The High Chaparral
Don Domingo Montoya
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Don Domingo Montoya, brother to Don Sebastian, appears in only one episode, New Lion of Sonora.  Don Sebastian was a popular character with the audience, and too many episodes were made suggesting that Mano did not want the responsibility of El Patron of Rancho Montoya, so the untimely real-life death of Frank Silvera (Don Sebastian) during the Fourth Season necessitated a new face to the Montoya clan to keep the storyline intact.  Enter Gilbert Roland as Don Domingo, the black sheep scamp of an uncle to Mano and Victoria.  A more perfect casting could not have been made.  Gilbert Roland was a veteran of Latin lover roles, and he brought his wealth of charm to the scalawag Don Domingo with perfection.  Here is Lisa's biography of Don Domingo Montoya.


If there was ever a black sheep of a family, Don Domingo de Montoya is it. The younger brother of the Lion of Sonora, Don Sebastian, Domingo appears to be the embodiment of his older brother's worst nightmare. Wastrel, profligate, rebel, hedonist--all these epithets fit him so well that his name isn't even mentioned within the rest of the Montoya family. John Cannon is even surprised to learn of his existence, first revealed upon the reading of Don Sebastian's will, long after his entrance into the family.

To understand Domingo, his older brother and nephew must also be understood. From the beginning, it has been stated clearly that Manolito, heir to the Montoya fortune, wants no part of it, and in fact disagrees sharply with many of his father's philosophies and business practices. Don Sebastian was in many ways an unscrupulous man, willing to step over others in the furthering of his family's fortunes. He is not, however, a cold man, and appears to be more a grown up boy than a man. He seeks the approval of his children and their respect, and concocts ways of forcing them to notice him, even making them fight him, just so they will tell him that he is wrong. His children are his conscience, and it pleases him to know it. He is also a practical joker, and this he has passed on to his son. Manolito, on the other hand, spends his time in much the same way that Domingo occupies his, drinking, carousing, and taking pains to avoid all semblance of responsibility. When we first meet Domingo, then, we think we see what Manolito will be in twenty years.

After Don Sebastian dies, Manolito must face his uncle and tell him of the great inheritance he has been awarded. To any other man, such news would be a shock, but a welcome one, signaling a significant change in lifestyle. Domingo, however, barely bats an eye, even over the news of his brother's death. The only thing his new ranch means to him is the continuation of a high stakes card game. The game is won in dramatic fashion, garnering the admiration of his nephew for such daring and nerve, but Manolito sees the mirror held in front of him, and he rejects the image there. There is a fundamental difference between the two men despite their heretofore identical philosophies of life. Manolito is Don Sebastian's son, and whether or not he wants the accompanying responsibilities, he recognizes their presence and acknowledges that someone must deal with them. Domingo, however, doesn't have a clue.

Appealing to Domingo in ways that would set most men's blood to boiling doesn't work with him. Manolito tries with all his might to impress upon his uncle that the Rancho Montoya will be lost unless he acts, but there doesn't seem to be any fight in the man. He is utterly unsentimental about the ranch; whether it survives or not doesn't signify to him, and neither does the idea of passing it on as his legacy to his niece and nephew. He is so used to living selfishly and by his own wits that he can only see the ranch as a means of furthering his pursuit of pleasure. There is not a Montoya bone in this man's body.

Or is there? Manolito, frustrated in losing a battle that refuses to be fought, at last appeals to his uncle's name and his pride in it. It was probably vented in despair without any hope of its having any effect, but the mention of the Montoya name jolts Domingo to life. His eyes sparkle and words desert him--Manolito has struck a chord deep within his uncle. Perhaps his evident deep pride in the Montoya name is a vestige of an earlier power struggle between him and his older brother; perhaps it is simply the echo of his father's voice from many years ago. Whatever it is, it motivates him to at last act. He proves to be quick-witted and well able to grasp the situation challenging his ranch, displaying a natural ease in assuming a leadership position.

The real core of Don Domingo, however, isn't exposed until he sees with his own eyes the plight of the peons living on his land. Invoking the Montoya name was enough to cause him to travel to the surrounding villages and utilize his superior powers of speech with the peons. But when he witnesses the burning of a peon's home, with all the attendant fear and agony of soul, he is genuinely touched. For all his visible shortcomings, Domingo is a poet at heart. The emotions that brought forth the verses that he loves so well he can understand, for he has embraced them wholly. He has read the romantics, he has read Blake. He knows injustice and hates it; likewise, he knows compassion and is unwilling to dam it up inside his soul.

At last, the real Domingo is seen. He is many things, most of which his brother would have disapproved of vigorously, but he is a Montoya through and through. His years of exile may have settled into a forgetfulness of what he grew up with, but he learned to be a Montoya despite himself. His own wonder at his transformation is matched only by the wonder and newly found respect of his niece and nephew, and Don Sebastian's last joke that was so roundly admired becomes a stroke of wisdom and farsightedness. 
(By Lisa McKenzie)

From "New Lion of Sonora"

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