the desert outside Tucson, three army deserters rescue a small band of miners
from a raiding Apache war party, only to then kill the men and steal their wagon
and clothes. While all this is going on, Buck and Sam are back at their favorite
Tucson saloon, trying to get the locals drunk enough to sign on as Chaparral
ranch hands. They make a very honest go of it, but even thirty dollars worth of
whiskey isn't enough to make the men of Tucson willing to risk Cochise and his
| Buck is forlorn at his failure, but Sam cheers him with the news that
they've still got a full bottle of whiskey left. Their spirits considerably
lifted, the boys are further delighted when they find the three deserters
driving into town, mistake them for hungry drifters - "good prospects"
Sam calls them, and recruit them as Chaparral ranch hands. Buck is especially
impressed that they have already survived an encounter with the Apaches - for the
stolen wagon is full of arrows.
Buck finds three new recruits.
Back at the ranch, Blue is busy in the mud making adobe bricks, a task
he would very much like to be rid of. When Buck and Sam return with the
new hands, Blue sees an opportunity to get out of the mud brick
business, but John wants the new men on night herd.
Captain Dabney waiting to interview the
When Blue protests, much to
the amusement of the others, that he wants to rotate tasks like the other men,
John reminds him that he's not like the other hands who work for wages. Blue
works for the ranch - he works for himself, and therefore is obligated to
take the unpleasant jobs. Blue is not impressed. Still sulking at dinner, he
goes outside to discover a troop of cavalry looking for his father. Their
leader, a Captain Dabney, wants to interview the miners who were attacked, not
realizing they are deserters from his own troop.
| John is not happy to have the
men on his land - but the "miners" won't return before midday.
Grasping at his chance, Blue offers to ride out and change places with one of
them, sending him back to answer the captain's questions, and getting himself
out of the mud - if only for a little while. John agrees, but the
"miners" have other plans when Blue gets to them. They tie him up,
instead, and light out for the border.
Blue discovers the new hands are not what they appeared.
Sam orders Ira to go watch the herd.
|Sam, Ira and Manolito find Blue in the morning. Ira is
ordered to stay with the herd while Sam heads back to the ranch to apprise Big
John of the situation, and Mano and Blue head out after the deserters.
Buck is relieved to find Mano and Blue safe.
John is appalled when he finds out, telling
Buck and Captain Dabney to never mind about the deserters or his stock,
he wants those "two wild kids" back before the Apache get them. Blue and
Mano find one of the deserters, staked out dead by the Apache, just
before the army and Buck find the boys.
Dabney's prisoners include relatives
They also capture a few
Apache prisoners, including a woman and child who are relatives of Cochise's.
Buck has no luck getting Dabney, who does not understand the real danger, to let
the woman and boy go, and John is furious when he finds out. Dabney agrees to leave
immediately, but the Apache attack before he can.
Sam prepares to rescue the downed soldier.
During the melee, a soldier is caught, dragged and then left
struggling, crippled, in the desert. Unable to stand by and watch
the suffering, Sam goes after him, and is also captured.
Sam impulsively rides to the rescue.
The hostages are strung up in the sun.
As the Chaparral crew and the army watch helplessly, Sam,
the two surviving deserters, and the crippled soldier are strung out between
several saguaro in the hot sun. Cochise sends in an ultimatum - free his people,
or the prisoners die. Dabney refuses. Bringing his own prisoners out on display,
he has one of the Apaches shot. The Apache kill the man next to Sam in
retaliation - and Dabney begins to realize that the stakes of the game are very
He still refuses to release his prisoners, however, and when John fights
him, he places Cannon under house arrest. John goes quietly, realizing, as Buck
later explains to Blue and the boys, that fighting the army would just give
Cochise the perfect chance to ride right over all of them, and would not save
Sam. John, however, is formulating a plan.
John explains his plan for having Buck create a diversion
while Blue frees the Apache hostages.
Blue agrees to take on the job of freeing the hostages.
|The plan is simple. While he and Buck
create diversions, someone can sneak out to the adobe building where
the Apache prisoners are being held, break through the still raw
bricks Blue has just replaced, and sneak the prisoners back to
Cochise. The person who will carry this out, says John, is Blue -
the best man for the job.
Though he admits he is afraid, Blue agrees. The
plan works. While Sam and the others languish in the sun at day break, John and
Buck create their diversions. Blue gets into the adobe, gets the prisoners out,
and then runs them across the desert to Cochise.
Blue prepares to destroy is brickwork to release the
Apache prisoners while Reno stands guard.
Tension gives way to relief as John, Victoria, and Buck
watch Blue rescue the hostages.
Dabney, when he understands
what is happening, cannot believe John would risk his own son. But John trusts
Cochise to keep his word. There are a few tense moments, as Blue frees Sam, and
the men still living, and they begin to walk back to the ranch, but Cochise
makes no move to stop them, and soon Sam, Blue and the others are back within
the safety of the ranch and the arms of their friends and families. There is
much praise for Blue, especially from Captain Dabney, and then John sends him off
to the next job he is the best man for - back to making adobe!
(Synopsis by Sheryl Clay)