As Mano and Blue are riding across a ridge line to the Salt Creek area
of the High Chaparral, they witness three Apaches racing across the
desert below them. One Apache is in the lead, followed by two others.
When the first Apache is subsequently shot from his horse by one of the
others, Blue is very confused. He turns to Mano with incredulity, making
a statement about not believing that two Apaches would kill another. Mano finds it hard
to believe also, and they make their way down to the shot Apache,
whom they think is dead.
Blue watches in disbelief as two
Apaches attack another
However, the Indian is just
barely alive, and he manages to tell Mano before he dies that Soldado is
planning to kill a medicine man by the name of Nock-Ay-Del, who is currently on
his way to the High Chaparral on a peace mission. In previous episodes, we have
learned that Soldado is a sub-chief under Cochise, and as a sub-chief, he
carries a lot of power and has a large following. Mano and Blue immediately ride
toward the ranch house to warn the others.
Teecha and Nock-Ay-Del ride into the
At the ranch, Reno is standing guard on the roof when Nock-Ay-Del
and Teecha approach. He sounds a warning, and everyone races to defense
positions. Buck is highly suspicious and deciding to err on the side of
caution, he tells his brother that it might be a big mistake to let the
Indians inside the compound. John decides he wants to see why the
Indians have come to the ranch, and he tells Ira down at the gate to let
the Indians pass.
Seeing the disapproval on Buck's face, John says, "I think I know
when an Apache wants to fight and when he doesn't." Buck doesn't buy
into this reasoning. He reminds his brother that there is only Reno, Ira
and the new hand Kelso currently at the ranch, but John is insistent.
Through Vaquero's semi-expert translation, we learn that Nock-Ay-Del
thinks John Cannon is a great chief, that he has come from Cochise to
talk. John then invites the
Indians inside the house to talk on his terms, instead of a pow-wow
in the yard. The Indians think they will be taken prisoners, but John
assures them that they will be safe.
Buck and John discuss their next
Buck instructs the new hand, Kelso.
When they all go inside, Victoria recognizes Nock-Ay-Del as the
man who once saved her life and whom she once nursed back to health.
While Nock-Ay-Del makes his preparations to talk, which appear to be
lengthy, Buck leaves saying he is posting a guard. By this time, it is
dark, and Buck decides to pull Reno from the roof to the corral and send
Ira patrolling on foot. He puts Kelso in the yard and cautions him not
to go shooting Reno and Ira, but to keep himself alert. He also tells
Kelso, who is obviously a green hand, that everything will be okay.
Kelso is very nervous.
Inside, Nock-Ay-Del tells John
that Cochise is willing to make peace if John will bargain and
trade for the High Chaparral land, instead of fighting to the
death. This intrigues John, but when he learns that the price is
one cow and one calf for every woman in the tribe, as well as one
horse for every warrior, John is outraged. Victoria steps in and
says it is just the first offer, that John should bargain, which
Nock-Ay-Del negotiates with the
Buck draws on Nock-Ay-Del.
Out in the yard, Buck and Ira are talking when they hear a noise.
They carefully investigate and find Kelso dead. Buck is deeply
remorseful. He sends Ira to find Reno with instructions for both of them
to get to the bunkhouse. Then, he picks up Kelso and carries the dead
man inside the ranch house, where he lets John know that he feels
responsible for Kelso's death by saying that he shouldn't have left
Kelso alone. He then pulls a gun on Nock-Ay-Del. At this point, Teecha
races into the yard, where he is immediately shot by the Apaches
outside. Mano and Blue then come riding madly into the yard, and dodging
bullets, make it safely inside the ranch house.
| John sends Victoria to the bedroom,
instructing her to stay there behind locked shutters. Blue tells his
father that the Apaches outside are there to kill Nock-Ay-Del. From
Mano's translation of Nock-Ay- Del, John learns that Soldado doesn't
want peace, and he surmises that Soldado wants to kill Nock-Ay-Del at
the High Chaparral in order to blame the Cannons and stir up the tribes.
When Nock-Ay-Del tries to leave, Buck cracks him over the head, and they
tie him to a chair. It is John's plan to wait until morning,
whereupon he will escort the Indians to Cochise and let Cochise deal
Mano and Vaquero act as translators.
Buck plans to go to the bunkhouse to tell Ira and Reno not to kill
the Apaches outside, but when he and Mano attempt to get there without
being shot, they discover that Teecha is still alive. Buck takes Teecha
into the ranch house, where Victoria says he will live, and Mano dodges
bullets to the bunkhouse. Blue goes to the roof with instructions not to
shoot, but to keep the Apaches alive for Cochise to punish. While up
there, he is attacked by Kantu, the wild son of Soldado. When Buck comes
to the rescue, he says, "What are you trying to do, Boy? Get yourself
killed?" Blue, who had been in a life or death struggle, manages to
mutter, "Pa told me to take him alive." Buck promptly gives John a look
and says, "Big John, you should have told him to keep Blue alive."
Victoria pleads with John to help
By this time, Buck is thoroughly
disgusted with John's instructions to keep the Apaches alive. He
tells John he is "fighting Apaches the way I know how." In
disgust, he heads out the door, toward the bunkhouse, and is
promptly shot. Blue races down from the roof, wanting to rescue
Buck, but John tells him to get back to his post. Victoria then
steps up, wanting John to go rescue Buck, and John tells her to
get back to the bedroom. Victoria promptly blurts out, "He'd go
to you!" John tells her that he will make the decisions, but it
is obvious that he is deeply concerned about his brother.
Out in the yard, Buck is just playing dead in an attempt to lure
Soldado's man to him. It works. The Apache approaches, and Buck manages
to kill the Indian. He then races back to the house, where John socks
him a good one for killing the Indian. Buck complains, "You're going to
wear out my face. You shouldn't hit that hard." While he's commiserating
to John, he sees a rifle being aimed through the unguarded front door at
Nock-Ay-Del, and he races to deflect the bullet. Soldado manages to hit
Nock-Ay-Del in the head, but it is not serious.
Buck recovers after being slugged by
Blue is called down from the roof by
John then gets
this idea to fool Soldado, so they can capture him. He gets Blue
to dress in Kantu's clothing, which Buck highly disapproves of,
and when John opens the door, he pretends to kill Blue. Blue falls
"dead" in the yard. In an effort to let the bunkhouse know what's going
on, Buck sneaks out the back way with a warning to Vaquero to shoot into
the sky. Vaquero says he will shoot four shots for protection. The shots
They also confuse the bunkhouse. Ira and
Reno are wondering what to do, when Mano opens the door for
Buck. Buck tells them that 'Big John has got himself a scheme.'
Seeing Buck safely ensconced in the bunkhouse, John says, "Now
we'll see if an Apache father cares for his son." The trick
works. Soldado comes to Blue, thinking it is his son. Blue and
Soldado struggle, and all the ranch hands then help capture
In the morning, Mano is dispatched alone
to Cochise with all the Indians. By late afternoon, everyone is
noticeably nervous when Mano hasn't returned, but Victoria says
she won't worry until after dark. Mano is then chased into the
yard by Apaches, and Reno and Ira race to protect him. Mano is
leading a paint horse, and as he is telling John that it is a
gift from Cochise as a sign of respect, the horse eats Buck's
biscuit. Mano tells John that Cochise did nothing to Soldado,
since Soldado had many warriors who sided with him against the
white man. But Mano also tells John that all that had happened
at the High Chaparral "was not wasted on Cochise."
Buck feeds the paint, a gift from
(Synopsis by Sandy Sturdivant)