The High Chaparral

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Pedro's dental work

Jack Kelly as Doctor John Henry Holliday

Joe, Pedro, and Blue in 
"Doctor From Dodge"

1.16   Doctor from Dodge     
When Billy Blue Cannon is forced into a showdown with wanted gunfighters, he is saved by a wandering dentist who proves to be fast with a gun.

Produced by William F. Claxton
Directed by Richard Benedict
Written by Richard Sale      
Originally Broadcast:  October 29, 1967

Story Line: John Cannon agrees to send Billy Blue to help the Doc Henry establish a practice in Tucson. Billy Blue is kidnapped en route and held for ransom by the gunfighters, Jacques Dubois and Kid Curry. The boy loses faith in his new friend when the dentist throws in with the crooks. John Cannon corners Doc Henry with the ransom and prepares for a shoot-out.

Guest Stars: 

Jack Kelly 
as Doc Henry

Richard Angarola 
as Jacques Dubois

John Davis Chandler 
as Kid Curry

Guest Star Note:  Some filmographies also list the following guests as appearing in this episode: Jorge Moreno as Chico, X Brands as Nock-Ay-Del, and Rico Alaniz as Ricardo.  These actors appear in these roles in the Pilot but they do not appear in this episode.  Their names are not listed on the show's opening or closing credits, and no such characters appear in the script or in the film of "The Doctor from Dodge".

Character Highlights: Much of this episode focuses on the guest stars, especially Jack Kelly, although Blue certainly plays a central role as well. This episode is reminiscent of the very early episodes where John is harsh and demanding towards Blue. He slugs him partly out of anger and partly out of fear when he learns Blue nearly drew against a famous gunslinger. The episode has a number of light-hearted moments that are carried mainly by Jack Kelly, especially the dental scene with the bunkhouse boys. Of the regulars only Sam, Joe, and Pedro are in this episode, but Pedro especially has some good scenes as a dental patient. While Victoria has a rather small role, she makes some important points to John when he initially refuses her offer to use her jewelry as ransom. Victoria: "Blue’s life is at stake and we stand here arguing about what’s yours and what’s mine?" Naturally, she prevails in her argument. Mano is not present in this episode and Buck appears only briefly at the end. John receives his comeuppance when he nearly makes the same mistake with Doc Holliday that he had chastised Blue for earlier in going up against Kid Curry.

Complete Episode Synopsis:   Riding across the High Chaparral, a man in a hack with a huge molar hanging off one side and the inscription "Painless Extractions Only" painted on both sides of the hack, is nonchalantly enjoying his ride, when he spots clouds of smoke in the rocks, rightly assuming it is Apaches. Unafraid, he stops and makes a campfire. Meanwhile, Blue, Joe and Pedro spot the same smoke signals. Blue is afraid it's Apaches, but Joe says he's "more afraid of your pa," and insists that they finish hunting strays because he doesn't see any Apaches. In a moment, though, the Apaches come after them. 

The traveling dentist

The dentist shows his "pass" from Cochise.

Racing ahead of the bullets, they fly into the camp of the mysterious stranger. Blue hollers for the man to grab a gun and help. Instead of reaching for a gun, however, to the complete amazement of the others, the stranger snatches up a decorative Indian belt and walks out to the Apaches with the belt held up so they can see it. The Apaches immediately break off the attack. The stranger returns to camp and identifies himself as Doc John Henry. He says he's on his way to Tucson where he's heard there isn't "a single living dentist".  He explains the belt by telling them that he was jumped by Cochise, who had a toothache, and when Doc fixed his bicuspid, Cochise gave his war belt in gratitude. The war belt was Doc's free ticket through Apache land. 

Doc chats with Blue on the way to Chaparral.

Doc offers to go to the ranch to have a look at anyone's teeth. Blue then offers to escort Doc to ranch headquarters. On the way, Doc says he is looking for the High Chaparral, that he believes that John Cannon is one of the richest men in Arizona. Blue then identifies himself, saying that the Doc has been on the High Chaparral for the past hour. He also puts Doc straight about the fact that his father does not possess a lot of money.

Blue helps direct the Doc to the ranch.

The Doc cuts down the bushwhacker behind him without missing a beat.

On the ride to the ranch, Blue spots smoke in the rocks, and has Doc stop while he investigates. He enters the camp of two men who are cooking a meal, and explains that they are on Cannon land, and if the two men had gone to the ranch instead of taking a steer, they would have been treated to a meal. One of the men, a Frenchman, says he has escaped Maximillian's fate in Mexico, and the other man appears to be a cocky kid. They want Blue to run along. Blue says he can't let the men get away with butchering Cannon cattle, and it looks like Blue is in for it, when Doc shows up with a shotgun. He points it at the two men, as a third bandit sneaks up behind Doc. The bandits warn Doc, but he already knows his danger. He swiftly turns, cuts the bandit with one blast, and as quickly turns to cover the two at the campfire with the shotgun. The whole maneuver takes less than a fraction of a second, and Blue stares at Doc wide-eyed.
Hearing the gunfire, John and Sam ride up. John tells Sam to check the hide of the slaughtered steer, promising the two bandits that if it bears the High Chaparral brand, there will be hell to pay, but the steer is a maverick, so John tells the two bandits to leave. As the bandits ride off, Blue tells John that Doc saved his life. When John asks if Doc recognized the two bandits, Doc said he did not recognize the Frenchman, but he did recognize Kid Curry. Sam mentions that he's heard of the Curry Gang, and Blue then confesses that he almost pulled a gun on the Kid. This statement prompts disciplinary action from John. He backhands Blue, and when Blue wants to know why, John says, "If I've told you once, I've told you a hundred times. That gun you're wearing is no toy. It was made to kill. You don't pull it unless that's what you intend to do with it. You don't draw on a man unless you can take him."

John is furious with Blue for nearly getting himself killed by a notorious gunslinger.

Pedro, feeling better after his dental work.

Once at the ranch, Doc examines Pedro's tooth with the entire bunkhouse getting in the way. He finally settles on a price of two dollars to fix the tooth without anesthetic and three dollars with it. Pedro chooses the anesthetic, which turns out to be a well aimed knock on the head with a sap. When Doc is finished, Blue wakes Pedro up with a bucket of water. Pedro announces that he no longer has a toothache, just a headache, but when Doc turns to the others, they quietly scatter. 
At this point, Sam rides in with a Wanted poster for the two bandits. The price is $1000, and all the bunkhouse hands are eager to chase after the bandits for the reward money. Instead, John puts them all back to work. Doc then announces that he will ride into Tucson, and Blue asks if he can go along to introduce him around town. On the way, Blue wonders how a dentist could be so good with guns, obviously becoming suspicious that the Doc is a gunslinger. At this point, they are accosted by Kid Curry and Jacques Dubois, the men on the Wanted poster. The bandits take Doc and Blue hostage. When Blue and the Kid get into a fight, Doc manages to overpower Jacques Dubois, putting the shotgun to Dubois' head. Kid Curry immediately puts his pistol to Blue's head. Since Blue has been knocked unconscious in the fight, Doc realizes they have a Mexican standoff. He agrees to drop the shotgun in exchange for Blue's life.

Victoria insists on using her jewels as ransom for Blue's release.

The bandits are now in possession of all the weapons, with Doc and Blue as prisoners, Doc suggests a deal with the bandits to hold Blue for ransom. He says he will go for the ransom, since the High Chaparral people already know him. Dubois is suspicious, and he follows from the rocks. At the ranch, Doc says the ransom price is $10,000. John Cannon does not have the money, and Victoria immediately gets her jewels. This goes completely against the grain for John. He tells her that those jewels were from her father, whereupon, she becomes furious, pointing out that they can't continue "to fight over what's yours and what's mine." The jewels obviously don't mean anything to Victoria with Blue's life at stake. 
With Victoria's jewelry as the ransom, Doc asks for a derringer, which he carefully secrets in a holder inside his hat. This arouses Sam's suspicions, and he makes a statement about how handy a derringer concealed in that fashion would be in a poker game against someone who cheats. Doc replies, "A gentleman never plays poker with anyone who cheats." When he leaves, Sam says to John, "I have a bad feeling about that fellow." John agrees, and he and Sam follow Doc at a discreet distance. Meanwhile, Blue has finally revived, but he has been tied up. Kid Curry explains that Doc was planning on taking Blue prisoner on the ride to Tucson, but Blue doesn't believe it until he hears Doc ride up and argue with Dubois. Doc then has a shootout with Dubois, killing the bandit. When Doc enters to free Blue, Kid Curry rides off. Blue now believes that Doc was planning on taking him hostage, and Doc can't talk him out of it. Thinking it over for a minute, Doc decides to ride out in the same general direction as Kid Curry. Blue then sets about trying to free himself from his bonds.

Still struggling to free himself, Blue watches the Doc ride off with Victoria's jewels.

Sam listens suspiciously to Doc's story.

Doc runs into John and Sam on the trail, and Doc attempts to bluster his way out of his predicament. He says he was on his way to get them, but Sam points out that he was going in the wrong direction. Doc then says he was after Kid Curry to get back Victoria's jewels, but Blue rides up at that time and tells his father that Doc has Victoria's jewels. John is really irate at this point. He gets the jewels from Doc's saddlebags and then orders Blue to take off his gun belt. Blue tries to warn his father about Doc's expertise with a gun, but John interrupts, demanding the gun belt. Doc cautions John to listen to Blue. John is beyond reason. He throws the gun belt at Doc, who puts it on, while Sam and Blue lead the horses out of danger. 
Face to face with John in an obvious show down, Doc spies Kid Curry behind John in the rocks. Faster than lightning, he shoots the Kid. John is completely astounded. A few minutes later, Doc mounts his horse and tells John to send the $1000 reward money to Tombstone in care of Wyatt Earp. As Doc leaves, Buck rides up. Buck waves and yells a greeting to Doc, who waves and yells a greeting back. Blue asks Buck if he knows Doc John Henry. Buck says sure he does, that Doc pulled two teeth for him once in Dodge City. He tells them that his full name is Doc John Henry Holliday, a famous gunslinger. Trying to keep a straight face, Blue and Sam turn to John. John gets on his horse and announces, "I don't want to hear one guffaw out of any of you." As he rides off in the direction of the ranch, Blue and Sam burst out laughing. Buck, who's unaware of anything that's transpired, demands to know what's so funny as he rides after them.  

John prepares to draw on Doc, unaware that Kid Curry is behind him.

(Synopsis by Sandy Sturdivant)

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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