The High Chaparral

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Fourth Season
Plot and Character Highlights

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 Francisco and Diego making plans. 

Joe in the pony-express style relay to
Rancho Montoya

Rodrigo and Don Sebastian in 
the showdown with Diego

4.85  An Anger Greater Than Mine     Don Sebastian, John

Embittered former revolutionary Diego De La Paula leads his newly-formed army of liberation in a series of harassing raids on the vast lands and herds of the Cannons and Montoyas.
Written by Don Balluck         Directed by William Wiard

Story Line:  Diego De La Paula charges that the Cannons and Montoyas won their wealth at the expense of his deposed hero, Maximilian. Aware of the seriousness and growing destructive power of the vengeful Diego, John Cannon and Don Sebastian Montoya join forces to thwart the attacks with a unique plan that results in a face-to-face confrontation between the elder Montoya and the self-styled liberator.

Guest Stars:

Alejandro Rey 
as Diego De La Paula

Nate Esformes 
as Francisco

Val De Vargas 
as Rodrigo

Nico De Silva 
as Pepe


Character Highlights:  The sweetheart Victoria believed to have been dead (played with great intensity by Alejandro Rey) when she married John Cannon, reappears and results in some confusing feelings for her.  She never wavers in her devotion to John but is surprised by her feelings for Diego and disturbed by his current criminal bent and his vendetta against both her father and her husband.  Mano has a good scene where he confronts Diego about Victoria being the real reason behind his attack on the High Chaparral.  John and Don Sebastian cooperate with a plan to help each other battle Diego but when it comes down to implementing it Don Sebastian momentarily considers backing out.  His foreman, Rodrigo, objects though, appealing to his good word and sense of honor.  Don Sebastian comes through in the end, personally fighting and besting Diego rather than submit to his demands. Very tender scenes between John and Victoria.  Episode includes a flashy one-footed stirrup jump by Joe in the pony express-style relay.  For those interested in information about the time and distance between High Chaparral and Rancho Montoya, it is discussed in detail here. 


Complete Episode Synopsis:  Both the High Chaparral and the Rancho Montoya are plagued with bandits that not only steal cattle, but murder the ranch hands, too. In a fit of rage, Don Sebastian visits the High Chaparral and demands that John honor his pre-nuptial agreement to defend the Montoya ranch. He also reveals what the Cannons did not know: the identity of the leader of the bandidos is Diego de la Paola, a former neighbor of the Montoyas. Manolito tells John of the misfortunes of that family, and how the young Diego was thrown into prison for backing the Maximilian forces during the revolution against Juarez. Diego, long believed dead by the Montoyas, was released from prison, and returned to Sonora to find that his lands had been bought by his Montoya neighbors and all his family holdings were lost.

Don Sebastian and John argue strategy.

Mano being held by the bandidos.

Knowing now that the attacks on the two ranches are a result of a personal vendetta, John realizes that Diego has declared a total war on the High Chaparral. He refuses to come to Mexico to defend the Rancho Montoya for fear that he would only return to find his own ranch in ashes. Don Sebastian departs in a huff, and John dispatches Manolito to see what he can find out from Diego. From Diego Mano learns his father's words are true, that the bandido is mad. His demand is that Don Sebastian sign over his family's old lands as well as half of the Montoya holdings, and he vows to destroy the High Chaparral unless the gringos there assist him in convincing Don Sebastian to sign. 

Manolito exposes his true motivation, however, in accusing Diego of avenging himself on the High Chaparral because Victoria, Diego's former sweetheart, married John Cannon. Diego denies the allegation hotly enough for Manolito to size up the man perfectly.  Back at the High Chaparral, the raids continue, and at both ranches, workers desert in droves.  Troubled at Victoria's silence through all of this, John attempts to find out from her how she feels about Diego, but she seems unable to articulate it. 

Victoria explains her feelings about Diego.

Buck and Mano listen to John's plan.

An idea comes to John that will make it possible for the two ranches to work together against their common enemy by setting up a relay system between the ranches akin to the Pony Express. Don Sebastian expresses no confidence in the plan, but begrudgingly agrees to follow it. The next few days are spent in nervous anticipation of the next raid. The High Chaparral is hit next, and the plan is put into full swing. 

John plans a relay defense.

The first signal fire is set.

Fires are lit answering other signal fires, with the distance in between being covered by Pony Express-style riding. Joe is appointed for this job, but after his first change of horse, he is shot by a bandit.  At the bandido camp we learn that Francisco, Diego's second in command, had suspected some kind of plan and prepared for it. Francisco, a cynical but realistic man, has been questioning Diego all along about his motivation, and although he willingly threw in his lot with Diego, he has no delusions about how the venture will likely end. 

Pedro spots the first fire.

Rodrigo and Don Sebastian spot Pedro's fire.

Meanwhile, Joe is able to fire a shot that alerts some Montoya vaqueros to his position, and the last leg of his journey is completed by one of them. The Montoya hands mobilize, but not without some last moment vacillation by Don Sebastian, and they ride to meet the High Chaparral force.  Meanwhile, the bandidos have also anticipated this, and the Montoya men take cover in the face of a larger bandido force. Don Sebastian approaches Diego, who hands him the title for his family lands to sign. 

Diego demands a signature from DS.

Diego is defeated by Don Sebastian.

Don Sebastian is again defiant, but Diego is able to soften him by pointing out that his pride will only get his vaqueros killed. Don Sebastian seems ready to sign, and Diego laughs in triumph. This is too much for the Old Lion, and he attacks Diego. Both men scuffle, trying to get at the gun that Diego has dropped. At the same time, the High Chaparral men ride up, and all three parties watch the two men wrestle. Finally, Don Sebastian snatches the gun, and Diego is beaten. 

Don Sebastian bests Diego.

Diego screams for Francisco to kill everyone, but Francisco sees that he is outnumbered, and that Diego is finished. The bandidos ride away, leaving Diego, who sinks to his knees and cries, "Victoria--help me!"  Don Sebastian, knowing the meaning of his words, tells John that he is sorry that his friend had to hear it. John however, bolstered by the parting words of love his wife had given him, replies confidently that Don Sebastian underestimates 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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