The High Chaparral

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Marshal Virgil Packer and Buck

Mark of the Turtle

Mano and El Lobo

1.11  Mark of the Turtle         Buck, Mano, El Lobo
John Cannon risks breaking a mutual defense agreement with Victoria's father and dissolution of his marriage when his ranch hands join a posse searching for marauding bandits in Mexico.

Produced by Buck Houghton
Directed by William F. Claxton
Written by Bob and Esther Mitchell      
Original Broadcast:  December 10, 1967

Story Line: Marshal Virgil Shanks leads the posse into Mexico and comes into strong conflict with Buck and the Cannon cowhands when he disregards the delicacy of the situation and rides boldly onto Montoya land. Manolito finds the bandit leader, El Lobo, on his father's land and attempts to move the bandits out before the posse moves in for the kill.

Guest Stars: 

Robert Lansing 
as Marshal Virgil Shanks

Anthony Caruso 
as El Lobo


Pepe Hern 
as Teofilo

Bill Shannon 
as Jake Sully

Character Highlights: This is our first introduction to High Chaparralís favorite bandit, El Lobo. Also, our first real introduction to Manoís new horse, Mackadoo, who gets plenty of time in front of the camera. There are two parallel interactions going on here, one between Buck and the Marshal and one between Mano and El Lobo. Although Buck and the Marshal have a similar mission (capturing El Lobo) Buckís also includes doing it in such a way that the High Chaparralís pact with Don Sebastian (and Johnís marriage) is not put at risk. As such, Buckís is the greater burden and he is very intense, definitely in charge, and not about to back down to the Marshal. In the end they both earn each otherís respect for the dedication and skill they each demonstrate. Mano and El Lobo meanwhile are playing a game of cat and mouse with El Lobo welcoming Mano into his camp as an old friend ("Mi casa, su casa") sharing his food and his girlfriend, yet holding him hostage at the same time, and Mano eventually tricking El Lobo into a trap.

All the bunkhouse boys play significant roles in the pursuit and ensuing gun battles, with Sam also having a one-on-one confrontation and knife fight with one of the bandits. While John and Victoria are not involved in most of the story, they have some important dialogue early in the episode in which John makes clear that his support for law enforcement is more important than the ramifications of breaking the agreement with Don Sebastian Montoya. At one point Victoria says, "I am your wife John, but I am also my fatherís daughter." " I am your wife for always, but I would not want to see the husband I love, at war with the father I also love." Realizing the delicacy of the situation, Mano says to John, "Mr. Cannon I do not know if you are a fool, but if you are a fool, you are a magnificent fool." Blue does not have a significant role in this episode.

Complete Episode Synopsis

    When lawman Virgil Packer rides into Tucson with a dead body slung over a horse, the Chaparral ranch hands there are curious to find out who he is. They learn that Packer has come south from Prescott in search of the notorious bandido, El Lobo, and that he wants a posse of men to go with him. Buck says "no" unequivocally, but when Packer turns up at the Cannon ranch, having found no one to ride with him, John backs the marshal and allows any of his men who wish it to ride with Packer.

Joe, Pedro, Buck, and Reno watch as
Packer rides in with a dead body.

John tries to explain his position to Buck.

Buck is concerned with the implications of crossing into Montoya land in the hunt; he tells Big John, "You could lose the High Chaparral, you could lose everything." John knows this, but Packer represents the law, and he is bound to back the presence of law in the territory. Victoria gently reminds him of his alliance with Don Sebastian, and of the seriousness of his actions. When he asks her what she would do if she had to choose between him and her father, she assures him, "I am your wife always. But I would not want to see the husband I love at war with the father I also love."
Thus, the manhunt for El Lobo becomes a crisis for the High Chaparral and for John and Victoria, and the only way for it to be averted is for the posse to catch El Lobo in U.S. territory. Unbeknownst to John and Victoria, Manolito overhears their discussion, and he joins the posse.

Packer, thinking he is in charge.

Bad blood presents itself early on in the hunt. Buck is clearly unhappy about going, and Packer is antagonistic. Both men posture a bit about which one is running things. When Packer learns that Manolito is Don Sebastian's son, he wants him out of the posse.

Buck who is actually in charge.

Manolito willingly leaves and doesn't allow Buck to protest, saying that he has other things he'd rather do. Packer casts a distrustful glance in his direction as he rides away, but the posse is soon on the trail of the bandits.
A tense moment occurs after they cross the border when some Montoya vaqueros meet them. Buck tells Packer to act like they are all ranch hands and threatens to shoot him if he does otherwise. Buck is able to persuade the vaqueros that they are chasing down some Chaparral steers that the Apache took, and the Montoya men leave them. Packer tells Buck, "The next time you pull a gun on me, you'd better use it."

Joe keeps an eye on Packer around
the vaqueros.

Meanwhile, Manolito has tracked El Lobo to his camp, and the two embrace like old friends. We learn that El Lobo and Don Sebastian had been boys together, which would explain Don Sebastian's protection of the bandido. After enjoying El Lobo's hospitality, Manolito alerts him to the presence of the posse. He tells El Lobo that there are thirty to forty men tracking him, and tries to discourage him from fighting them.

Sam is nearly killed by El Lobo's scout.

El Lobo, who is fond of Manolito but does not trust him, sends a man to scout out the posse and find how many there are. The scout runs afoul of Sam, however, and is killed. When the scout's horse returns empty to camp, El Lobo is convinced in the reality of the posse and orders his men to move to another location that Manolito had suggested: the Tortuga mine, a defunct mine on the U.S. side of the border. He takes Manolito with him just in case he needs a hostage.

Packer and the posse find El Lobo's old camp and also evidence that Manolito has been there, a drawing of a turtle in the sand. Buck and Sam recognize the drawing as his, and feel that it is a sign for them. Pedro informs them that the word for turtle in Spanish is "tortuga", hence they know that El Lobo and his men have taken to the Tortuga mine.
 Packer and the Chaparral men are able to surround the mine and kill many of El Lobo's men. Manolito is found safe and El Lobo is trapped and captured. The men return to the High Chaparral, and before he escorts El Lobo to Tucson, Packer thanks Buck for his help in the mission, telling him that he couldn't have done it without him. John, in turn, thanks Manolito, knowing that it was his doing that brought about El Lobo's capture in United States territory.

Mano and Buck take cover from El Lobo.

El Lobo finally gives up.

Buck pleased with the final outcome.

(Synopsis by Lisa McKenzie)

Supervisory Producer:  Irving Elman
Production Manager:  Kent McCray
Music by Harry Sukman; Theme by David Rose      
Director of Photography:  Harkness Smith, A.S.C.
Color Consultant:  Edward P. Ancona
Unit Production Manager:  Andrew J. Durkus
Assistant Director: Ray de Camp
Stunt Coordinator:  Henry Wills
Story Editor: Ward Hawkins
Art Direction:  Hal Pereira, McClure Capps
Edited by Sydney Levin
Set Decoration:  Robert Benton, Bill F. Calvert
Post Production Co-ordinator:  Bill Wistrom
Casting:  Russell Trost
Sound Recording: Joe Edmondson, Joel Moss
Make-up 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
   and Coronado National Forest, Forest Service -
   U.S. Department of Agriculture
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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