The High Chaparral

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Ramon Navarro as the Padre 
Explaining the "miracle" to Mano

Mano being assisted with his snake bite

Laurie Mock as Maria

1.27  A Joyful Noise                   Mano
Ramon Novarro, silent film notable is guest star as Padre Guillermo, who flees Mexico to escape the vendetta of a twisted killer.

Produced by William F. Claxton
Directed by Richard Benedict
Written by William Blinn      
Originally Broadcast:  March 24, 1968

Story Line: The padre is accompanied by two nuns and Maria. John Cannon agrees to protect the group when Maria's demented fiancé Ramon, who has plundered the padre's Mexican convent, arrives on the scene. Maria rides into the desert intent on sacrificing herself to prevent more bloodshed. Manolito finds Maria, but is trapped with the girl by Ramon.

Guest Stars: 

Ramon Novarro 
as Padre Guillermo

Laurie Mock 
as Maria

  Robert Yuro 
as Ramon


Penny Stanton 
as Sister Angelica

Angela Clarke 
as Sister Luke


Character Highlights: The second of several serious romantic involvements of Mano’s, although this relationship doesn’t appear to have as much substance or electricity as the others. The premise for Mano falling in love with Maria seems a little thin, but there is still good dialogue here and plenty for fans of Manolito to enjoy including some cute scenes in his underwear. When the Padre explains how Don Sebastian has offered them John Cannon’s land instead of his own, he says to Mano, "The Lord works in mysterious ways, doesn’t he?" To which Mano replies, "No more mysterious than my father."

Buck has some humorous attempts at diplomacy with the Padre when trying to explain why they cannot remain on Cannon land. When he tells Victoria and John how poor they are he says, "If it cost two cents to go around the world, they couldn’t get out of sight." He agrees with Victoria that the Cannons should make a contribution to help the Padre and nuns move along, "Right, the contribution should be made with no strings attached. No strings, Victoria, but just a little bit of thread!"

Mano has an interesting self descriptive speech introducing himself to Maria: "May I present Senor Manolo Montoya, a man both arrogant and foolish – though some feel he has a certain lovable charm. You know this Montoya is conceited, though not totally without cause. He is a man of some humor, a harsh judge of his fellow man, though not without compassion. He is religious in his own way. . . "

The character of Maria seems mostly hysterical and melodramatic, without the strength or substance characteristic of Mano’s usual love interests. The only reason one might imagine he was in love with her was because her religious choices made her unattainable.

Complete Episode Synopsis

     While working in the desert with Buck, Manolito is bitten by a rattlesnake and, too weak to make it back to Chaparral, takes refuge in a nearby abandoned adobe shack. Once there he loses consciousness but is surprised to find, upon awakening, that the shack is inhabited by an unlikely group -- a priest, two nuns and a young novice named Maria. Mano is listens to their story that their previous convent was destroyed by "a madman", but is even more puzzled to learn that his father has offered them this refuge on John Canon's land.

The Padre explains their situation to Mano.

Buck explains the problem of their uninvited guests.

In the meantime, Buck has returned with Vaquero to doctor Mano's snakebite, only to find that Mano is already in being cared for, as usual, by a beautiful young woman.  He also discovers that the group has taken up residence on High Chaparral land and tries unsuccessfully to explain why that is not a good long term plan.  When Buck later explains the dilemma to John and Victoria they devise a strategy to give the group a donation to cover their travel expenses to a more appropriate home.  Buck's best efforts at explaining this donation fall through when they the Padre decides to spend it on fixing the roof.
Meantime the young novice, Maria, is consumed by two emotions: guilt and fear. She bears the guilt of knowing that "the madman" is, in fact, her ex-fiancee, Ramon, who killed her father and burned down their convent out of an obsessive love for her ... and she fights the constant fear that he will return to kill and destroy some more. While Maria and Mano are out walking, she thinks she sees Ramon and points off; but Ramon is nowhere in sight, and Mano is not convinced of his presence.

Maria and Mano visit under the watchful
eye of one of the Sisters.

Mano and Maria dance at High Chaparral.

Ramon tries to kidnap Maria.

Later that evening, everyone is invited to High Chaparral for an evening of dinner and dancing.  Maria is suddenly brighter and more carefree dressed in one of Victoria's dresses.  Mano and Maria enjoy dancing and finally escape the nuns' critical gaze when they slip outside for some air. 
Mano confesses his love to Maria, but their evening is destroyed when Ramon attacks him and tries to kidnap Maria. Fortunately she is is able to yell out and Ramon must flee, but now the truth is known -- he has returned and they are all in great danger. Maria, feeling that this is all her fault, sneaks away from the ranch during the night. 
Maria is found the next day by Manolito and Buck. Mano tries to convince Maria to return to The High Chaparral in the hope that she will "learn to love him," but the next day, during their ride back, they are attacked again by Ramon. Knowing that Manolito loves Maria, and inflamed at knowing that she also cares for Mano, Ramon challenges Mano to a fight to the death. In the struggle, Ramon impales himself on his knife and dies with Maria weeping over him.

Maria and an injured Mano are trapped by Ramon.

Maria explains that she cannot marry Mano because
of her long-standing desire to be a nun.

Now that the danger is past, there only remains for the Father and the Sisters to leave for California, as Big John has finally convinced them that Apache land is no place for a convent. Although Mano asks Maria to marry him, she refuses, confiding to him that long before she met Ramon, it had been her wish to become a nun. Wanting only to make her happy, Manolito watches her go with no remorse ... only a deep thankfulness to God for having been granted what little time he had with her.
               (Synopsis by Brenda Meskunas)
Supervisory 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: Tim Kelly
Art Direction:  McClure Capps
Edited by Al Clark, 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
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

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