The High Chaparral

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Blue working on his own in 
"The Peacemaker"

Barbara Hershey as Moonfire with Blue

Victor Jory as Kelly in "The Peacemaker"

1.22   The Peacemaker               Blue
Billy Blue Cannon quits the ranch after a quarrel with his father and leads a peace representative of the President to Cochise.

Produced by
Directed by Richard Benedict
Written by John Starr Niendorff   
Originally Broadcast:  March 3, 1968    

Story Line: On the trail Blue falls in love with Kelly's adopted Apache daughter, Moonfire. Kelly, an idealistic dreamer, meets Cochise's demands for a strip of land separating the High Chaparral from Tucson. This would cut the Cannons' supply route and threaten them with bankruptcy. John, angered by the peace terms and bewildered by his son's decision to marry, knows he will most likely have to defend the ranch against the Apaches.

Guest Stars: 

Victor Jory 
as Kelly

Barbara Hershey 
as Moonfire

Paul Fix 
as Cochise

David Renard 
   as Prowling Dog   

Ron Foster 
as Lt. Corey

Character Highlights: Episode focuses on Blue, opening with the usual scenes where John finds fault with everything Blue does and Blue becomes increasingly angry. When John challenges both his masculinity and maturity by telling him he needs to stay alert in order to "work with the men around here" it is the last straw for Blue and he decides to quit the ranch, leaving without a plan for what he might do or where he might go. When he meets up with Kelly and Moonfire, he introduces himself as Billy Blue and is presumed to be Mr. Blue. After he learns that Kelly thinks "men like John Cannon kill Indians for sport" Blue continues to avoid telling them who he really is, even after impulsively proposing to Moonfire in order to save her from an arranged Indian marriage. Moonfire seems mildly grateful but the romance lacks electricity. "Peacemaker" appears to have been intended as a "Blue becomes a man" type of episode but he acts more juvenile and impulsive here than in several other first season episodes, such as "Survival" or "Firing Wall". When Kelly, the pacifist appeaser, rises up to shoot his Apache assailant before dying, it seems like a contrived political statement set in the wrong place and time.

Complete Episode Synopsis
In John Cannon’s eyes, his son is still a boy, who doesn’t quite measure up to the other ranch hands. That fact is brought home to Blue when his father continuously chews him out in front of the other ranch hands. Following a series of escalating incidents, Blue has a fight with his father and quits the High Chaparral, going off on his own to prove himself to be a man. After leaving High Chaparral, Blue narrowly escapes being killed by two Apaches and runs into a small Army unit on special assignment. Blue introduces himself as “Billy Blue,” not wanting to be known as John Cannon’s son, but rather as a man of his own standing.

John watches as Blue rides away, unable
to keep him from leaving.

Blue comes upon the Army unit escorting Moonfire and Mr. Kelly.

The Army unit’s lieutenant has been charged with escorting Mr. Kelly, a peace representative assigned by the President, to negotiate a treaty with Cochise. The lieutenant foists the task of escorting Mr. Kelly and his adopted Apache daughter, Moonfire, on to Blue in the guise of hiring him as a scout. While Blue is reluctant at first to take on the job, he eventually gives in to save face and the need to prove he’s a man. And also because he’s immediately attracted to Moonfire.
While traveling to Cochise’s camp, Blue learns that Mr. Kelly met his father in Tucson and that Mr. Kelly blames John Cannon for some of the difficulties in making peace with the Apache. After hearing this Blue is even more reluctant to reveal his true identity. Blue, Mr. Kelly and Moonfire are captured by the Apache a short distance from Cochise’s camp. They are saved from being killed by Moonfire, who identifies herself as an Apache. The three are taken to Cochise where Moonfire learns that her real Apache father is dead and that she has been promised to a brave named Prowling Dog.

The group is introduced to Cochise.

Blue kisses Moonfire after defeating Prowling Dog defending her as
"his" woman.

Blue realizes that Moonfire wants no part of Prowling Dog and tells everyone that Moonfire is his woman. To his surprise Blue learns he must fight Prowling Dog to win her. Blue bravely takes on the Indian in a knife fight where he is badly disadvantaged. Although badly cut, Blue finally does gain the upper hand and bests Prowling Dog. Cochise declares him the winner and tells Moonfire she must dress her man’s (Blue’s) wounds. After dressing his wounds, Moonfire tells Blue she thinks he’s very brave and that she’s proud he fought for her.
Moonfire asks Blue if he meant it when he said she was his woman. Blue admits that he meant it - that he’s fallen in love with her. Moonfire tells Blue that she belongs to him and they share an intimate kiss.
Later Mr. Kelly tries to negotiate a peace treaty with the very wily Cochise. Cochise tells Mr. Kelly that if no one from High Chaparral crosses the lines he draws on a map, Cochise will consider peace. Blue knows, however, that the lines Cochise has drawn will prevent his father from having an easy supply route to Tucson, adding many days to the journey and most likely driving John Cannon from Arizona. He explains this to the overzealous Mr. Kelly who isn’t deterred, explaining that the cost of peace is very high and that John Cannon must pay the price. Blue tells Mr. Kelly he’ll have to take that up with John Cannon, still not revealing that he’s Cannon’s son.

Cochise indicates the territory he wants
from John Cannon that cuts the High Chaparral off from supply routes to Tucson.

Moonfire tells her adoptive father that she’s in love with Blue. Realizing that Moonfire won’t go with him unless Blue accompanies them, Mr. Kelly asks Blue to take them to High Chaparral where he must explain Cochise’s peace terms to John Cannon. Blue reluctantly reveals that he’s John Cannon’s son and both Moonfire and Mr. Kelly are shocked to learn the truth. Blue then escorts the pair to High Chaparral.

Blue introduces Moonfire and Mr. Kelly
to his father and Victoria.

Blue is warmly greeted by both Victoria and his father, who are very pleased he’s returned. Big John is disappointed to learn that Blue has returned only because he’s acting as Mr. Kelly’s scout. Mr. Kelly proceeds to explain Cochise’s peace terms to Big John who’s outraged, exactly as Blue had anticipated. John takes Blue aside and in the course of asking him about Mr. Kelly’s misguided intentions, learns that Blue plans to marry Moonfire. Blue earnestly tells his father than he loves the girl, but Big John immediately tries to talk his son out of it. The old argument that Blue is not yet a man surfaces.
Big John admits Blue is a man, but that maybe he still has a little growing up to do. He asks his son how he can possibly marry a woman he hardly knows. Blue’s smug reply is “You did.” John tells Victoria of Blue’s intent to marry Moonfire and that he fears he’s lost his son. Victoria convinces him to talk to Blue just as the ranch comes under attack by a band of Apaches led by Prowling Dog who holds a grudge against Blue for shaming him in the fight to win Moonfire.

Blue tries to explain his feelings for Moonfire to his father.

Kelly steps forward to try to stop the
shooting just before he himself is shot.

Mr. Kelly tries to stop the fighting, walking unarmed into the melee shouting for everyone to stop shooting. Prowling Dog shoots him down and as Moonfire runs to help him she is shot in the back with an arrow. Moonfire dies in Blue’s arms.
After burying Moonfire, John has a heart to heart talk with Blue and asks his forgiveness, telling him they need men at Chaparral - his way of asking him to stay on and give it another chance. 

At Moonfire's graveside John apologizes
to Blue and asks him to stay on.

(Synopsis by Pat Banazsak)


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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