The High Chaparral

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Second Season
Plot and Character Highlights

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Blue and Mano prepare to follow Sam

Sam and Trini in "Follow Your Heart"

Sam, John, and Buck in "Follow Your Heart"

2.39  Follow Your Heart                Sam, John
Ranch foreman Sam Butler returns to his native border town to avenge the death of his daughter.
Produced and Directed by William F. Claxton           Written by Gene McCarr

Story Line: Sam, raised by his adopted father Ben Lynch, learns his daughter has been killed by Lynch's would be gunfighter son, Tom. Reunited with his Mexican wife Trinidad, Sam refuses all advice and vows to kill the boy. John Cannon leads the ranch hands to the border city in an attempt to stop the shoot-out.

Guest Stars: Ed Begley as Ben Lynch, Miriam Colon as Trinidad, Abraham Sofaer as Trindad's father Comacho, Jeff Pomerantz as Tom Lynch, Roy Jenson as Frank Lynch, Graydon Gould as Ed Lynch, Polly Burson as Bess, Annette Cardona as Jill.

Character Highlights: Definitely a Sam vehicle and he dominates both the story line and the scenes. What happens in avenging his daughter’s death is almost secondary to the level of support and changing dynamic at the Cannon ranch as everyone struggles awkwardly for a way to help Sam.

Officially everyone agrees to let Sam settle things on his own, but first Joe and Pedro slip off to go help him, later Blue and Mano follow them. Mano justifies their decision to go without informing John with a remark to Blue that, "Fathers are always angry with their sons." By the time the show-down is about to take place, John and Buck have also arrived to help Sam. Includes good dancing scene with all the bunk house boys in the opening. There is an exchange between Victoria and John during which she accurately describes both the tough and the soft sides of his personality. John expresses to Sam how much he has meant to him and that he has been "like a brother". Includes bath tub scene with Victoria.

Complete Episode Synopsis:  Trouble comes by way of a letter that John Cannon delivers to Sam Butler while he and the boys are enjoying themselves at the saloon. It is apparent, immediately, that something in it has upset Sam, but even his brother, Joe, can't find out what, as Sam leaves the saloon and rides out of town. A perusal of the envelope gives Joe a clue, but he confides in no one. Whatever the news is, though, it seems to have broken Sam's heart, for he rides headlong through the desert, seemingly unaware of his surroundings and when he finally pulls up, he is overcome with tears. Back at the High Chaparral, the whole ranch awaits Sam's return, and all are worried. When Sam finally returns, his friends all converge trying to discover the trouble. But Sam won't even tell Joe what is wrong, though Joe has surmised it has something to do with the envelope from "San Felipe" and someone he refers to as "the old man." Sam insists that he doesn't want Joe to get mixed up in the trouble, despite the fact that Joe is his brother. It is Manolito who finally gets part of the truth out of him; Sam has to kill a man, someone who was once a friend.

In the morning, as Sam prepares to leave, Joe fills in the others about San Felipe. It is a small town "ten miles the other side of the territorial line" where he and Sam grew up. They had been orphaned as children and raised by a man named Ben Lynch there. It might be Lynch that Sam has gone to kill, but Joe is sure that is where his brother is going. Inside the house, John finally gets Sam to tell him what's going on. John feels as close to Sam as he would to a brother, because of all the battles they have fought together, and he also contends that Sam is no gunfighter. He knows Sam's course will lead him to danger, and he wants to help. Sam refuses his offer, but does tell him the story. Years ago, it seems, he married a Mexican girl and fathered a child. The union brought trouble between their families, and although Sam won't elaborate, his current trouble has to do with his wife and the child. He does accept a horse from John, and leaves without saying goodbye to anyone else. His brother tells Manolito that Sam's chances for success, and therefore survival, are about one in a million.

When Sam arrives in San Felipe, the first place he goes it to church. An old Mexican man awaits inside, praying for his dead granddaughter - it is Sam's father-in-law, and Sam's daughter, it appears, is dead. The old man's bitterness and hatred is directed right at his gringo son-in-law, whom he blames for ever marrying his daughter. It is Comancho who has brought Sam to San Felipe, believing he will be killed avenging his daughter's death. Sam leaves Comancho to his bitterness and goes looking for his wife, who he finds in the graveyard. She tells him to leave, that they are bound to kill him, but confesses it would mean nothing to her if they did. The only thing she cared about is dead, now, their daughter, Pilar. When Sam presses her to explain why she ran away from him, all those years before, she says she did it out of love for him, because she could see how the bitterness in their families was tearing him apart. She feels guilty only for returning to that land of hatred with their daughter, and blames herself for her death at the hands of the boy who tried to rape her. As they talk, a man rides up, who speaks to Sam as a brother, and tells Sam to leave because he doesn't want to have to kill him. This man, Ed, is Ben Lynch's son. Sam is adamant, though. He is committed to following through with his designs, and recommends that Ed stay out of his way. He tells him he will be in town in the morning, and that if someone named Tom is not there, he'll ride out to the ranch looking for him. Tom, apparently, being the object of Sam's search. Ed rides back to his ranch to speak to his father, and it is here that we learn Tom is Ben Lynch's youngest son, and it is he who as killed Sam's daughter. And if necessary, Ben is ready to kill Sam, a man he raised, in order to protect the boy he fathered.

That evening Sam returns to the deserted house he shared with Trinidad when they were first married. Memories of that time, and of his lost child, bring him to tears, again. Later, Trinidad comes looking for him; she wants to apologize for all the pain she has caused by running away from him. Sam still loves her, and forgives her. They spend the night together, and in the morning they talk about the mistakes they've made and about starting over. Still, there is Pilar's death to contend with, and Tom Lynch. Trinidad accompanies Sam into town, where they are confronted by Ben Lynch. Ben tries to set right all the wrong done, even to admitting he was wrong about Sam and Trini, and pleads for his son, and for Sam, whom he doesn't wish to kill. Sam will not be turned aside, however. He tells Ben he's going to get his breakfast, and that Tom can either come in after him, or wait outside until he's done. In the cantina, Sam finds his brother, who has brought the entire Chaparral crew to San Felipe to stand by him, including Big John Cannon, himself. And Sam looks both moved, and relieved, to see them. While they share a cup of coffee, Tom Lynch postures out in the street, but when Sam and the others come out, it is John who commands the moment. He asks to speak to Lynch, telling Ben that Sam is like a member of his own family. Lynch insists he wants no killing, leaving events up to Sam. Realizing, finally, that his friends are now in jeopardy, and that he might have a future worth saving, Sam relents and suggests they all go home. Unfortunately, Tom Lynch will not be denied. Charging Sam, and firing wildly, he shoot Trinidad by mistake, after which Sam calmly takes aim and kills him. Then, taking his dead wife in his arms, he weeps over her body, and a future that will never be.

Back at the High Chaparral, Victoria is waiting, consumed with worry. She spots riders on the horizon, and is overjoyed to find John home. But even as she rushes into his arms, she asks about Sam, and John nods toward the desert. And there is Sam Butler, riding toward them, coming home.  (Synopsis by Sheryl Clay)

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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