The High Chaparral

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Third Season
Plot and Character Highlights

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Blue, Mano, and Buck eavesdropping

Victoria and John out in San Francisco

Pedro and Joe strategizing

3.80  Too Many Chiefs            All
Convinced by Victoria that he needs a vacation, John reluctantly leaves Buck, Manolito and Blue in charge of the ranch and returns to an Indian uprising.
Written by Don Balluck         Directed by Virgil W. Vogel

Story Line:  Victoria convinces John that he needs a break from the rigors of his work. The Cannons take what is intended to be a carefree vacation, leaving the ranch in the eager but inexperienced hands of Buck, Manolito and Blue. John returns to find that the boys have made a few mistakes, not the least of which is the provoking of an all-out Apache uprising.

Guest Stars: 

Noah Beery Jr. 
as Hannibal

Sandy Rosenthal 
as Doc Plant

Sherry Miles 
as Margaret Louise

Michael Keep 
as Chief Chiopana

Richard Peel 
as the Carriage Driver

Monte Landis (right)
as the Tailor

Howard Morton 
as the shop proprietor

Character Highlights:  Two parallel stories occur in this episode, one of John and Victoria recuperating and honeymooning in San Francisco and the other at the ranch where management problems have become enormous in John's absence.  Both Joe and Pedro have important roles.  There are two good escalating argument scenes at the ranch where Blue, Buck, Mano, Joe, and Pedro start out in amicable discussions but end up in shouting matches.  In spite of their frustrations with running the ranch, everyone is still genuinely concerned about John's health so they continue to work at finding solutions without telegraphing John for help.  As things go from bad to worse they gain increased appreciation for the decision making responsibilities that John carries. Upon his return, John is uncharacteristically calm and everyone at the ranch is relieved to have him back in charge.  John is relieved to find how much he is needed.

Complete Episode Synopsis:  John finds himself in trouble when he overextends himself in the running of the High Chaparral, and collapses while out on the range. His doctor diagnoses his condition as total exhaustion, and proscribes complete rest for at least three weeks, or else risk his life and health. Victoria, Buck, Blue and Manolito attempt to convince John to take a vacation, and after some resistance, John finally agrees to take Victoria to San Francisco for a the honeymoon they had never had.

Everyone but John is pleased he and Victoria will be going to San Francisco.

Running the ranch by committee.

After seeing Victoria and John off on their vacation, and promising to telegram if there was any trouble, Buck, Manolito and Blue go back to the ranch and proceed to run it as a triumvirate. At first, it appears that all is well, as Manolito and Buck complete a lucrative cattle transaction and report the good news to Blue. Blue, who is keeping the books in his father's absence, points out heatedly that the two have sold too many cattle, and that they won't be able to meet another order because of the error. A loud argument ensues, with each berating the other, and even Joe and Pedro get in on it.

The next morning, Buck attempts to apologize to Blue, and so does Manolito. Joe and Pedro are feeling pretty bad about their part in the fight, too, and soon everyone is apologizing. Blue blows it, though, when he laughingly says that Buck was stupid. Buck doesn't take kindly to the remark, and soon they are all fighting again. Work comes to a standstill, despite the fact that a herd has been stolen by the Apaches, one of the wells has caved in, and another cattle order needs to be filled. Joe and Pedro figure that someone needs to call a meeting, and a pow-wow soon commences, where Joe tells the others that three bosses aren't the answer for the ranch's woes. They vote and appoint Buck to be the head man while John is away.

Buck is selected to be in charge.


Hannibal explains his philosophy to John.

Meanwhile, John and Victoria are enjoying life in San Francisco, even taking in a serious round of shopping and the theater. While at the theater, John meets an old friend from Kansas, Hannibal Clay, who invites the Cannons to his home. The visit is an eye-opening one for John, for Hannibal has gone through exactly the same obsession with his work that John is experiencing. He advises John that he should do only those things in his work that only he is capable of doing, and delegate the rest.  It is a lesson that John can respect and learn from an equal.
Revived both physically and mentally, John decides that it is time to go back home to his ranch. When he and Victoria arrive, they hear all about the mess that the ranch is in, complete with daily Apache raids. John shocks them all by not exploding like he would normally do, but instead listens patiently and quietly. He proceeds over the next couple of days to fix all the problems that have crept up on the ranch, including visiting Chiopana and agreeing to repay him for the bungled attempt to recover some Chaparral stock from an Apache herd. 

John listens calmly as he hears about 
all the problems at the ranch. 

John and Victoria back home in
 their city finery.

Buck, Blue and Manolito look on in amazement as he accomplishes these tasks, until Victoria reveals his motivation. John was so afraid that his ranch would run smoothly without him, that he was delighted to find it a disaster when he returned home. A healthy growl from John proves that he is back and ready for being boss. 

(Synopsis by Lisa McKenzie)

Blue, Mano, and Buck pleased they are back.


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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