The High Chaparral

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Uncle Buck confronting Uncle Dan

Victoria and Uncle Dan

Jack Lord as Uncle Dan Brookes

1.19  The Kinsman                     Buck, Victoria
The Cannons care for a wounded relative who repays them by stealing the ranch payroll.

Produced by William F. Claxton
Directed by Seymour Robbie
Written by Richard Carr      
Originally Broadcast:  January 28, 1968

Story Line: Uncle Dan Brookes arrives suddenly after a 15-year absence seeking safety in the heavily fortified ranch. He conceals the fact he is wanted dead or alive for murder and has been shot by bounty hunters Mace and Gurney. When Buck hires the bounty hunters as ranch hands, Brookes saves his own skin by offering to help Mace and Gurney steal the Cannon payroll.

Guest Stars:

Jack Lord 
as Uncle Dan Brookes

William C. Watson 
as Mace

Rayford Barnes 
as Gurney

Raymond Guth 
as Livery Owner

William Tannen 
   as Mike the Bartender   

Jack Searl 
as George, Storekeeper

Character Highlights: This episode sets up a challenge to Buckís so far undisputed position as Blueís favorite uncle. At one point he reminds Blue that "no matter what happens you still got me, and I am your blooded uncle." Jack Lord does a good job of playing the sleazy step brother of Annalee. Blue is clearly enamored with him and John wants to give him the benefit of the doubt out of respect for Annalee. Buck is suspicious of him from the start. After he makes a pass at Victoria and accuses her of being a gold digger she is well aware of the character he is, but chooses not to tell anyone. Nonetheless, both Buck and Mano pick up on how uncomfortable she is with John offering Brookes a job even though Blue and John remain clueless. Victoria has very strong dialogue with Brookes where she threatens to tell John about him unless he leaves the ranch. When he questions her follow-through she says through clenched teeth, "I donít make threats I donít mean." Buck follows with his own ultimatum to Brookes, saying menacingly, "Youíre gonna keep away from my Blue Boy, you hear? 'Cause if you donít, Iíll blow you out like the dirt that you are."

Besides his menacing scenes, Buck has some light-hearted ones here, including one where he gives his standard sales pitch to hire new ranch hands at the general store and then again when he signs them up at the saloon. We also get to see Buck for the first time without a shirt where he is washing Rebel and talking to Mano (see below). In terms of history clues, this episode is somewhat confusing. We know it has been at least 15 years since the Cannons have seen Dan Brookes and Blue asks Buck if he knew him "back up in Missouri". Buck responds that he didnít really know him that well because Brookes was just a kid. He remembers him from John and Annaleeís wedding and that he ran away from home shortly after Blue was born and no one heard from him after that. If that is all true, it would indicate that the Cannons were all in Missouri as early as the mid-forties.

Complete Episode Synopsis:  While waiting for John and Buck's late night return, a friendly poker game between Mano and Blue is interrupted when a wounded rider rides into the High Chaparral looking for Annalee.  He is taken in by Victoria, Blue and Manolito after he passes out from loss of blood. John and Buck arrive at the ranch to as the unknown rider is just coming to.  He tells John that he is Dan Brookes, the step-brother of John's first wife, Annalee. Although the circumstances of Dan Brookes' arrival are suspicious, John is happy to see him and opens his home to him. Blue in particular is ecstatic at finding another uncle, and he plies his uncle for reminiscences of Annalee.

Buck and Blue look on as Victoria tends to the wounds of the unknown rider.

Buck tries to explain his suspicions to Blue.

Buck, however, is not taken in by the charms of Uncle Dan, and takes the first opportunity he can find to question him about the stolen horse he rode in on. Dan's answers are unsatisfactory, but there is little Buck can do for the time being because John is adamant about giving Brookes a chance out of respect for the memory of Annalee. When Buck is sent to town for supplies, he meets up with two men, Mace and Gurney, who are bounty hunters searching for Brookes. They hide their identity, but when they overhear Buck telling the bartender that a man with an injured leg is recuperating at the High Chaparral, they sign on as ranch hands to gain access to him.
Meanwhile, Brookes makes a pass at Victoria and accuses her of marrying John for the ranch. Thinking he has the upper hand with Victoria, he attempts to manipulate John by telling him that Victoria had been rude to him. Victoria says nothing to John, but by that night's dinner, the battle lines appear to be drawn, with Victoria and Buck against Brookes, and Blue and John still oblivious to his true character. By the end of dinner, Mano can also see that Buck and Victoria have deep suspicions about their guest.  After John offers Brookes a position to stay on permanently at the ranch, Buck and Victoria both accost him outside after supper and tell him to leave the ranch.  He shrugs both of them off.

Victoria makes her position clear to Brookes.

Mace collars Uncle Dan.

After Victoria and Buck return inside he is collared by the two bounty hunters while taking a breath of night air and they prepare to turn him in. Brookes is a smooth talker, though, and he convinces the bounty hunters to throw in with him in order to rob the Chaparral payroll the next day when he, John and Blue bring it back from Tucson. All he asks is for $100 and a run for the Mexican border.
On their way back from Tucson, John, Blue and Brookes are waylaid by the bounty hunters, but Buck and Manolito ride into view. Dan Brookes takes an unguarded moment to shoot and kill both bounty hunters. They travel back to the ranch where Brookes follows John into the house and relieves him of the payroll. Blue gives chase to his uncle and holds him at gunpoint, but Brookes takes advantage of Blue's unwillingness to hurt him. As he lunges at Blue, John shoots him from a distance before he can harm Blue.  Blue is heartbroken at finding and losing an uncle; John tells him, "He would have killed you. That's the difference between his kind and your kind. Ride it out, boy."                 (Synopsis by Lisa McKenzie)

Uncle Dan accosts Blue after knocking
John out.

While this photo doesn't have a spot in the current synopsis,
it was too sweet a picture of Rebel to leave out. 
It occurs when Mano rides up to tell Buck that his two new hands
have taken off and stolen a couple horses in the process.

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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