The High Chaparral

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Don Sebastian with the bandido, Jorge

Don Sebastian scheming

Mano and Don Sebastian negotiating with Chiopana
3.70  Mi Casa, Su Casa     Victoria, Mano, Don Sebastian

Told to make himself at home while a houseguest at the Cannon ranch, Don Sebastian Montoya, father of Victoria and Manolito, does just that and inadvertently provokes an Indian attack.
Written by Tim Kelly         Directed by Don Richardson
Original Broadcast:  February 20, 1970

Story Line:  Unaccustomed to the rugged life that is part of the operation of the Cannon ranch, wealthy Don Sebastian Montoya proves a disruptive influence by refusing to be without the luxuries he enjoys on his own estate. The demanding houseguest ignores one rule too many and the result is an Indian uprising.

Guest Stars: 

Lew Palter 
as Jorge

William Bagdad 
as Juan


Michael Keep 
as Chiopana

Pedro Gonzales-Gonzales 
as Pepe (right)

Character Highlights: The episode centers around the Montoya family and its cultural clash at the Cannon ranch.  Both Victoria and Mano do their best to please Don Sebastian's whims but John's patience is stretched thin.  At one point he says to Victoria, "Your father is the most exasperating man I have ever met."  Don Sebastian's sentiments:  "I have never been able to decide whether it is more of a thorn in my side to have a son or a son-in-law."  Don Sebastian truly believes he can accomplish more with charm and diplomacy in dealing with the comancheros than John can with his more dogmatic authoritarian approach.  John and Victoria argue loudly about how to deal with the situation.  It is Buck who suggests a compromise approach to look after Don Sebastian without usurping his authority.  The episode includes many humorous moments including Victoria's hysterical declaration, "We will all be massacred to death!"   Also the closing scenes where Don Sebastian insists on using Mano's good shirt for a white flag rather than sacrifice his own handkerchief.  This is one of two episodes where Michael Keep plays Chief Chiopana, the other being "Too Many Chiefs".  In the final negotiations where Mano takes some license in interpreting between his father and Chiopana, Mano reminds his father with some enthusiasm that Mi Casa, Su Casa requires that he make reparations to his host - much to the Don's chagrin.

Complete Episode Synopsis:   The Cannons ready for the arrival of Don Sebastian Montoya for the first visit to his daughter's home with great anticipation. Even John joins in the festive atmosphere, learning the phrase "mi casa, su casa" as his greeting for his father-in-law. All are stunned, however, when Don Sebastian arrives with a platoon of servants and three wagons packed with his personal belongings. Obviously, the Old Lion is intending to stay a bit longer than the Cannons expect.

Don Sebastian graciously receives the traditional greeting that John extends to him, and immediately begins his work of turning the household upside down. Dinner is moved from six o'clock to ten o'clock, his horde of servants descend upon the bunkhouse, and even Victoria's furniture isn't safe from being rearranged. He also insists on his children, Victoria and Manolito, to be suitably dressed for the leisurely life that they once led at the hacienda Montoya. John roams about from one outrage to the next, fuming and fussing at Victoria.

When a group of comancheros arrive on Cannon land, following their patron, John decides that it is the last straw. The comancheros, led by Jorge, expect for the "mi casa, su casa" tradition to be extended to them, since they place themselves under the protection of Don Sebastian. They butcher High Chaparral stock and set up camp, intending to stay also and enjoy Cannon hospitality. John erupts and insists that Don Sebastian do something about the problem, which Don Sebastian in turn insists must be handled in a diplomatic way. He commences to ride to the comanchero camp to talk to Jorge. Jorge is at first shocked that John Cannon would be so rude as to renege on his hospitality, but he is at last convinced by Don Sebastian to leave Arizona for Sonora, and with the scrawny Apache stock seen grazing nearby instead of High Chaparral cattle.

This seemingly disposed problem mushrooms instantly when the Apache find out that their cattle have been taken. John had an agreement with the Apache chief Chiopana that he could graze his livestock on Chaparral land in exchange for peace. Chiopana sees the theft of his cattle as a breech of the peace, and rides to the High Chaparral. Meanwhile, when Don Sebastian lazily informs the Cannons of what he has accomplished, panic ensues as all realize except the Old Lion that they will be attacked.

The ranch is readied for attack, and Don Sebastian, ever wanting to prove that his way is superior to John's, insists that Manolito fly a white flag and bring him to talk with Chiopana. The Apache likes what he sees of Don Sebastian, his flashy clothes and his perfumed handkerchief. He and Don Sebastian exchange gifts, but then Chiopana presses home his point. Manolito also pressures his father, and John joins the parlay. Soon the tables are turned on Don Sebastian, and he must make restitution to the Apaches according to his beloved tradition of "mi casa, su casa." He cuts short his visit to the Chaparral and heads back to Sonora, accompanied by Chiopana, who he must now extend the traditional greeting to, and hospitably entertain.  (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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