however, has his own tasks; he has been following Fraley, and suspects that it is not Apache who killed Dirt Smith.  He tells as much to Buck and Manolito, after driving their cattle away from a poisoned waterhole. 

Wind tracking the troublemakers.

Buck tries to intimidate him with some trick gunplay, but Wind is unimpressed. He is also a better shot. Buck brings him back to Chaparral to tell his story to John, who apparently takes it to heart, because he pulls the other ranchers together to tell them what Wind suspects. Fraley is still determined to abandon the drive and go after the Apache, but the others agree, once again, to follow John, especially in light of John's suspicions. Fraley confronts John, finally, with the reason for his grudge; he holds John responsible for a back fire that burned his property when John once tried to save the Chaparral from a range fire. He agrees to follow him, anyway, since that is the consensus.

Mano, left to guard the ranch, listens as Wind explains their dire situation.

It is late at night when one of the Chaparral hands rides in with the news that Henderson's ranch is burning.  Fearing the worst, and suspecting that Wind, who is missing again, might know more than he is telling, John leaves Manolito with Victoria, and rides with the others to investigate. As soon as he is gone, Wind appears in the living room, having climbed in through Mano's open bedroom window.  He tells Mano what he has discovered, that it is Fraley behind the killing and burning and poisoning, and that Fraley and a band of comancheros dressed as Apache are waiting outside to attack them. 

Front room of the High Chaparral being used as a hospital after the battle.

It's too late for John to get back, they'll have to fight it out alone. By the time John discovers that Henderson's fire is actually minor, and makes it back to Chaparral, it's all over.  He finds his hands wounded, but Victoria safe, all because of Wind. 

John, relieved to find that Victoria is safe.

As Mano describes the boy's heroics, Wind, comes in, wounded, to tell them that Fraley is dead.  John insists that he stay, that he needs Wind as much as Wind needs a place to recover. As Sam goes off to settle Wind in the bunkhouse, and get his arm tended, John assures Victoria that they still have a cattle drive to run, the Kansas railheads are waiting.  (Synopsis by Sheryl Clay)

John, assisting Wind who was wounded protecting the ranch.


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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