The High Chaparral

Previous Episode

First Season
Plot and Character Highlights

Next Episode

Mano searching for John and Blue

Buck believes John and Blue
are likely dead

Blue and John in the desert

1.20   Survival              John, Blue
John Cannon and Billy Blue are captured by Apaches far from home and made to face death from lack of water.

Produced by William Witney
Directed by William Witney
Written by Frances Cockrell      
Originally Broadcast: January 14, 1968        

Story Line: John and Billy force a wounded Indian, Klosen, to lead them toward water but the Apache escapes. Buck and Manolito catch a glimpse of a war party wearing John's and Billy's hats but harsh desert winds make it impossible to track the missing pair. When John and Billy do find water, renegade Chief Soldado ties them to a rock to die of thirst.

Guest Stars:

Robert Phillips 
as Klosen

James Almanzar 
as Chief Soldado

Character Highlights: At the start of this episode we see the usual relationship between John and Blue where John tells him to quit complaining and grow up after Blue expresses concern about the hazardous situation they may be getting themselves into. After a series of hardships and mishaps, they both gain respect for each otherís ability to tough out adversity and remain loyal to each other. Unlike other episodes where Blue is the victim in need of his fatherís assistance, here Blue is clearly the stronger of the two and he steps into the role of being in charge in order to save his father. At one point John believes Blue will have a better chance of survival without him and goes off to die, but Blue will have nothing of it, insisting forcefully that he will not allow it.

Mano and Buck do not have much screen time, but what they do have is very important. In the scene where they spot John's and Blueís horses, Buckís quiet gasp is truly alarming without being melodramatic. By this time in the series the partnership between Mano and Buck has become so close that much communication passes between them without many words. There is also a scene where Victoria has dressed to ride with the boys to find John and Blue but Buck and Mano tactfully explain that her presence is not welcome and would put everyone else at risk. It is hard to not feel sorry for her when she is left behind at the ranch, even though she reluctantly agrees to it. In the end she and Vaquero follow the tracking party anyway, arriving just as the survivors are rescued.                                

Complete Episode Synopsis:  John, Blue, Buck and Manolito split up in the desert to see if they can find a trail that has water enough for the cattle they will be driving to market. John and Blue, standing side by side and surveying the landscape, are bickering at one another when Blue spots a lone Apache trying to steal one of their horses. Blue pursues him, but while he is able to recover the horse and wounds the thief, an Apache loner named Klosen, the Indian manages to escape up among the rocks. Blue returns to his father with the horse, puzzled as to why John is screaming that he should go back ... and realizes, only too late, that they are surrounded by an Apache war party ... including Soldado, an Apache sub-chief who has great hatred for the Cannons.

Soldado comes upon the Cannons.

John and Blue take Klosen hostage.

John argues that Soldado should give the Cannons a chance, since they once saved the life of an Apache holy man, Nock-Ay-Del. Soldado agrees to set them free, but strips them of their horses, hats and canteens, telling the Cannons that the Apache can live off what the desert will give ... if the Cannons are fit to live on their land, they must do the same.  John and Blue realize that as Mano and Blue won't come looking for them until the next morning, their only chance is to find the Apache Blue wounded and see if he will lead them to water. They do find him, weakened by his gunshot wound, and John and Blue beg him for help. He does not speak, leading them to believe he does not understand English... and leaving them to wonder if they can trust him.
Meantime Buck and Mano, waiting for meet up with John and Blue, spy an Apache raiding party.  To their dismay they notice John and Blue's horses and their hats among them and they both fear the worst.  Still, they decide to double back and follow the trail to determine what their fate might have been.  In a fierce sandstorm they cross paths with John and Blue but they cannot hear their calls above the wind.  Discouraged, Mano and Buck head back to the ranch for help.  Arriving just at nightfall, they break the news to Victoria that John and Blue are missing and she should not get her hopes up.  They round up the bunkhouse gang to go search for them but refuse to take Victoria with them even though she has changed into her riding clothes and desperately wants to come along.

Victoria desperately wants to accompany
the search party, but is left behind.

John and Blue, reaching the limits of
their endurance.

Battling sandstorms, the relentless sun, and increasing thirst and fatigue, John, Blue, and their hostage, Klosen find a barrel cactus to temporarily allay their thirst. John and Blue remove the bullet from the wounded Apache and do their best to treat John's badly infected leg.  When they decide to follow a passing burro thinking it will lead them to water, Klosen finally speaks up and tells them which way to go for water.  Shortly after, Klosen deserts them, leaving them unsure whether he was trying to help them or not with his directions. John is nearing the end of his strength and tries to convince Blue to go on without him, but Blue refuses. Fortunately, Blue finds a little water in the nick of time, which gives John the will to go on.
Unfortunately, just as they are about to drink, they are once again surrounded by Soldado and his braves. Soldado, not content with the amount of torture the white men have gone through, has them tied and tells them they must get free if they want to drink. The war party is scattered, however, by the men from Chaparral, and Blue and John are rescued.  As it turns out Klosen had not deserted them after all, but was heading to the High Chaparral when he ran into the search party.  Then he guided them back to for the rescue. Before he rides away, Klosen breaks his silence and tells John and Blue that he helped them because they proved they were better Apaches than Soldado, even though they were "white eyes".  Within moments, Victoria rides up with Vaquero, greatly relieved to find John and Blue safe.                       (Synopsis by Brenda Meskunas)

John and Blue are finally rescued by
Buck and Mano, with help from Reno,
Sam, Ira, and Pedro.

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 Argyle Nelson Jr., A.C.E.
Set Decoration:  Bill F. Calvert
Post Production Co-ordinator:  Bill Wistrom
Casting:  Russell Trost
Sound Recording: Joe Edmondson, Joel Moss
Make-up Artists:  Beau Hickman & Beau Wilson
Hair Stylist:  Hedvig Mjorud
Titles by CINEFX
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

Return to Season One Directory

Return to Home/Contents