The High Chaparral

Previous Episode

Fourth Season
Plot and Character Highlights

Next Episode

MacQuarie, Cullen, and Yuma hold up bank.

Wind and Victoria held hostage in the bank

Wind and Yuma

4.93  The Hostage
This episode involves the suspenseful moments spent by innocent bystanders taken hostage during an attempted bank robbery.
Written by Gerry Day         Directed by Leon Benson

Story Line:  During what he hoped to be the last robbery of his crime-filled career, Morgan MacQuarie imperils the lives of a group of hostages including Victoria and Wind. MacQuarie's problems mount when his robbery plan goes awry and the ensuing delay prompts an open defiance among his own men.

Guest Stars: 

Edmond O'Brien 
as Morgan MacQuarie

Joe Don Baker 
as Yuma

Ted Gehring 
as Beau Bodeen

Tani Phelps 
as Meelie Bodeen

Bobby Riha 
as Benji

Kermit Murdock 
as Seechrist

Woodrow Parfrey 
as Pruitt

Rick Gates 
as Cullen

Ken Drake 
as the Marshal


Character Highlights:  A rather ponderous overnight hostage episode.  Victoria and Wind are the only regular characters with any real involvement and even they play a relatively minor role compared to the interaction among the criminals and their other hostages in the bank.  A young Joe Don Baker does a good job as Yuma, the meanest of the three bank robbers and Edmond O'Brien is reliable as the grumpy old bank robber pulling that "one last job".   As the synopsis indicates there are so many background story lines going on that they are difficult to keep straight and most of them are interrelated in absurdly coincidental ways.  Victoria's eyebrows have become larger again along with her hair and false eyelashes.

Complete Episode Synopsis:  Wind drives Victoria into Tucson to visit the bank, where Army officers have just placed their payroll in the safe.  In the back office, Beau Bodeen is arguing with the bank manager.  Seechrist, the manager is telling him that Mr. Timmons, the bank’s owner, won’t lend Beau any more money, as Beau’s widowed sister-in-law, Amelia, and her young son, Benji, look on.   Beau spies Wind and complains about John Cannon’s hiring breeds and riding roughshod over public opinion.  Victoria, while making a withdrawal, chats with the teller, Mr. Pruitt, a shy older bachelor who has lent her a book of poetry.  Benji pulls out his slingshot and shoots a stone at the back of Wind’s head.  Wind grabs the boy, whose shouts bring his mother and uncle to his rescue.  Wind says the boy should learn not to backshoot a man, but Benji replies that "Injuns" aren’t men, and seeks confirmation from his uncle.  

Victoria makes a quick stop at the bank.

Edmond O'Brien as Morgan MacQuarie

Beau and Wind before being tied to the bars.

While this is all going on, three armed men suddenly enter the bank, drawing the shades and locking the door behind them.  Seechrist, still in the back office, goes for a pistol in his desk drawer.  Yuma, the roughest-looking of the three outlaws, throws a knife into Seechrist, who falls to the floor, hitting his head on the way down.  Beau recognizes the oldest of the thieves as MacQuarie, a legendary outlaw.  



Beau and Wind are bound with their arms behind them, their hands stuck through the bars of the tellers’ windows.  MacQuarie says Victoria, Amelia, and Benji may stay unbound if they promise not to sound the alarm for two hours after the outlaws have left with the money.  Victoria refuses.  Yuma tries to force Pruitt to open the safe, but he doesn’t know the combination - only Seechrist and Timmons do.  Yuma wants to beat Pruitt, but MacQuarie says they’ll wait for Seechrist to come to.

In the office, young Cullen, the third outlaw, is helping Victoria bind Seechrist’s wounds.  Victoria asks Cullen, whom she has known as the adopted son of the Davidsons, who own the general store, why he has thrown in with the other two outlaws.   Cullen tells her that MacQuarie is his real father, and that he was proud to go with him when he came for him, since his father is a legend in song and story.  She asks him if this is how he repays the love the Davidsons gave him, and Cullen says all his work in their store was repayment enough, and that the Davidsons never really loved him as their own.  Victoria tells him he is wrong - on both counts. 

Cullen and Victoria assist Seachrist.

Buck and John, sure that Victoria is safe.

Meantime, at the High Chaparral, Buck and John get home a couple days early and John is worried when he finds Victoria not at home.  He is contemplating going to Tucson to look for her when Buck explains that Victoria was planning on getting him a new hunting rifle for his birthday and he will only spoil her surprise if he goes to Tucson.  Believing Victoria is safe after all, John is relieved and agrees to wait for her return - and to be very surprised for his birthday!  

MacQuarie lays claim to Cullen.

Back in Tucson, Yuma is getting drunk on Timmons’ whiskey and he keeps staring at Amelia, sure that he knows her from somewhere, which she denies.  He also tells Victoria that, if Seechrist dies, they all will, as he doesn’t like to leave witnesses.  MacQuarie and Cullen join Victoria in the back office, and MacQuarie promises Seechrist can have a doctor in the morning.  He offers Cullen Seechrist’s gun, then snatches it quickly away when Cullen is too slow in grabbing it.  He tells him never to trust anyone.  "Not even your own father", Victoria chimes in, and proceeds to scold MacQuarie for not having wanted his son earlier.  MacQuarie tells Cullen that this is his last job, and afterwards they will sail for Vera Cruz and see the world.  He sends Cullen out of the room, and tells Victoria not to try to come between him and Cullen, as he is the only thing standing between her and what can happen and what will happen.
Yuma wants to take Pruitt and go get Timmons from his home, and force him to open the safe, but Beau tells them that Timmons is out of town and won’t be back until the morning stage arrives.  MacQuarie has Cullen tell everyone they’re holding hostage, to figure out if any of them will be missed before morning.  Cullen says only Pruitt would be missed, and then only if someone were to die, as he writes the epitaphs.  The marshal comes by on his rounds, and Pruitt is forced at gunpoint to tell him that everything’s all right.  Victoria wants to scream, and almost does several times, but doesn’t when she sees that it will get at least Pruitt killed.  Everyone but Wind, Victoria, and Yuma fall asleep.  Wind is working at his rawhide bindings with a tiny blade, and a drunk Yuma goes to check on Victoria and Seechrist.   When Yuma attacks Victoria, she pulls his knife from his collar and, sticking it in his ribs, also takes his gun.  

Victoria turns Yuma's gun on him.

Yuma, back in control.

She tells him not to make a sound, so as not to awaken MacQuarie and Cullen in the next room. But unbeknownst to her, Wind has escaped his ties, and, stepping over MacQuarie, already awakened him and Cullen, and been knocked unconscious. MacQuarie tells Victoria to give Yuma back his weapons, or he’ll kill Wind, then Amelia, and then Benji.  Victoria reluctantly obeys.  While Victoria cares for Wind’s wounds, Beau continues his tirade against all Indians, saying that they killed his brother.  Amelia joins in, asking Victoria how she can take in an Indian, knowing what he is.  Wind then tells the true story of what happened to Amelia’s husband:  how he and Beau had sold their cattle to the Indians, then refused to deliver the stock, forcing the Indians to come get the cattle, apparently in theft, and resulting in the death of Beau’s brother.  Amelia is shocked to learn this and turns in fury on Beau.
MacQuarie and Cullen have found that Seechrist has died, and bring Victoria into the office to tell her.  Benji and Amelia also come in, and it is explained to them how they must all keep pretending that Seechrist is alive, or Yuma will kill them all.  After the men leave the room, Victoria discusses how they can disable the three outlaws.  Yuma has started taunting Pruitt about his poetry used for epitaphs, and insists that Pruitt make one up on the spot for Wind.  Pruitt creates a sweet one for Wind, but when Yuma tells him to invent one for him, he doesn’t like it as well, and attacks Pruitt.  Victoria goes to Pruitt’s aid, making Yuma wonder why she’s not caring for Seechrist any more.  

Pruitt composes an epitaph for Yuma.

Amelia admits her past to Yuma.

To keep him from discovering Seechrist’s death, Amelia suddenly gets his attention by telling him that she was also serving time at Yuma prison at the same time he was.  Yuma says he’ll take Amelia with him as a hostage and for fun when they leave, but will kill all the others.  Beau says he can tell them how to get lots more money if they’ll let him live - he tells them Victoria is John Cannon’s wife, and Don Sebastian Montoya’s daughter, and that both men would pay a high ransom to get her back.  Yuma then decides to take Victoria along as hostage, instead.
Benji has snuck up on the desk while the outlaws direct their attention to the arrival of the stage.  Cullen and Yuma are arguing, and Cullen tries to draw on Yuma, but MacQuarie punches him unconscious.  Yuma is about to shoot MacQuarie when Benji slingshoots the pen into his gun hand.  Amelia throws sand from the inkstand in MacQuarie’s eyes, and Victoria retrieves Yuma’s gun after Pruitt knocks him unconscious with a bag of money.   The outlaws unarmed and disabled, Beau demands that Benji release him, but the boy ignores him and unties Wind instead.  

Victoria and Pruitt get the final drop on MacQuarie and Yuma.

When Victoria and Wind return to Chaparral they tell John, Buck, and Mano that things have been quiet in Tucson the last two days.  Buck and Mano are skeptical about that saying that it doesn't sound like Tucson, but Wind gives nothing away about their trials at the bank.   

(Synopsis by Carol Anne Gordon)


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

Return to Season Four Directory

Return to Home/Contents