The High Chaparral

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Buck and Mano debate priorities

Mano and Buck as uneasy bunkmates

Mano and Buck in "Friends and Partners"

3.68  Friends and Partners        Buck, Mano
Tired of the daily grind as cowhands on the Cannon Ranch, Manolito and Buck leave to operate their own recently-purchased spread and find they have only added to their woes.
Written by Jack B. Sowards         Directed by Leon Benson

Story Line:  Convinced they can have an easier life by being their own bosses, Manolito and Buck tell John of their decision to go out on their own. It is not long before the somewhat lazy Manolito and the less-than-neat Buck realize that as friends they make bad business partners.

Guest Stars:  Miguel Landa as Miguel, Charles Dierkop as Slim, Howard Caine as Sanchez  

Character Highlights:  Centered on Buck and Mano's new ranch, the C-Bar-M, the partners have to deal with their different work and living styles, as they try to get the ranch into shape. A number of humorous conflicts arise, including how to wash the dishes, whether or not to go to Tucson, how late to play music, when to get up, how often to bathe, etc.  Decisions tend to be made by the flip of a coin, but tensions mount.  Meantime, John and Victoria worry and argue over how Buck and Mano might be doing and who can be counted on to act more responsibly.  As always, when faced with a real threat (in this case, from the comancheros) Buck and Mano set their bickering aside and pull together in their usual seamless partnership. 

Complete Episode Synopsis:  Manolito and Buck, wanting some rest and relaxation, ask John if they can spend a few days at the ranch that they jointly own. John begrudgingly allows them to go, believing that all the two wish to do is to avoid work. He pulls Buck aside before he leaves and urges him to "keep an eye" on Manolito, who is being admonished at the same time by Victoria to do the same for Buck. Both men solemnly promise to take care of the other, and they gleefully gallop away, with Buck shouting "School's out!"

When they arrive at their ranch house, however, it is quickly evident that relaxation will have to wait its turn. The house is in a shambles, and Manolito and Buck immediately differ on the approach to take. Manolito wants the house to be neat and clean, while Buck cares little for the condition of the house, but wants to delve into work around the ranch. Mano wins the first round, and the two take most of their first day getting their house into shape. When they finish, Mano dons his hat and proclaims his intention of going to Tucson. Buck squelches that idea, citing the fact that John would be in town, and would know that they had lied about their reasons for coming to the ranch. An angry Manolito grabs his guitar and sits outside the front door, warbling and plucking at the strings while Buck fumes in bed.

All this time some comancheros, led by Sanchez, watch Manolito and Buck in anticipation of taking their revenge on the two for an old grudge. Slim, Sanchez' sidekick, wants to kill the two men, but Sanchez gets the idea of waiting until Mano and Buck round up the mustangs on their land, and then stealing the horses and killing the two.

The next morning, the bickering begins anew between Buck and Manolito, with their only method of resolving differences being a flipped coin. Buck decides that they have to set some rules into place, and starts to reel off his list, all of them pointed at curtailing Manolito's wishes. The two are interrupted by the appearance of John, who has ridden up to the ranch because Victoria was worried about the two friends. Buck and Mano put on a good enough show to get John back on his horse, but he remains unconvinced that the two men are getting along. As soon as John rides off, the fight resumes and continues while they attempt to round up the mustangs and drive them to their corral. After one failed attempt, Buck and Mano finally corral the horses, and Manolito rides away to Tucson, refusing to believe there to be any comanchero threat.

While Manolito is gone, the comancheros descend upon the ranch, and Buck gets away just in time. He follows Manolito to Tucson, furious that the horses were stolen. Some punches are exchanged before they both realize that they need to get serious about retrieving the horses. Mano hits on a plan to string wire across the arroyo that the comancheros would be using to drive the horses through, and they successfully clothesline the bandits and retake the herd. After selling the herd in Tucson, the two men head back to the High Chaparral, ready to go to work again for John and leave the decisions to him.  (Synopsis by Lisa McKenzie)

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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