Played by RUDY RAMOSPerhaps the most enigmatic character to join The High Chaparral is the half-breed warrior, Wind. Part-Pawnee and part-white, he is a loner desperately in need of a place to belong, and the place he chooses is the Cannon ranch. He is caught poaching cattle for the starving Apache and is about to be hanged when Big John intercedes and saves his life. Wind readily admits to taking the cattle, and he appears perfectly willing to pay the ultimate price for it, but it is also very clear that even though it was wrong, he would do it again, that it is an issue of ethics with him. When John sets him free, Wind comes to understand that John also has ethics which guide him, and it causes Wind to reflect on John's actions. At this moment, the seeds of respect between the two begin to sprout.
Wind appears to be about eighteen years old. He tells John that his mother was Pawnee and his father white, but that it was his mother who called him Wind, saying that his half-Indian, half-white existence would make him restless like the wind. He is slight of build and of medium height, but he is wiry and strong, having an intuition which guides all his actions. He appears almost like a mystic warrior in this sense. He has black hair which he wears short, but in Indian fashion over his forehead, and his brown eyes miss nothing. He dresses Indian style with buckskins and moccasins and a row of beads around his neck. He speaks white, but he thinks Indian, and he gives the impression that he is the best half of both worlds.
Wind tells John that upon the death of his mother, he became a slave to the Pawnee, so he ran away, only to become a slave of the white man. When he ran away again, he drifted onto the High Chaparral, where he ran into the Apache plight. He says that he chooses his own way, whether it be Indian or white, according to whatever is guiding him at the time. As he works to repay John for the loss of the cattle he stole, he earns the respect of Sam, who becomes his mentor. This relationship is never fully explained, but Sam definitely has a big brother influence on Wind in the same manner that Sam has on Blue. Buck also takes a keen interest in Wind. When Wind encounters something which bothers him, he goes to Sam or to Buck for an explanation.
Wind begins his life on the ranch as an unpaid hand, an obligation Wind feels he must square with Big John for the loss of cattle before he can move on. In the process of rounding up strays, Wind learns that a planned cattle drive is meant to bring harm to Big John. When he discovers the poisoned water and warns Buck and Mano, the latter two begin to have a grudging respect for the lad, although Buck thinks Wind has about a "yard and a half" too much bravado for his own good.
Wind has a problem with authority figures. He is head-strong and forthright, and he comes across as arrogant at times. He manages to push every single button of Sam's patience in his learning experiences at the same time that he endears himself to Sam for his curiosity and eagerness to understand. His ethics are very high. For instance, he will not help the ranch round up horses from the Apache lands because he considers it stealing. When he learns later that Big John paid for the horses with cattle, he apologizes for having any doubts about John's integrity. At still another time, he admits to Sam that he does not understand why there is so much tension on the ranch when Big John deals with the Maximilianistas. His belief that each man must do what he feels is right invites a lecture from Sam and Buck about responsibility and loyalty to his employer.
Wind is very intuitive when it comes to situations he understands, and he understands a great deal about human nature. He is an expert shot and an expert tracker and is used for both purposes. When the Pale Warrior shows up, it is Wind who is first to suspect that all is not right. He also invites mothering from Victoria, but he gives it right back as the first to be there for her when she needs someone to confide in. When she is in danger, he promises the perpetrator that the world will not be big enough to hide in, should she be harmed in any way. He is very loyal to those he likes, and it is obvious that he likes the people on the ranch.
We don't get to see a great deal of Wind, but what we do see makes him an integral part of the High Chaparral, and we can presume that he has a great deal of learning and growing experiences in store for him. He is young, but not totally na´ve. He is outspoken, but not totally disrespectful. It is Sam who describes Wind best: "He don't care if you're red, white, polka-dot or something else. He treats everyone the same." (By Sandy Sturdivant)
See the Guide to Character Weight to determine in which episodes Wind had major or minor roles.
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