The High Chaparral
Manolito Montoya


Lover, activist, carouser, peacemaker--all describe the multi-faceted brother of Victoria Cannon, Manolito Montoya. Like Victoria he comes from a proud and wealthy family from Sonora, headed by Don Sebastian Montoya. Manolito inherits much from his father: his independent thinking, his stubbornness, his love of trickery and his excess of charm. What he does not inherit, much to the chagrin of Don Sebastian, is his father's passion for his land. Instead of living at the Rancho Montoya and preparing to assume his place as the future patron, Manolito runs free, seemingly desperate to do anything but assume that place that his father wishes for him.

From "New Lion of Sonora"

It is this wild roaming that makes Manolito such a compelling character. The son of landed gentry, he chooses instead to accompany his sister when she marries the rancher John Cannon. In Cannon he sees a strength and far-sightedness, a larger than life quality, that he cannot find in his proposed life in Sonora. Manolito is looking for something, something that he cannot put into words, but something that he knows he'll recognize when he sees it.

His restlessness of soul manifests itself in many ways, but most often in his pursuit of women. Manolito has the personal charm and good looks to turn the head of most any woman he meets, and he knows it. His charm and confidence ensure that he is never lacking for female companionship, whether of a respectable or disreputable kind. This appetite for the ladies has made the rift between himself and Don Sebastian even wider, for his reputation is such that no respectable marriageable woman would ally herself with him. Manolito has therefore safeguarded his own position; if his father should attempt to take matters into his own hands and search for a suitable wife for his son, he would be unable to find one willing to make the match.

Yet Manolito is not a one-dimensional man. He is intensely loyal to his family and his friends, and has demonstrated this loyalty more than once risking death. He is courageous; not in the devil-may-care way, but in a measured, thoughtful way. When he rides into a life and death situation, he knows it, because he has chosen to do so. He is also a compromiser, a peacemaker, and this is best demonstrated by his attitude and treatment toward the Apache people. He understands their desire to be free on their own land, and he respects them. He is a tireless translator between John and the neighboring tribes, and advocates their fair treatment at every turn.

Manolito has a political side, too. If a cause seems worthy to support, he will lend his support, whether that cause is feasible or not. From Irish miners to his own oppressed people, Manolito's compassion cannot allow him to remain silent when he sees injustice. His innate prudence may urge another tactic than direct conflict, but he doesn't leave an injustice un-addressed. Manolito has the makings of a potential political savior.

He also enjoys the dubious pleasure of being related to or reasonably friendly with the very worst sort of men in Sonora. All the comancheros seem to know him and greet him as a long lost brother. There are allusions to his even having ridden with some of them, which renders details about his past unclear and alarming. Manolito is not a cruel man, but he is capable of killing, whether with a knife or a gun. He is not a man to betray lightly, despite his seeming nonchalant attitude.

Whether playing poker in a saloon, wooing a potential conquest, breaking a political prisoner out of jail, cradling a lost child in his arms, or waxing philosophical beneath the stars, there is nothing simple about Manolito Montoya. He stands tall with the rest of the Cannons; formidable, discerning and loyal, yet restless, self-indulgent and ever searching--a collection of contradictions hidden by a pair of warm brown eyes and a roguish smile.  (by Lisa McKenzie)

From "A Matter of Vengeance"

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

Return to Ranch House

Return to Home/Contents