The High Chaparral
The Cast of The High Chaparral

Mark Slade as Blue Cannon Linda Cristal as Victoria Montoya Cannon Leif Erickson as John Cannon Cameron Mitchell as Buck Cannon Henry Darrow as Manolito Montoya Rudolfo Acosta as Vaquero Bob Hoy as Joe Butler Roberto Contreras as Pedro Carr Ted Markland as Reno Don Collier as Sam Butler Jerry Summers as Ira Bean
Back:  Mark Slade as Blue Cannon, Linda Cristal as Victoria Montoya Cannon, Leif Erickson as John Cannon, Cameron Mitchell as Buck Cannon, Henry Darrow as Manolito Montoya
Front:  Rudolpho Acosta as Vaquero, Bob Hoy as Joe Butler, Roberto Contreras as Pedro Carr, Ted Markland as Reno, Don Collier as Sam Butler, and Jerry Summers as Ira Bean

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One of the most successful and highly acclaimed Westerns on television was
The High Chaparral,
the name of the ranch owned by the Cannon family in the Arizona Territory during the 1870's.  Stubborn, determined, 50-year-old John Cannon is the patriarch of the family with ambitions to establish a cattle empire while finding a way to co-exist with the Apaches and the Mexicans just across the border.  To help him, he has his younger brother Buck, who can out-drink, out-shoot, out-fight, and when motivated, out-work any man alive.  He also has his son, Billy Blue, a young man in his early 20's, whose mother is killed in the first episode.  In an arranged marriage intended to keep peace with the neighbors, John then marries an aristocratic Mexican beauty, Victoria Montoya, daughter of Don Sebastian Montoya, a wealthy Sonoran rancher.  Her brother, Manolito, accompanies Victoria to the Cannon ranch as her guardian, staying on as a member of the household even after the arranged marriage turns to one of substance and trust.  

Created and produced by David Dortort, the genius behind Bonanza, the writing was superb with plenty of action and biting dialog.  The series strove for realism...the sweat, the dirt, the heat, the desert...even the Apaches who worked on the set as extras were real.  And it explored culture and class conflicts among white Americans, Mexicans, and various Indian tribes at a level not attempted before or since by a television Western. 
While it aired, The High Chaparral remained in the Top 20 of the AC Nielsen ratings.  It was Number One in Europe, and is still shown in syndication.  Inside you will find a growing archive of information about the show and other items of interest for Western fans to enjoy.
   

A  TRIBUTE
to some of our favorite cowpokes, lawmen, heros, and villians who recently took that last ride across the Great Divide.  HC attracted many of the finest actors to participate in guest starring roles, which, large or small, all contributed to making the show as great as it was.  To find out more about any of them, check out their bios on IMDB.

 

Larry D. Mann
1922 - 1/2014

Spokes
        Tobin Boggs

Larry D. Mann started acting in 1952 and continued as an extremely prolific character actor through 1991.  Best known for roles in The Sting and In the Heat of the Night he is credited in 159 productions in film and television.  His Western credits include:  The Dakotas, The Big Valley, Legend of Jesse James, Iron Horse, Shane, Here Come the Brides, Bonanza, The Wild Country, Gunsmoke, and How the West Was Won.

 

 

Ruskin, Joseph
1924 - 2013

Lady Fair
        Ainsworth Pardee

A familiar character actor to many, Joseph Ruskin appeared in over 150 productions over a sixty-year career.  Known to Star Trek fans for his numerous appearance on both the television and movie versions of Star Trek, he also appeared in Prizzi's Honor and The Scorpion King.  His Western credits include: Bronco, Wanted Dead or Alive, Zane Grey Theater, Law of the Plainsman, Colt .45, The Magnificent Seven, Stagecoach West, Two Faces West, Outlaws, Tales of Wells Fargo, Lawman, Death Valley Days, The Dakotas, Gunsmoke, and The Wild, Wild West.

 

 

 

Michael Ansara
1922 - 7/2013

For the Love of Carlos
        Alberto Ruis

Michael Ansara's film career covered over 50 years with his last roles as the voice of Mr. Freeze in the Batman animated movie and series.  His first major role was as Cochise in the 1950's Western series, Broken Arrow.  He appeared in numerous Westerns, often playing Native American and other ethnic roles.  Besides The High Chaparral, his Western credits included Frontier Doctor, Zane Grey Theater, The Rifleman, Law of the Plainsman, The Rebel, The Westerner, The Comancheros, Tales of Wells Fargo, Wagon Train, Rawhide, Branded, Texas Across the River, The Virginian, Daniel Boone, Iron Horse, Gunsmoke, The Road West, Here Come the Brides, and Guns of the Magnificent Seven. His biggest sci-fi role was as Klingon commander Kang on three of the Star Trek series.
 

Val de Vargas
1935 - 6/2013

An Anger Greater Than Mine
        Rodrigo

The New Lion of Sonora
                 Rodrigo

Val de Vargas had the recurring role of Rodrigo, the foreman at Rancho Montoya. Best known for his roles in Hatari!, To Live and Die in L.A., Hellfighters, and Touch of Evil, he often played Latino heavies in an acting career that spanned nearly 50 years.  His other Western credits included The Adventures of Jim Bowie, Colt .45, Broken Arrow, The Magnificent Seven, Tales of Wells Fargo, Rawhide, Bonanza, Daniel Boone, Cimarron Strip, Gunsmoke, Death Valley Days, and Kit Carson & the Mountain Men.

Steve Forrest
1924 - 5/2013

The Guns of Johnny Rondo
        Johnny Rondo

"Sixteen tried and sixteen died at the hands of
       Johnny Rondo.
Now itís over and done. You donít need a gun.
Youíre headiní west with your son,
      Johnny Rondo."

   
  From the song, The Guns of Johnny Rondo

Steve Forrest had a film career that spanned 60 years from the early forties to 2003.  Perhaps best known for his seventies role as Hondo in the TV series, S.W.A.T., he also appeared in films such as Spies Like Us and Mommie Dearest.  He guest starred in dozens of television series.  Besides The High Chaparral, his Western credits include: Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Alias Smith and Jones, Cimarron Strip, Rawhide, The Virginian, Death Valley Days, and The Outlaws.  He did a great job as the brooding Johnny Rondo, the only character on The High Chaparral to have his own theme song and lyrics!


 

Malachi Throne
1928 - 3/2013

Bad Day for a Bad Man
         Matar

The New Lion of Sonora
 Parts 1 & 2
   Julio Armendaris

Malachi Throne attended HC Reunions and always treated his many fans with respect and affection.  The power he brought to his villainous roles on HC was truly memorable.  Malachi started acting on stage and television in the 1950's and was still working in productions in 2007.  Besides The High Chaparral, his Western appearances included Death Valley Days, Rawhide, Iron Horse, The Big Valley (three times), Laredo, Jericho, The Wild, Wild West, and The Virginian.  He turned down the role of Dr. McCoy in Star Trek, but guest starred several times in Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
 

John Kerr
1931 - 1/2013

Sudden Country
       Creed Hallock

John Kerr came from a stage and film acting family and started acting on stage in the early 1950's.  Probably best known as Lt. Joe Cable in the film version of South Pacific, he also starred in the stage and film versions of Tea and Sympathy.  In the 1960's he decided to pursue a career in law, but continued to guest star in many television series throughout the seventies.  Besides The High Chaparral, his Western credits include Rawhide, Gunsmoke, The Virginian, Wagon Train, Yuma, and Alias Smith & Jones.  He also had regular recurring parts on Peyton Place and Streets of San Francisco.

Charles Durning
1923 - 2012

The Reluctant Deputy
        Hewitt

One of Hollywood's greatest character actors, Charles Durning was just beginning his acting career when he played the perfect foil for Blue in "The Reluctant Deputy".  With hundreds of film and TV appearances to his credit, his last production has not yet been released.  Major films include The Sting, O Brother Where Art Thou, Evening Shade, North Dallas Forty, Breakheart Pass, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Hudsucker Proxy, Dog Day Afternoon, To Be or Not to Be, The Man with One Red Shoe, and Tootsie.
Joaquin Martinez
1930 - 2012

Ghost of Chaparral
        Little Cloud
The Promised Land
        Innocente
A Way of Justice
        Louis
Only the Bad Come to Sonora
        Peon

Joaquin had just completed his medical degree in Mexico when he put his medical career on hold to come to Hollywood where he made his television debut on HC in 1967.  He never returned to medicine, but went on to appear in three more episodes on HC as well as do guest appearances in more than twenty other television shows and numerous feature films, including Jeremiah Johnson, Joe Kidd, The Cowboy Way, Ulzana's Raid, and Die Another Day.  He played Antonio Banderas' father in The House of the Spirits.  He started his own production company, Victoria Films International.

Luke Askew
1932 - 2012

Shadow of the Wind
        Johnny Ringo

Luke Askew was fondly remembered by Bob Hoy, Don Collier, and others at the HC reunions.  His role as Johnny Ringo was a significant one on HC.  He had roles in nearly 100 TV and film productions over his forty-year career.  Major roles included those in Easy Rider, Cool Hand Luke, Everwood, Will Penny, The Magnificent Seven Ride!, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, The Culpepper Cattle Co., Wanda Nevada, and The Greatest Game Ever Played.

 

Warren Stevens
1919 - 2012

Best Man for the Job
        Captain Dabney

Many of us had the pleasure of meeting Warren Stevens at one of the Los Angeles reunions.  He was certainly gracious and spoke very highly of his HC experience.  Acting in dozens of films and hundreds of TV episodes since the early 1950's, his career spanned nearly six decades.  He had multiple appearances on The Virginian, Mission: Impossible, Ironside, Bracken's World and others.  Other Western appearances besides The Virginian included Tales of Wells Fargo, Laramie, Lawman, The Rebel, Wagon Train, The Dakotas, Gunsmoke, Have Gun - Will Travel, Rawhide, Death Valley Days, Daniel Boone, and Iron Horse.
R. G. Armstrong
1917 - 2012

Wind
        Ed Henderson

Another of the great character actors whose career spanned five decades, his actual name was Robert Golden Armstrong.  His films included El Dorado, My Name is Nobody, Children of the Corn, and Predator.  He guest starred in many Westerns, including Bonanza, Rawhide, Death Valley Days, Gunsmoke, and Daniel Boone.  Best known more recently for his recurring role in Friday the 13th.
Garry Walberg
1921 - 2012

No Irish Need Apply         
        O'Fierna
The Lieutenant
        Sgt. Wilson
It Takes a Smart Man
        Mike the Bartender

Another prolific character actor, probably best known for his regular role as Lt. Frank Monahan on Quincy M.E..  Garry started his acting career in the 1950's and was still acting well into the 1990's.  Some of his other Westerns included Rawhide, The Rifleman, Tales of Wells Fargo, and Law of the Plainsman.  He had a recurring role as Sgt. Goddard in Peyton Place and appeared in the 1976 version of King Kong.
Pat Renella
1929 - 2012

Sangre
        Sangre

Pat Renella's acting career spanned more than thirty years, appearing frequently on many detective shows such as Mannix, Streets of San Francisco, Rockford Files, S.W.A.T., and Quincy M.E..  His most memorable feature film role was as Johnny Ross in Bullitt.

Tony Epper
1938 - 2012

Auld Lang Syne
       Hanley

Son of Hollywood stuntman, John Epper, Tony has a long list of stunt credits to his name as well as acting roles.  Active in both stunts and acting since the 1950's, his major cinema productions included those in Ulzana's Raid, The Cowboys, Lonesome Dove, The Rock, Con Air, Dracula, Thelma & Louise, Lethal Weapon 3, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  His television Western appearances included Daniel Boone, Iron Horse, Cimarron Strip, Gunsmoke, and The Last Ride of the Dalton Gang.
Hal John Norman
1911 - 2011

For What We Are About to Receive
        Chief Koso

There is not much biographical information about Hal John Norman, but he appeared frequently playing Indian roles in the 1950's and 60's.  His other Western appearances included Bonanza, Wagon Train, The Restless Gun, Tales of Wells Fargo, The Rifleman, The Tall Man, Rawhide, Shane, The Wild, Wild West, and Daniel Boone.
Robert Broyles
1933 - 2011

The Badge
        Loosh

While "The Badge" was an awkward episode, mostly because Leif Erickson and Cameron Mitchell were too old to play their parts, the rest of the cast was outstanding.  It included (besides Robert Broyles) Gary Busey (in his first credited role), Alan Oppenheimer, Jonathan Goldsmith, the great Morgan Woodward, and our own Henry Wills. Some of Rob's other roles were in Poltergeist, Close Encounters, Norma Rae, and Raise the Titanic.

Leonard Stone
1923 - 2011

Ebenezer
        Stoop, the Bartender

Appearing in hundreds of television episodes and feature films, Leonard's career covered 50 years of Hollywood history.  Notable film roles were in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and Soylent Green.  He had recurring roles in many TV shows including Barney Miller, Quincy M.E., Alice, Falcon Crest, L.A. Law, Gunsmoke, Mannix, Dragnet, and Perry Mason. Some of his Western credits included The Rifleman, Rawhide, Hondo, Cimarron Strip, and The Virginian.
Shelby Grant
1936 - 2011

Gold is Where You Leave It
        Dolly

Shelby's acting career was rather brief, from the early 1960's to the early 1970's.  She was the wife of actor Chad Everett.  She appeared in the films, Fantastic Voyage and Our Man Flint as well as several TV productions including Medical Center, Marcus Welby, Batman, and Bonanza.
Don Diamond
1921 - 2011

To Stand for Something More
        Miguel

Don's acting career spanned forty years, beginning in radio in the 1940's and moving into television in the 1950's.  He appeared in numerous early TV shows including The Adventures of Kit Carson, Death Valley Days, Zorro, Adventures of Superman, the Lone Ranger, Zane Grey Theater, and Wyatt Earp.  He had a recurring role on F Troop as Crazy Cat and appeared with Spencer Tracy in the film, The Old Man and the Sea.
Note:  There are certainly other HC Guest Stars whose passing is not widely known and therefore has not been posted on IMDB.  If you know of any whose passing has not been noted on their guest star page, please let me know so that I can rectify it.  Thanks, Charlotte

Last update: 8/11/13