The High Chaparral

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Fourth Season
Plot and Character Highlights

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Buck and Wind contemplate Talbot's sincerity

Talbot stalking John Cannon

Talbot signaling the Apache with his knife.

4.91  Pale Warrior              Sam, Wind, Joe
Claiming to have been imprisoned by the Apaches for 15 years, a white man is befriended by the Cannons who soon regret their helpfulness.
Teleplay by Laird Koenig, Peter Dixon, Don Balluck     Story Line by Laird Koenig, Peter Dixon     Directed by Joseph Pevney

Story Line:  After aiding Talbot whom they find injured, John Cannon, Victoria, Buck and Manolito become suspicious of the man's true purpose for being in the Cannon Ranch area. It is Wind who uncovers evidence to confirm their suspicions.

Guest Stars:

Frank Webb 
as Talbot

Harry Lauter 
as Mobley

X Brands 
as Eenah

Henry Wills (left)
as Tommy


Character Highlights:  While Wind continues to rankle Sam and Buck with his know-it-all attitude, this episode portrays Wind dealing with issues he would appropriately have expertise in - a non-Indian raised or held slave by an Indian tribe.  He is also a little less sure of himself, saying he doesn't know why, he just has a "feeling" about these things.  As the situation continues, Buck and Wind increasingly work together to assemble the information they need. This is a very strong episode for Sam and it shows from multiple perspectives the management responsibilities Sam carries as he deals with the unknowns of the new hire, the resentments of his crew, the desires of his boss, and the need to get the work done.  He turns to his brother, Joe, for backup support when he needs it.  Wind has a good confrontation scene with Talbot when he finally puts all the pieces together.  Frank Webb does a good job of portraying the grateful and polite Talbot who is actually wound tight with hatred for his hosts. 

Complete Episode Synopsis:  The story opens with a young Apache being chased across the desert by a band of  Apaches.  The young man heads straight for the High Chaparral, and Buck tells everyone to let him pass.  As he rides in the gate, he falls off his horse and is knocked unconscious.  When the Apaches break off the attack, everyone rushes to the stricken youth, and all are wondering why the Apaches were attacking one of their own.  When they turn him over, they are surprised to learn that he is a white man. The youth tells everyone that he has been a slave to the Apache for fifteen years.  

The HC crew helps the injured Talbot.

Sam decides to hire Talbot.

He says his father's name was Talbot, and this is what the ranch begins to call him.  He seems terribly glad to have escaped, and he expresses venom toward his Apache captors, which allays some fears that he is a white Apache, but there are still some who don't trust him.  He asks Buck to be allowed to stay on the ranch to learn the ways of the white man, and when Buck brings this up to John, Buck is told that it is Sam's decision to make.  Sam agrees, as long as the boy can hold up his end of the work.
Meanwhile, Buck sends Wind out to scour the countryside in search of Apache sign.   When Wind returns and informs Buck that the Apache are out there, but he can't see them, it is Buck's turn to wonder if Wind is doing his job thoroughly.  Somehow they manage to rankle each other during this exchange, and when Wind informs Buck "if you don't like it, you can do it yourself," and Buck retorts, "Boy, you are something else," and dumps his coffee at Wind's feet.  Having another Indian on the ranch is unsettling to the ranch hands, and Mobley points this out to Sam in front of Joe.  It invites a lecture from Sam, and when Mobley looks to Joe for consolation, Joe says, "Don't look at me.  You asked for it."  Joe then pivots and goes about his work.  

Joe supports Sam's position with Mobley.

Wind sizes up Talbot.

The closeness of the Butler brothers is demonstrated as Sam later asks Joe to help put out the fires spreading through the ranch hands about having to work and sleep with Talbot, whom none of them trust.  Sam puts Wind in charge of Talbot, and this almost causes a mutiny.  Talbot says he hates the Indians, and he can't understand why Sam would put another Indian over him.  Sam then gives yet another lecture to Talbot about Wind not caring if Talbot was "red, white, polka-dot or what."  He tells Talbot that he either works with Wind or he can ride out the gate.  

Talbot awaits his opportunity to kill John.

As Wind and Talbot feel each other out, Wind becomes suspicious of Talbot's intentions.  He can give no reason for why he does not trust the other youth, but he cautions Buck that there is something not quite right.  One of Wind's most poignant observations is that Talbot could be "thinking about what he hates and naming something else."  Buck and Wind both agree to keep an eye on Talbot.

Suspicions on the ranch increase.

Talbot stages a barbed wire accident.

Sam decides to put Talbot on the work detail building fences.  Although both boys are working hard in the hot sun, and the other men are taking frequent water breaks, neither Wind nor Talbot expresses a thirst, which now arouses Sam's curiosity.  When Talbot then hurts himself on the barbed wire, and Sam orders him to return to the ranch, Wind suddenly announces that he is thirsty.  It is obvious that Sam now suspects something amiss.  When Wind then disappears---along with his horse---Sam decides to let the infraction go, instead of sending someone to fetch him back to work. 

Wind takes a water break to watch Wind.

Talbot meets with Eenah of the Apaches.

Wind follows Talbot and learns that Talbot has met with the Apache.  Suspecting that Talbot is a Pale Warrior---a white man doing his "test" to become an Apache warrior which will give him an Apache name and standing in the tribe---Wind races to the ranch.  He tosses the reins at Buck, who gives him one of those aggravated looks, and storms up to the ranch house, where he encounters Talbot coming out from having his wound treated, apparently not yet accomplishing what he has set out to do.  

Victoria treats Talbot's wire wounds.

Wind and Buck then go inside the ranch house to talk with John.  They don't know who is the target, but they suspect that John is.  By this time, Talbot knows that Wind has everyone's suspicions up, and he returns to the ranch house, where he admits to meeting with the Apache, but only because he was surrounded and could not escape them.  Wind accuses Talbot of lying.  Talbot then tells John that Tularosa wants to meet and discuss peace.  Wind and Buck are fully prepared to go along, but Talbot says John must come alone.  

Talbot turns on John, prepared to kill him.

Out on the prairie, Talbot shows his full colors.  He is a Pale Warrior, and his mission is to kill John.  By doing this, he can become an Apache warrior and have standing in the tribe, even marrying Eenah's sister.  But John hasn't been fooled.  Unknown to Talbot, Wind and Buck are also out on the prairie, and they have Talbot well-covered.  As Talbot makes his attack on John, he is wounded by Wind and Buck.  Lying injured in the dust, he begs to be killed, so the Apache can see that he died a warrior's death.  The Cannon's do not oblige him, but leave him to face the Apache alone.

Talbot lies injured as the Apache approach.

(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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