The High Chaparral

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Dub Taylor as Fargo Smith

Charly and Buck in "Lady Fair"

Joanna Moore as Charly Converse

3.65 Lady Fair                 Buck
Joanna Moore stars as the pretty head of a struggling freight company to whom smitten Buck Cannon not only offers his help but a proposal of marriage.
Written by Don Richardson         Directed by Gerry Day

Story Line:  Buck is swept off his feet by the down-to-earth Charly Converse, who hits town with her crew of wagons and drivers bent on building a freight-hauling business. Buck stuns everybody with his decision to take a wife. Pardee, Charly's unscrupulous competitor, makes a last ditch stand to run her out of town, and the business as well as Buck's romance undergoes a true test.

Guest Stars: 

Joanna Moore 
as Charly Converse

Dub Taylor 
as Fargo Smith

Joseph Ruskin 
as Ainsworth Pardee

Character Highlights:  This is mostly a light-hearted episode where Buck comes closest to a permanent romantic partner, but like all HC romances, it is destined to end with the hour.  Still, for most of the episode Buck is clearly about the happiest we ever see him.  He is taken with Charly's fire and good nature, and not intimidated at all by her independence.  Her rough edges don't seem to bother him anymore than his own.  Includes a good dinner table exchange when everyone wants to meet Charly and Mano claims that Charly is probably just one of Buck's "prevarications".  Thinking he is implying something risqué, Buck takes offense and says adamantly that there is nothing between him and Charly.  He takes her to his ranch, the C-Bar-M, and she is very impressed.  She seems as genuinely in love with him as he is with her.  While she eventually decides that she could not make a decent wife for Buck because of her independence and Buck is clearly broken-hearted, at least she doesn't have to die or join a convent like the women Mano proposes to. 

Complete Episode Synopsis:  The story opens with Buck running into an old pal of his named Fargo Smith. Fargo is an old man, and he’s now driving a freight wagon for Charly Converse, a beautiful little lady full of vim and vigor. The two men head into the saloon, where Buck orders up a bottle of whiskey. Before they can consume any of it, Charly comes in and shoots the bottle. She then puts Fargo back to work, and Buck is so enraptured by her fiery spirit that he goes along with them. Before the freight wagon can be unloaded, however, two toadies of competitor Ainsworth Pardee race their horses past, causing the freight wagon horses to bolt, knocking Charly out of the wagon with her arms full of a case of crockery. Although Buck races to catch her and break her fall, the crockery is smashed. Buck then learns that Pardee wants Charly out of the business-permanently.

Buck runs into old pal, Fargo Smith.

Charly is lacking a few social graces.

Back at the High Chaparral that night, all Buck can do is talk about Charly. He regales everyone at the dinner table about her work, her stories, her lifestyle, and in general, gets Blue to thinking that Buck is courting Charly. The result is that Charly gets invited out to the ranch. On the appointed day, she and Buck are in a race to see who can enter the gate first, and Charly wins. She promptly says she could use a shot of whiskey, which shocks Victoria, but gets Big John and Mano to grinning. Throughout the course of the evening, they become just as enraptured with Charly as Buck already is.
The next day, everyone is out at the corral watching the hands try to break a bronc. When Blue is thrown, Sam and Joe get into an arguing match to see who has to ride the horse next-Joe definitely does NOT want to do it-but before anyone can decide, Charly mounts up and proceeds to ride the bronc all over the corral. Buck promptly tells Blue that he could take lessons from her, and this gets Blue into a dour mood. It’s obvious that Buck is very proud of Charly. When Charly next gets busy filing a hoof, Buck makes a comment about how wonderful she is at everything she does. 

Charly in Victoria's finery.

Buck makes plans to take her out to the place that he and Mano own in the hills the next day. That night, although Victoria dresses Charly like a lady, complete with tight corset and lace and everything, she still hasn’t the table graces to be a real lady. She speaks her mind, and her rough talk somewhat shocks Victoria, but it doesn’t seem to bother anyone. They all like her just as she is. Out at Buck’s place the next day, he proposes marriage to her, and she accepts.

Buck seals it with a kiss.

Ainsworth Pardee trying to drive Charly out of business.

Before she can marry, however, she has to deliver her freight. Pardee is still giving her trouble, and her crews have quit, all except Fargo. He goes to Nogales, but he has no luck hiring hands for her. Nobody wants to work for her with Pardee’s men giving her such a bad time, so Buck talks Big John into letting Joe and Sam drive two of her freight wagons to make her final deliveries. Although John agrees, Sam and Joe are not too thrilled with the idea. When she tells Joe to check the traces on the third wagon, he replies that he already has and that they are all right. She orders him to do it again, anyway, and he grudgingly saunters off to do it. She then orders Sam to check the lines on the second wagon, and he goes, but you can tell that both men really don’t like taking orders from her, although they appear to like her just fine otherwise. At the third wagon, Joe is complaining to Fargo about how Charly reminds him of an old Army sergeant he once had. He says that Buck "ain’t going to be boss of his own spread with the likes of her standing around spouting orders." Charly overhears this, and it gets her to thinking.
Meanwhile, Pardee is up to no good. With Charly on the lead wagon, Sam in the second, and Joe in the third, they follow behind Buck and Fargo, who are heading them through a pass which would make a perfect ambush site, should Pardee want to ruin Charly’s business. This is exactly what Pardee has in mind, and he dynamites the pass, effectively stopping Charly from completing her assignment. Pardee then goes to Charly and demands that she sell out to him right then and there. Unknown to Pardee, Mano is hidden in Charly’s wagon, and Blue is waiting in the rocks at the pass, which is what Buck envisioned when he asked to borrow Joe and Sam for the last trip. 

Sam and Joe assist with the freight line.

Charly takes a swing at Pardee.

Mano immediately pulls a gun, ordering all of Pardee’s men to drop theirs or Pardee will be shot. Blue brings the last toady down from the rocks, and Buck then demands that Pardee apologize to Charly, which he does in a surly manner. Buck isn’t pleased with the apology, so he orders Pardee to do it again. Pardee then says he would apologize proper if he saw a lady to apologize to, and before Buck can knock him out for that insult, Charly socks him one. This gets Pardee’s men to snickering that Charly would probably be faster with a gun than Buck, too.

As Pardee’s men are clearing the pass of the boulders under the supervision of Blue, Mano, Joe, Sam, and Fargo, Charly gets Buck to one side and confesses that she can’t marry him because she can never be anything other than what she is. He is willing to accept her that way, saying that he doesn’t want to go through life like Fargo, always wondering of what might have been, but never was. Charly is not willing for him to be humiliated and laughed at, which she sees happening already. It just about breaks Buck’s heart, but he accepts her decision, mounts his horse, and rides away. Blue and Mano watch him ride away, and although Blue doesn’t really understand, Mano does. Charly watches Buck ride away with tears in her eyes.                                   (Synopsis by Sandy Sturdivant)

Charly explains explains to Buck why she can't marry him.


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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