1.21 The Hair Hunter
A bounty on Apache scalps disrupts peace between the Cannons and the Indians.
Produced by William F. Claxton
Directed by Robert Gist
Written by Ken Pettus
Originally Broadcast: March 10, 1968
Story Line: When Apache raids close Judah Austin's mine, he offers Stoner a bounty for Indian scalps despite John Cannon's objections. Stoner's son Chad is wounded in an attack on the Apaches and turns against his father while recuperating at the High Chaparral ranch.
Character Highlights: An interesting morality play that focuses mostly on Stoner, but contrasts two father-son relationships, the one between Stoner and his son and the one between John and Blue. Because he does not view Indians as humans, Stoner considers himself a moral man even though he makes his living scalping Indians. He holds no more ill will toward them than he does to the buffalo he also hunts. When the mine owner offers him a premium price to kill John Cannon, Stoner is morally outraged and says he certainly isn’t a hired gun and he wouldn’t kill any man in cold blood. His son, however, is increasing uncomfortable with his father’s livelihood and values, and when exposed to the Cannons during his recuperation, decides to part ways with him. John’s sense of morality is, of course, much different and while Blue’s values and attitudes toward the Apache are similar to his father’s, his intolerance of Stoner leads him to a similar disregard for Stoner’s humanity which we see when Blue is ready to give him up and John is not. Chad, on the other hand, though he disagrees with his father, is more understanding of his father’s limited viewpoint and appreciates the efforts his father has made on his behalf. In the end it is Stoner himself who takes the high moral ground in giving himself up to certain death in order to save his son and the Cannons.
|Complete Episode Synopsis: On their way to Tucson, John and Victoria are shocked to come upon the bodies of several Apaches who have been scalped on Cannon land. In Tucson John soon spots the flyer posted advertising a $100 bounty on Apache scalps. He confronts the mine owner, Judah Austin, who holds a grudge against the Apache for interrupting his mining activities. Rather than find a way to live in peace with the Apache, Austin's solution is to eliminate them, a strategy still legal in the Arizona territory. John Cannon makes it clear to him that it is not legal on High Chaparral land and if he can't keep his "jackals" off Cannon land he will have him to deal with. When Austin suggests that they may need a bounty on Apache lovers, John knocks him down with one blow.||
||Facing declining profits from dwindling buffalo herds, some buffalo hunters turn to Apache scalps as a way to earn a living. While most of the filthy, scruffy men have no problem murdering Apaches in cold blood, Chad, the only son of Jake Stoner, one of the hunters, finds that he cannot pull the trigger when the rest of the group attacks a small Apache family. Chad, however, is wounded during their attack and his father takes him to the nearest settlement – the High Chaparral – where he can be cared for.|
When John Cannon discovers that Stoner's group were hunting Apaches, he orders Jake and his son off the ranch, but Victoria refuses to allow John to evict the wounded boy. Chad remains at the ranch while his pa storms off to a Tucson saloon and John and Sam are left to contemplate the trouble are likely to see from the Apaches. On his way to the saloon, Stoner stops to collect his bounty for his six scalps at the mining company, Austin proposes a way for him to get $500 for one scalp - John Cannon's. Stoner is outraged that anyone would suggest he could be hired to commit murder. "Injuns are one thing", but to kill a man for money is one thing he would never stoop to. Meanwhile, Chad, lying upstairs in bed, wins Cannon sympathy when, in a feverish delirium, he is overheard “begging” his pa not to kill the Indians, trying to tell him that they are really human.
Chad's real feelings become clear when
he speaks through his delirium.
Out on the range, Buck, Mano, Blue, and some of the bunkhouse crew are ambushed and chased by Apaches seeking retribution for Apaches recently killed on Cannon range. After a fierce battle in which two Cannon ranch hands are killed, they are pinned down and only escape under cover of darkness. When they finally make it back to the High Chaparral Buck informs John that it was Soldado who attacked them and it becomes clear that the Cannons are being blamed for Stoner's actions on Cannon land.
|After Chad recovers, he works hard to earn his keep so that he can stay on at the ranch. The Cannons take him in and do their best to make him comfortable in a world of civilization that he has not previously been exposed to. Too soon, however, Jake comes back for him, and the destined confrontation between father and son erupts with Chad refusing to go back with Jake. Stoner, hating Cannon for “turning his son against him,” temporarily leaves the ranch, but when he meets up with Austin again, he is told that John Cannon is probably only holding his son to use as a bargaining chip for Soldado. He reminds him of his $500 offer and Stoner decides to go back after John Cannon and collect it.||
||By the time Jake Stoner reaches John, Blue, and Chad, who are all working on the range, they find themselves ambushed by Apaches wanting revenge for the death of the scalped Indians. Trapped in the brush, John talks to the Indians but finds that they will not free them until Jake – the actual murderer – is turned over to them. Even though Blue objects to protecting him, John, knowing that surrendering Stoner to the Apaches would be the same as murdering him, refuses, and the men hole up.|
|Chad, realizing that none of them
has a chance of getting out alive, decides to give himself up to the Indians …
but Jake, who always considered himself an honorable man trying to do the best
he could for his son, acknowledges that all this is his own doing and
himself up instead. He is executed by an Apache arrow and the others are allowed to
go, as justice has been served. As the Apaches ride away, John, Blue, and Chad
pay their last respects to the man who found honor enough to sacrifice his life
(Synopsis by Brenda Meskunas)
Producer: Irving Elman
Production Manager: Kent McCray
Music by Harry Sukman; Theme by David Rose
Director of Photography: Harold Stine, A.S.C.
Color Consultant: Edward P. Ancona
Unit Production Manager: Andrew J. Durkus
Assistant Director: Erich von Stroheim, Jr.
Stunt Coordinator: Henry Wills
Story Editor: Ward Hawkins
Art Direction: McClure Capps
|Edited by (?), A.C.E.
Set Decoration: Bill F. Calvert
Post Production Co-ordinator: Bill Wistrom
Casting: Russell Trust
Sound Recording: Joe Edmondson & Joel Moss
Make-up Artists: Beau Hickman & Beau Wilson
Hair Stylist: Hedvig Mjorud
Titles by CINEFX
Location scenes filmed at Old Tucson, Tucson, Arizona
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.
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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