|While Buck and Sam are rounding up strays, a stranger comes stumbling
through the desert, wounded and possibly dying. Finding him on their way
back to camp, Buck sends Sam for a wagon, but not before they search the
man for some form of identification and find, not his name, but a money
belt with several thousand dollars in greenbacks. Back at the ranch,
though, Vaquero recognizes the man. His name is Innocente, a man from
Vaquero's own home village of Casa Cuerva, back on Rancho Montoya.
Sam and Buck discover thousands of
dollars on the wounded peon.
Vaquero hears Innocente's dying
|Innocente tells Vaquero
that the money is for the village, to buy the land for their town from Don
Sebastian, as the old Lion has promised them they may. Then he dies,
leaving the money with Vaquero to deliver to the people of the town.
Vaquero tells Buck about the task Innocente has left him, but Buck has
other concerns. The bullet they removed from Innocente's body was from a
hand gun - and both men know the Apache never used pistols, only rifles.
Buck and Vaquero both realize now that the person who shot Innocente
could not have been an Apache.
|Later that evening, Blue
rides in with word from Big John, who is at Rancho Montoya trying to
negotiate with Don Sebastian. Big John wants Blue to bring a crew to
Rancho Montoya, but he wants Buck to stay behind to look after the
ranch. Buck suggests that Vaquero ride down with them, as it will be a
lot safer for him, carrying all that money.
Down at Rancho Montoya,
things are not going as well as they could. John is trying to convince
Don Sebastian to sell to him at cost, because John has committed himself
to a "no-profit" deal with the army to supply beef for the Apache
reservation, and he needs the cattle to fill out his own herd. Don
Sebastian is playing his usual games, and Victoria, caught between her
father and her husband, is furious.
Victoria is furious with her
Vaquero gives Father Rufino and the
villagers the money from Innocente.
|Manolito, however, has
figured out why his father is giving John such a hard time; the old Lion
is waiting for word from his cattle agent. He expects a market in hides
and tallow to force the price up, and does not want to commit himself to
Cannon until he knows for sure. Though Manolito tries to tell his father
that the market does not exist, he is basing his belief on what he heard
in the cantina, a source
Don Sebastian will not accept, and the two part uneasily.
In the mean time, Vaquero has reached his
village with the money for the land Don Sebastian has promised. The
villagers are ecstatic, until they learn that Innocente has died trying
to bring the money to them, and they file into church to pray for his
Buck is suspicious of Munn's
|Back at the High
Chaparral, Buck has his own problems, He's been confronted by a
stage agent named Frank Munn, who claims that the money Innocente
was carrying was actually stolen from a stage passenger, and he has
been sent to recover it.
Munn presses Buck for
Buck does not like Munn, considering him
little more than a bounty hunter, but he has trouble denying the
validity of Munn's claim, especially when Munn explains that he was
the one who shot Innocente. Buck has little choice but to bring Munn
to Rancho Montoya.
Montoya, Don Sebastian has confirmed that Manolito's rumor was correct
and has agreed to sell to John at the price John is asking. Cannon is
pleased, and Don Sebastian is also, since he believes he is actually now
charging John more than he could get for the cattle anywhere else. Don
Sebastian is shocked to find out that John Cannon knows all about it -
that Manolito told him after all. What will happen to his
daughter, he worries, married to an honest man?
John sticks to his original price
though he knows he could now get more.
Don Sebastian, thinking he has
John in the cattle deal.
| While Manolito has the last
laugh on his father, Blue comes to tell Big John that the Chaparral
hands are all passed out drunk. As he leaves the house to go deal with
the situation, Vaquero comes in with the village priest to talk to Don
Mano, letting his father know he has
done no such thing.
Taken by surprise - he never expected them to
be able to raise the money - the old Lion reneges on the agreement.
Vaquero and the priest are deeply disappointed, but this is Don
Sebastian, after all, and they acquiesce. For Victoria, however, her
father's cruelty is the last straw and she vows to leave the rancho and
|As John tries to pull his
sobering, and now chagrined, crew together, Buck rides into Vaquero's
village with Munn. He tells Vaquero what Munn claims, but Vaquero
refuses to believe him and refuses to turn over the money - seeing it as
his people's only hope. John refuses to force him, saying that
they will leave it to a court-of-law to decide. John then goes off to
get his cattle, with Buck electing to stay behind to be sure there isn't
any trouble over the money. Trouble comes, though, and soon, in the form
of the Morales gang with whom Innocente was supposed to be riding. They,
too, have come for the money. A ferocious gun battle ensues, in which
Buck, Blue and Vaquero are hopelessly outnumbered.
Vaquero refuses to turn over the
Buck encourages Miguel to spill the
|Miguel Morales sets fire to
the village, and as Blue escapes through the roof of the cantina to try to
get behind their captors, Vaquero comes to the decision that the money is
not worth their lives, and throws it out the window. John arrives, driving
the cattle through the middle of the gun battle, as Innocente's money
blows away. A water brigade is formed to stop the fires, and the extra
help from the Cannon men soon overcomes the Morales gang. There is still the question of what
to do with what is left of the money. Buck manages to choke the truth
out of Miguel Morales - that the theft was an inside job.
The money really did belong to Innocente, and
Munn, himself, had set that stage up. The villagers take Munn off to
their own variety of justice, and the padre gathers up what money he can
- half of the original sum totaling $2500.
|Back at the rancho, Don
Sebastian is heartbroken that Victoria is serious about leaving him
forever. His conniving ways have finally cost him more than he can bear
to lose. Manolito, however, offers to come to his father's rescue; if
the old Lion will agree to sell the land for, say, half of what was
originally offered, Manolito is sure that Victoria will forgive her
Victoria vows never to
return to Rancho Montoya.
When Don Sebastian finally
Victoria is eager to forgive him.
|Don Sebastian, seeing an out, and believing that the
villagers could never raise that much money, agrees, giving them 24 hours
to do so. But again, Manolito has the last
laugh, Vaquero and the padre come in with the $2500, Victoria is
delighted to forgive her father, and Don Sebastian, knowing he has
been fairly beaten, acquiesces with good grace.
(Synopsis by Sheryl Clay)