The High Chaparral

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Ralph Meeker as Tracy Conlin

Blue and Buck

Geraldine Brooks as Faye Layton

1.08  The Price of Revenge         Buck
Fay Layton, a widow, whose husband once owned the Cannon's ranch, hires a fast gun to drive the Cannons off the land.

Produced by Buck Houghton
Directed by Leonard Horn
Written by Frank Chase
Originally Broadcast:  November 19, 1967

Story Line: Tracy Conlin, the hired gunslinger, agrees to poison their water and plunder the ranch, but misjudges the stamina of John and Buck Cannon. After Conlin fails to drive the Cannons away, Fay Layton agrees he must kill John and Buck. With water gone and supplies running short, John, Buck, and Billy Blue make a desperate attempt to save the ranch by driving the herd toward fresh water through a narrow canyon.

Guest Stars: 

Geraldine Brooks 
as Fay Layton

Ralph Meeker 
as Tracy Conlin

Jack Searl
as the Clerk

Character Highlights: Giving us some background info, Tracy Conlin is an old friend of Buck’s from when they used to ride together. They talk about "that time in Abilene" together. This episode portrays a rather juvenile-acting Blue, more so than really fits with what has occurred in previous episodes. He seems upset just watching the violence of Conlin’s fist fight in the saloon even though in "Destination Tucson" and again in "Quiet Day in Tucson" he was a participant in much larger, more violent melees. Likewise, when he finally shoots Conlin, he completely breaks down over the shock of it even though he himself has been shooting and (presumably) killing people in at least two of the previous episodes. Touching scene, however, where Buck kisses him on the forehead. Victoria has a strong confrontational scene with Mrs. Layton. This is the first episode in the series where John seems genuinely affectionate towards Victoria throughout. It also seems to be the first that Mano fully accepts John as his sister’s husband. He and Victoria have a very compelling dialogue where he explains how much she means to John and why she should stay at the ranch to support him. Mano is otherwise mostly absent from this episode. Ralph Meeker is not very convincing as a dangerous gunslinger and too much time is spent on his dialogue with Mrs. Layton. The music is almost comically melodramatic.

Complete Episode Synopsis
   A dark chapter from The High Chaparral’s past comes to light when the Cannons suddenly find that they are no longer welcome in any public place in Tucson. Discovering that the store and the saloon, among other establishments, were all recently purchased by a wealthy woman from Santa Fe, John confronts her to inquire why she bears them a grudge, to which she replies, “Ask your wife!” Victoria, however, is totally ignorant of her motives.

Mrs. Layton refuses services to the Cannons.

Mano explains why Layton wants revenge.

Later, over dinner, Mano explains that Mrs. Layton, along with her husband, Tom, owned The High Chaparral 15 years ago, but the ranch failed when they ran out of water for their herd and Don Sebastian, having only enough water for his own cattle, refused to help them. Tom, having lost everything, committed suicide, thus leaving Fay Layton a bitter widow who moved away. She eventually acquired a great deal of money, but her one true motive was to someday return to Tucson to gain her revenge. Finding that a no-good Montoya (Victoria) was now living in the home she lost, she decided to direct her hate toward the Cannons.

Mano convinces Victoria to stay and support John at High Chaparral. 

Unable to purchase anything in town, Mano goes to Rancho Montoya for badly needed supplies.  Victoria wants to go with him thinking it will make things easier for John if she is not around, but Mano convinces her that her place is beside him at High Chaparral. 

Meanwhile, Buck tries to break the news to John that Buck’s old friend, Tracy Conlin, has been recruited by Mrs. Layton as a hired gun ... presumably to be used against the Cannons.

Conlin finds no difficulty in giving up friendship for Mrs. Layton's high wages ... furthermore, he finds her attractive, so much so that he asks her for half of the High Chaparral once the Cannons are driven away. Mrs. Layton, however, who can feel only hatred, spurns his affections.

Buck tells John that Conlin has hired
himself out to Mrs. Layton.

Conlin attacks Blue.

  Conlin tries non-lethal means of driving the Cannons off, scattering their herds, poisoning the water holes, and attacking the Cannon men on watch.  He knocks Blue out at the Rim Rock watering hole before dousing it with poison.  When John only doubles the watch, Conlin explains to Layton that the only way to get rid of a man like Cannon is with a bullet in the head.  Furthermore he tells her, you will have to kill his brother too.  Mrs. Layton instructs him to “do what you have to do” to force the Cannons out.
Conlin tries to bushwhack John as he rides through a narrow canyon, but only succeeds in grazing his head and knocking him from his horse.  Buck goes to John's aid and quickly determines where Conlin is likely to be on the hill above them.  Buck sets off after Conlin, not realizing that Blue is following him.  Buck gets the drop on Conlin at first, but on their way down the hill Conlin knocks Buck from his horse and in the fist fight that ensues, he hits Buck in the head with a rock, leaving him unconscious.  Blue sees all this and holds Conlin at gunpoint, but Conlin challenges Blue to stop him and Blue ends up killing Conlin just as Buck revives.  Blue is distraught at having killed a man and is reassured by Buck that it was not his fault, that it was Conlin's choice. 

Buck assures Blue that shooting Conlin
was not his fault.

John tells Mrs. Layton what her revenge
has cost.

John brings the body into town and forces Mrs. Layton to see what her revenge has cost her. Whether she truly regrets Tracy's death, or simply realizes she cannot accomplish her goal, Mrs. Layton gives up and moves away, leaving the Cannons to once more purchase supplies in Tucson.  Just as they are loading the last supplies, Mano returns with supplies from Rancho Montoya, somewhat perturbed that his difficult journey has been unnecessary.

(Synopsis by Brenda Meskunas)

Production Manager:  Kent McCray
Supervisory Producer:  Irving Elman
Music by Harry Sukman, Theme by David Rose
Director of Photography:  Harold Stine, A.S.C.
Color Consultant:  Edward P. Ancona
Unit Production Manager:  Andrew J. Durkus
Assistant Director: Sherry Shourds
Stunt Co-ordinator:  Henry Wills
Story Editor:  Ward Hawkins
Art Direction:  Hal Pereira & McClure Capps
Edited by Archie Marshek, A.C.E.
Set Decoration:  Robert Benton & Bill F. Calvert
Post Production Co-ordinator:  Bill Wistrom
Casting:  Russel Trost
Sound Recording:  Joe Edmondson & Joel Moss
Makeup Supervision:  Wally Westmore, S.M.A.
Hair Style Supervision:  Nelly Manley, C.H.S.
Titles by CINEFX
Location scenes filmed at Old Tucson, Tucson, Arizona

Filmed at Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California

Much of this material, including the Story Line descriptions, comes from The High Chaparral Press Kit released in 1971. The Character Highlights were written by Charlotte Lehan.  The Episode Synopses were written by members of the HC Discussion Group and are attributed at the end of each one.
Especially good portrayals of these characters

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