The High Chaparral

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Third Season
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Trece and Blue in "The Legacy"

John Dehner as Gar Burnett

Victoria and Trece in "The Legacy"

3.67  The Legacy                   Victoria, Blue
Blue falls in love with an attractive houseguest but the romance is marred when the girl and her father reveal the true purpose of their visit.
Written by Milton S. Gelman         Directed by Don Richardson

Story Line:  Promoter Gar Burnett and daughter Trece charm their way into being invited to the Chaparral Ranch as part of a scheme to blackmail John Cannon. Enamored of the girl, Blue refuses to believe that Trece was aware of her father's plot.

Guest Stars: 

John Dehner 
as Gar Burnett

Pamela Dunlap 
as Trece Burnett

Byron Morrow 
as Sheriff Duffy

Character Highlights:  This is Blue's second serious romance but the feelings are not truly reciprocal since Trece's goal is to use him to gain access to information about the Cannons to further her father's swindle of John Cannon.  Victoria suspects something from the beginning, that Trece is not what she appears.  After Victoria knows they are being blackmailed she tries to explain to Blue that Trece has just been using him.  Blue reacts angrily, not wanting to believe her and we see shades of the past when he tells her not to lecture him because she is not his mother.  While Trece has become somewhat infatuated with Blue, in the end she does the honorable thing (at Victoria's urging) and lets Blue go. The episode is one that shows clearly the difference between John and Buck in their approach to the law.  Buck wants to do the right thing by not submitting to the blackmail, even if it means breaking the law.  John is unwilling to break the law even if it means he must cooperate with a blackmailer and risk losing the ranch.   

Complete Episode Synopsis:  After the largest roundup in Chaparral history, the herd languishes in a canyon until the buyer can arrive in two days to take possession. During the interim, John rides into Tucson to make sure everything is ready at the bank for the transfer of the herd. Blue goes along, and while his father is busy at the bank, he strolls around town, running into pretty PaTrece Burnett on the boardwalk. The two strike up a conversation, and Blue invites Trece, as she likes to be called, to join them at the hotel restaurant for lunch, which she gladly accepts. Unknown to Blue, Trece and her father Gar Burnett are con artists. It was a staged arrangement for Trece to meet and infatuate young Blue. With her pretty looks and eastern talk, the trick works.

Gar Burnett plans to run a scam on John Cannon. He uses his daughter as the bait for Blue. The idea is to discover John Cannon's weakness where the ranch is concerned, and this is easily accomplished over dinner at the hotel, when he learns that everything Big John has is tied up in the herd. It is Gar's plan to swindle John out of enough money to leave a sizable legacy to his daughter when he dies, which he has been told will be in less than a year. He is suffering from a cough he acquired when he worked the mines, but it sounds mysteriously like he could also be suffering from tuberculosis. During dinner in the hotel with John and Blue, Gar manages to get Trece invited out to the ranch for a couple of days, while he initiates whatever he needs to do to start the scam. At the ranch, Blue falls madly in love with Trece, and she appears to reciprocate, but Victoria senses something is amiss in Trece's feelings for Blue. She voices this worry to John, who sloughs it off as Victoria feeling like a mother to Blue. John calls it puppy love.

A day earlier than planned, Gar shows up at the ranch. He takes of the Cannon's hospitality, and then departs with the cryptic statement that John Cannon will soon come to hate him. The next day a writ of attachment to impound the herd is served by Marshal Duffy on Buck, who is guarding the herd in the canyon. Gar has made a false claim that John Cannon owes him $100,000, but he is willing to drop the suit if John will pay him $25,000, which he intends to give to his daughter, as all he has if $50 to his name. Since the buyer is due in two days, and since the circuit judge won't arrive for another two weeks, John has no choice but to pay the blackmail if he wants to sell the herd. Buck is livid. He tells John that backing off is wrong. Buck wants to get a group of men together and wrestle the herd away from the marshals. John tells Buck that breaking the law is worse. Buck heads into town, where he confronts Gar in the saloon in front of witnesses.

When Blue returns to the ranch from Tucson, he learns the truth about Trece and her father. He doesn't believe it, so he rides back to Tucson to confront Trece. What he learns from Trece shocks him, but he still loves her and believes that everything can be worked out. Trece, however, tells him that she is leaving.

When Gar turns up dead, Buck is arrested for suspicion of murder. While he languishes in jail, Trece and Victoria have a meeting at the ranch. Trece was with her father when he got into a coughing fit and fell over a cliff, and she tells this to Victoria. She also has the $25,000, which she calls her "legacy." She wants Blue to go with her, but Victoria pleads for Blue's happiness. Victoria pointedly asks Trece if she loves Blue, and Trece doesn't know. Victoria then tells Trece that if she truly did love Blue, she would know it. This talk gets Trece to thinking. She rides into town and tells the marshal how her father died, obtaining Buck's release. She also returns the money to John Cannon.

When Blue finally returns home, he finds Trece waiting for him. He immediately goes to her with the idea of making things work, but she surprises him by saying she wants him to come with her into the con game. He tells her that he cannot live by stealing. As he walks into the house hurt and disillusioned, Victoria whispers a "thank you" to Trece for releasing Blue.  (Synopsis by Sandy Sturdivant)

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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