The High Chaparral

Previous Episode

Second Season
Plot and Character Highlights

Next Episode

Mano, Sam, and Pedro, teasing Blue.

Kilroy, Joe, and Buck in the saloon.

Buck, taking aim at Telford Burris.

2.52  A Fella Named Kilroy            Buck, Blue
Buck hires saddle tramp Orville Kilroy, who hides his criminal past and quickly becomes the most popular hand on the Cannon Ranch.
Written by Alex Sharp           Directed by William F. Claxton

Story Line: Blue admires Kilroy's ability with a gun, the bunkhouse gang respects him as a top hand, and John Cannon is fascinated with his chess game. Telford Burris and his two sons trail Kilroy to Tucson and accuse him of running out with the money from a robbery. When the Burrises corner Kilroy, Buck must help the new hand to keep Blue's idol from crumbling, or turn the thieves over to the law.

Guest Stars:

Ron Hayes
as Orville Kilroy

Bert Freed
as Telford Burris

Chuck Bail
as Ben Burris


Bill Shannon
as Dan Burris

Sandy Rosenthal
as Higgins


Character Highlights: Good episode for Buck fans. He is sharp, in control throughout, takes a chance on Orville, but with full knowledge about the potential for a poor outcome. The showdown scene with the Burrises is a classic with Buck protecting Blue, getting just the right amount of back-up help from Mano and staying always in control of the situation. John and Victoria play relatively minor roles in this episode. Good contribution from Ron Hayes as Orville.  Lots of good interaction with the bunkhouse boys, but the best scenes with the snake inside the bunkhouse have been edited out in recent airings.

Complete Episode Synopsis
Our story opens with Sam Butler trying unsuccessfully to stay on the back of an wild bronc. Even Blue’s four dollar bet that he’ll manage cannot keep him in the saddle, and Sam offers to cover Blue’s wager if Blue will agree to take the ornery animal off his hands. Into this scene wanders a horse-less drifter, to whom Blue sells the unbroken horse. Against all odds, the drifter, who introduces himself as Orville Kilroy, rides the animal to a standstill, to Sam's embarrassment, and the amusement of the other men.

Blue is eager to do some horse trading with the new saddle tramp who walks in horse-less.

Buck is skeptical about Orville Kilroy.

Uncle Buck, however, is not amused. He knows Kilroy from another time, knows him as a horse thief and a general all-around problem. He would prefer it if Kilroy broke his neck. Orville convinces Buck that he’s learned his lesson, though, and that he’s just looking for a chance to start over. Buck knows him for a top hand too, and agrees to take a chance on him, against his better judgment. He takes him in to introduce him to John, who is giving Joe Butler his "usual whoopin’" at chess. When John finds out that Kilroy is an expert chess player, he hires him on the spot.

Telford Burris in pursuit.

Kilroy has a secret, however: in reality, he’s on the run from his former partners in a bank heist, Telford Burris and sons, Ben and Dan, from whom he absconded with all the money.  Bent on revenge, his partners have been trailing him for a long time.

Ben and Dan Burris.

Unaware, Kilroy makes himself at home on the ranch, in spite of some bunkhouse antics including a snake in the bed, which doesn’t appear to phase him in the least. John is consumed by the man’s chess game. Kilroy also befriends Blue, giving the boy pointers on pistol shooting, and Blue defends his new champion energetically to his skeptical friends. The hero worship troubles Buck who knows Kilroy’s past, and it also troubles John, who is concerned about Blue’s getting too attached to a saddle tramp - though Victoria suggests that John might also be a little jealous, since he can’t seem to beat the man at chess.

Joe watches as Kilroy stumps John in chess.

Kilroy entertains his new friends.

Buck invites all the boys, including his nephew and Kilroy, to join him for a night in town - just to break up the tension. What they break up, instead, is the saloon - Kilroy can’t hold his liquor and gets embroiled in a fight over a girl. By the time the boys get back to the ranch, they are so drunk that Sam has passed out along the back of his horse, Manolito has had to hock his saddle to pay for the damages to the saloon, and Buck and Kilroy are riding double because Kilroy’s own mount had run away. John is not at all pleased, and promises to work them extra hard in the hot sun to make up for the trouble.
The past is about to catch up with Blue's new hero, though. Orville's former partners have made it into Tucson, and are waiting for him, though their vengeance seems tempered by a genuine admiration of his style. Still, revenge must be gotten, and they corner him, the next day, when he comes into town with Buck, Blue and Manolito to pick up supplies and make amends for the previous night's damages.

Blue arrives in Tucson looking a little worse
for wear from the previous night's activities.

Buck tries to get Kilroy out of town
before trouble meets up with him.

Now Buck is faced with a dilemma. He happens upon Kilroy’s pursuers first in the saloon, and would be just as happy to leave him to them, but there is Blue to consider, and he wants to protect his nephew from disillusionment. He tells Kilroy to leave town ahead of the trouble, but it’s too late, the Burrises have already spotted him.

Buck sees trouble coming and is not pleased
that Blue is ending up in the middle of it.

When Blue decides to stick up for Kilroy against the Burrises, Buck knocks Blue out to keep him out of trouble, and tells Kilroy that this is his fight alone. Buck turns his back on the showdown until the outcome for Kilroy looks grim, then calmly takes careful aim at Telford Burris

Using a little persuasion with his fist, Buck parks Blue for safe-keeping.

From the balcony, Mano makes sure
the odds are in Buck's favor.

With Manolito’s back-up from the balcony across the street, Buck disarms both the Burrises and Kilroy. It is Blue, though, who keeps Kilroy from turning on Buck, when he comes around just in time to keep the other man from reaching his gun. Buck turns the lot over to the sheriff to sort out.

Blue prevents Kilroy from using
his gun against Buck.

The picture on the left is a set photo from this episode showing Ron Hayes and Cameron Mitchell taking direction from director, Bill Claxton, with Bert Freed, Chuck Bail, and Bill Shannon on horseback behind them.  We are guessing production manager, Kent McCray is in the right foreground.  The picture on the right is from the scene as filmed.
This set photo is also available in much larger size and higher resolution on the Set Photos Page.
Back at the ranch, all agree that Kilroy had taken everyone in.  It’s a hard lesson for Blue, but an important one about knowing a man before you trust him too much.  In Blue’s words, it was as if he was two different men. John agrees that he was, and they did not need either one of them - except that the man had left him in check, and John wants to finish his chess game! Well, Kilroy will be out of prison some day or, as John muses, there's always visiting days . . .

 (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

Return to Season Two Directory

Return to Home/Contents