I See By Your Outfit . . .
High Chaparral departed from the standard polyester cowboy outfits of the fifties and sixties and instead used outfits (and characters) who were really dirty, really sweaty, and not permanently pressed. It was a level of realism that no television Western had aspired to. Still, it had some of the limitations that a weekly series presents. While real cowboys probably didn't have extensive wardrobes, television series tended to limit their characters to one outfit each. Characters often spent several years in the same shirt and pants, which never seemed to show the signs of wear one might expect given the rigors of their work. Similarly, with a few rare exceptions, hair and beards seem to stay always the same length rather than going from shaggy to cropped and back again as one might expect from individuals who visit a barber only a few times a year. However, some of the characters did undergo subtle wardrobe changes throughout the series. If you are familiar with the changes, it makes it easy to determine which season you are viewing. So here is a review of some of our favorite HC outfits.
Because the pilot was shot before a commitment was made to do the series, many elements were not well established. These included not only the costumes, but the sets, horses, and even some basic character traits. So the pilot should be viewed as that, a trial balloon to see what might work and what needed adjustment. Some things in the pilot, like the rectangular dining room table, Blue's bandolero, Buck's short vest, and Mano's plain brown jacket never appear again. Click on the photos above to see the evolution of their costumes through the series.
|A FEW CAVEATS: Because no one we know of has access to a set of unedited episodes, there are no doubt outfits that I have missed. If you know of some important omissions, be sure to let me know. It helps if you can be as specific as possible about which episode and where in the episode it occurred. Ditto for the inevitable errors that are bound to come to light on new pages as more people get a chance to proof them. Like all old videos, photo quality varies, especially on the long camera shots necessary to show a whole costume. Pages are graphics heavy. Charlotte|
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