The High Chaparral
Blue Cannon

Played by MARK SLADE

Life is not easy for the only son of one of the largest cattle ranching families in 1870s Arizona Territory. William “Billy Blue” Cannon, also known affectionately as “Blue Boy”, has had a difficult time living up to the exacting standards set by his father, “Big John.” After losing his beloved mother, Annalee, in an Apache raid shortly after moving to Arizona, Blue finds himself constantly at odds with his father, while trying desperately to prove himself the man he knows he can be. While he loves his father deeply, he has a difficult time relating to a man who seems carved from granite and only able to offer criticism for Blue’s every action.

Big John Cannon has a difficult time understanding his son, having forgotten what it’s like to be a young man out to prove himself. And therein lies the generation gap and the inability for each to view the other without preconceived standards. He expects Blue to defer to his wishes the same way ranch hands follow his orders. What John doesn’t realize is that Blue has inherited more from him than just his name. Blue is very much his father’s son: stubborn, independent, and proud. And neither is capable of seeing life through each other’s eyes or a way to communicate to each other, even in the most desperate of emotional times.

As a child and young adolescent during the War Between the States, Blue grew up without his father or uncle or any other strong father figure. John Cannon and his younger brother, Buck, were off fighting on different sides in the Civil War: a war that literally pitted brother against brother. While John joined the Union forces and fought for the North, Buck could not take up arms against his beloved Virginia and joined General Lee’s Southern forces. With his father and uncle off fighting a war, Blue grew very close to his mother, Annalee, a kind and gentle woman. Blue had inherited Annalee’s gentleness of spirit and, she in turn, was able to foster in him a deeper respect for life. He grew up to be a very sensitive and caring young man. Annalee also encouraged Blue’s natural artistic ability; a talent for drawing, something his father viewed as just plain foolishness.

Blue not only inherited strongly from his mother’s personality, he inherited her physical characteristics as well. Unlike his father who stands well over six feet tall, Blue is much smaller in stature, with Annalee’s blond hair and startlingly blue eyes.

While Blue is often in conflict with his father, he has a very close and loving relationship with his uncle, Buck Cannon. Buck is always looking out for Blue and helping to guide him in making the correct decisions in life. After the death of his mother, Blue finds himself looking to his uncle for the love, attention, and approval he fails to get from his father.

It almost seems like Blue has two personalities: one that he reserves for his father, and one that he uses for everyone else. With his father, Blue alternates between open defiance and being afraid to express an opinion, cowering and sulking in deference to his father’s whims. But with everyone else, Blue is out-going, fun loving, talkative, and able to express opinions his father has never heard.

While Blue struggles to overcome the death of his mother, he resists the sudden arrival of Victoria, the beautiful young Montoya who has married his father to, presumably, seal a “gentleman’s agreement” between the two strongest forces in their lives. Don Sebastian Montoya, the wealthy landowner south of the border and the self-made man of the Montoya holdings, in partnership with the strong-willed and abrasive John Cannon, will gain strength and prominence while protecting their mutual lands. Victoria has allowed herself to be entrusted to the care and protection of a man whom she longs to tame. Blue desperately tries not to accept Victoria, yet his affectionate heart cannot long withstand Victoria’s endearing deference to him. Quite without realizing it, he has come to depend on her strength and has found an ally in this woman who can stand up to his father.

Blue’s wide-eyed innocence, coupled with his noble, trusting nature make him well liked and respected by the other ranch hands. While his easy ability to trust strangers often puts Blue in precarious situations, his affable nature is quick to win over even the most sage ranch hands who rally to his aid. Blue’s heroics are merely “business as usual” for him. Time and again, it’s Blue who extends help to those in need. “Picking up strays” as his uncle calls it.

Whether he’s saving an Apache brave from Mexican scalp hunters, rescuing the white woman, Sarah, captured by the Apache, aiding a Cavalry deserter or helping the wounded bandido, El Tigre, Blue can’t turn his back on someone in need. Blue is well on his way to finding his place in the rowdy, untamed Arizona desert he now calls home.  (By Pat, updated by Rusty)

From "The Legacy"

See the Guide to Character Weight to determine in which episodes Blue had major or minor roles.

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