The High Chaparral

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Third Season
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Mano and Buck with Victoria's collateral

Mano and Buck with finalizing their purchase

Lou Frizzell as Jeff Patterson

3.60  A Piece of Land         Mano, Buck
After accidentally uncovering a silver deposit, an excited Buck Cannon wastes no time in talking Manolito into joining him in a major real estate investment.
Written by Jack B. Sowards         Directed by Leon Benson

Story Line:  Unable to raise the down payment to Jeff Patterson, who has agreed to sell his ranch, Buck invites Manolito to be his financial backer for half-interest. After Victoria has turned over a priceless necklace to her brother for collateral on a loan, the new land owners learn hat their silver cache is worthless.

Guest Stars: 

Lou Frizzell 
as Jeff Patterson

John Zaremba 
as Price, the banker

Miguel Landa 
as Miguel

Character Highlights:  Many complex character interactions occur during this episode where Buck and Mano become business partners in the purchase of their ranch.  In multiple different interactions they both must face the fact that they are defined largely by their relationships to John Cannon and Don Sebastian.  Veteran character actor Lou Frizzell does an excellent job as Patterson who innocently asks Buck about his position at High Chaparral eventually concluding, "You're just John Cannon's brother."  When Mano asks for a bank loan he is offended that his word alone is not good enough without his father's signature.  As the banker says to Mano, "I know you're a man of integrity but this is different.  This is business."   When his friend Miguel also refuses him, saying to Mano, "You understand my position?", Mano responds, "More importantly, Miguel, I'm beginning to understand my position."  It is only in Victoria that he finally finds someone who will not only trust him but "trust him with 1,000 of their dollars" when she turns over a family heirloom. 

This episode also greatly increases the bond between Mano and Buck who, even after discovering they have been snookered on the silver mine, are still proud to own something that is just theirs. The negotiating scene with John in the end is excellent and for Buck is really the conclusion to issues left hanging between them in "The Brothers Cannon".  When John offers a contract, Buck declines, "A contract's just a piece of paper between two men who don't trust each other."  
Post note:  This is an episode where Buck calls Rebel "Prince" by mistake when he tries to keep him from running off near the silver deposit.

Complete Episode Synopsis:  John, facing the prospect of a hotter summer than usual, is concerned that he won’t have enough water for his herd ... and the only available water is on Jeff Patterson’s ranch. Patterson, however, still holds a grudge against Cannon over a land dispute. Although a court of law decided in John’s favor, Jeff still thinks Cannon was wrong and won’t deal with him on any level.

Buck, however, has been on relatively good terms with Patterson. One day, after his horse throws him, Buck accidentally finds silver on Jeff’s land. Knowing that Jeff is interested in selling his ranch for $10,000 (a prospect first introduced in “The Brothers Cannon”), Buck, attracted to the prospect of fast wealth, joins up with Manolito to try to acquire the necessary $1,000 down payment. Mano, not particularly interested in buying the land, (“I already have a big ranch, what do I need a little one for?”) smugly agrees to lend Buck the money. Unfortunately, Mano gets more than he bargained for when he realizes that he cannot use the Montoya name and reputation to borrow the needed funds from the bank. This forces Mano to realize that he has no credit worthiness on his own. He tells Buck that he now wants to be a full partner in the endeavor. When Mano’s attempts to borrow the money from a boyhood friend fail, and after Mano and Buck gamble their meager resources on a poker game and lose, there is nothing left to do but to try to borrow the money from Victoria.

Again, Mano gets far more than he bargained for. While Victoria doesn’t have $1,000, she does have a precious necklace that was given to her by her mother on her eighteenth birthday. She offers this heirloom to Mano as security for a bank loan. Mano, daunted by the possibility that he could lose the necklace if he doesn’t repay the loan, refuses to take it, but Victoria insists, telling her brother that “trust goes both ways.” Mano, realizing that Victoria trusts him even more than he trusts himself, accepts her generosity.

Patterson, at first reluctant to sell the land, finally agrees on the condition that Buck will never sell it to John Cannon. Unfortunately, after Buck and Mano sign the papers, Jeff casually mentions the silver mine and the boys realize that they’ve been suckered in. Patterson explains that he has known about the silver all along, but it’s low-grade silver and it cost more than it’s worth to dig it up and haul it to where the mills are. He reminds Buck and Mano that they’ll easily be able to pay him the additional $9,000 once they make a cattle drive, but that the men won’t get rich quick -- they’ll have to work for it. After Patterson leaves, Buck and Mano find out why Jeff was in such a hurry to sell ... he has recently been invaded by comancheros who have made off with his stock.

John, when he finds out what has happened, is furious that the men didn’t come to him for the loan, and even more angry that they used money acquired from his wife’s necklace. John, needing the land for water, offers to buy the land from his relatives for $12,000 so they can pay off everyone. Buck and Mano, however, are unwilling to break their word to Jeff to not sell the land to John. With Blue’s help, they hunt down the comancheros, recover the stock and sell enough horses in Tucson to pay off the $1,000 bank loan. Mano reclaims Victoria’s necklace while Buck informs John that he and Mano have decided not to sell, but that they’ll allow summer grazing for John’s herd if he’ll allow winter grazing for theirs. For the first time in his life, John has no choice but to accept his brother’s terms. Mano and Buck, now land owners, realize that they have acquired something more valuable than silver ... respect from their family, the rest of the townspeople, and themselves.  (Synopsis by Brenda Meskunas)

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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