The High Chaparral

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Fourth Season
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Miguel Alejandro as Beto

Buck saying goodbye to Beto

Nehemiah Persoff as Homero Jose

4.94  Fiesta                  Buck
En route to a border town fiesta, Buck invites trouble when he befriends a Mexican boy.
Written by Michael Fisher         Directed by John Florea

Story Line:  Buck encounters Homero Jose, an itinerant promoter whose income comes from fights he stages between friendless Mexican youths for anyone willing to wager on the outcome. Repelled by the sight of 11-year-old Beto being beaten, Buck takes him away in hopes of finding him a new home; but a vengeful Jose takes up their trail, vowing to get the boy back.

Guest Stars:

Nehemiah Persoff 
as Homero Jose

Miguel Alejandro 
as Beto

Rico Alaniz 
as Jorge Martinez

Carlos Romero 
as Sargente

Rodolfo Hoyos 
as the bartender

Daniel Kemp 
as Tim

Monica Ramirez (left) 
as Elena Martinez


Julio Medina 
as First Man


Character Highlights:  This episode has many parallels to "Spokes", where Buck left the ranch to travel to a distant town for fun and entertainment and ended up being the savior and guardian of an injured old man.  In this case it is an abused boy in need of Buck's protection.  As much as Buck tries to stay out of the town's affairs, recognizing that he is in a foreign country and foreign culture, his compassion for Beto and his sense of fair play won't let him stand by and see him abused for the amusement of gamblers.  The whole episode demonstrates Buck's tenderness with children in the way he touches him, speaks to him, rides with him on his horse and ultimately carries him for miles on his back.  Buck sometimes questions whether he has done the right thing or not since Beto seems so unresponsive but he never waivers from his commitment to find him a home.  A very touching scene at the end when Beto tells Buck as he is leaving that he loves him very much.  Good performances by Nehemiah Persoff as the unscrupulous owner of Beto and by Rico Alaniz as the farmer who takes Beto in.  The episode includes an entertaining scene near the beginning with Buck and Rebel getting water at the town fountain. He loses Rebel at one point somewhere in Mexico and since he rides back in to Chaparral at night, it is not clear whether or not he has retrieved him.  John, who had remarked wistfully when Buck was leaving that someday Buck was likely to ride off and never make it back again, seems relieved at his return. 

Complete Episode Synopsis:  Buck Cannon decides to pack his saddlebags for a long journey to enjoy a fiesta over the border. He needs a little change of pace and even denies the company of Manolito on this trip. As Buck leaves, Big John is acutely aware that Buck is a breed apart and there could be a time when Buck sets off and never makes it back home. Mano and John stand silently as they watch him leave.

Buck prepares to leave for Fiesta.

Boy-fights in the Cantina

Before Buck gets to his destination, he encounters poor Mexicans gambling in a dirt-floor Cantina in a small border town. Buck intervenes when he finds that little boys are being promoted as fighters for the gambling amusement of their promoters. It sickens him even more to find that these boys are abandoned, living off the streets or for the benefit of their promoters. Homero Jose (Nehemiah Persoff), the boy’s promoter, is angered by this intrusion but not strong enough to confront Buck one-on-one. He and his amigos will settle the score later. No one, even other gringos there, seem to hold the same values or see the injustice of the situation as Buck does.

Homero and friends.

Buck decides to intervene.

So once Buck has rescued the lad, Beto (Miguel Alejandro), from the fight, given him a drink of water, and wiped his bloodied face, what to do? The barkeep suggests he let Beto go; he is no concern of a gringo. That may be true but neither can Buck leave the boy without someone to take care of him nor can he take the boy with him, so he asks the barkeep to find him a home. The culture differences and attitudes to young people who have no home is a sudden shock to Buck. The saloonkeeper is more worried that the injustice of the fights is small in comparison to the wrath of these men who scrape together very little to exist. The boy is considered Buck’s property now. Homero Jose will be bitter and cause trouble.

Buck assists the rescued Beto.

Homero plots to ambush Buck and Beto.

Buck is not sure what his next move will be. Right on cue, Homero taunts Buck from outside the Cantina. Words are exchanged without resolve. They’re edgy and want to shoot the gringo. Minutes later the barkeep runs out to lead Homero and his men toward the rear of the building. The gringo is escaping with the boy. In an orchestrated rouse, Buck and Beto scoot out the front door and head for the fountain square for cover.

Buck contemplates his next move.

The Sargente confronts Buck and Beto.

Buck tangles with Homero and his men in a shoot out in the plaza with little resolve. Not only does Buck want to avoid a fight but poor Beto is incapable of caring whether he is being rescued or shot at. Buck pulls the boy to safety. The shooting brings a unit of mounted rurales into the square who break up the confrontation. Homero and his men slink into the shadows while Buck explains why he is standing firm against the injustices of the boy’s treatment.  Again, Buck is reminded of the cultural differences that allow for such despicable men to promote gambling with young boys to gain a few pesos. Perhaps, says the Sargente (Carlos Romero), that with the interference of the Americano, he could allow him to give the boy a better life. Buck leaves town with the boy.

Buck and Beto eat in the Cantina.

Beto is scrawny and aloof. He gets a good meal from Buck and will enjoy what little he gets. He shows no emotions and is careful not to show any fear. In a short time, Homero appears and ambushes Buck to take the boy back. This time Bucks saves the boy again but loses his horse. Pressed by his commitment to the boy and the danger of being pursued by Homero, Buck walks to safety and eventually carries Beto on his back. He will not abandon him.

Buck carries Beto after their horse is lost.

The Martinez family feeds Beto and Buck.

They reach the small farm owned by Martinez (Rico Alaniz) and his family. Martinez has little but a small house, a garden, a wife and five children and his faith. Buck hopes he can find a new home for the boy. Although having an older son would be beneficial, Martinez is afraid that Buck has brought bad fortune to his home. He does not want trouble or to have anyone killed.  Martinez considers that to give up Buck and Beto to Homero and his men will be the safest situation for his family.  Homero and his men appear. He wants the boy and will burn the house down to get him. 

Martinez and Buck prepare to confront Homero.

Martinez gives up Buck and the boy for his family’s safety but when Homero cunningly laughs, takes the boy, and announces he will burn down the house anyway, Martinez is repelled by the vile cutthroat and uses Buck’s gun to shoot Homero. This act is repulsive to Martinez yet he sees that there was no other way to deal with the cruelty of Homero and his kind. Beto is then gratefully adopted by the Martinez family. Although Beto has a home, he takes a moment to thank Buck in his own way, then tells him that he loves him very much before Buck rides off.

Martinez is pleased to adopt Beto.

Buck heads back to High Chaparral.

Buck returns to High Chaparral without ever having made it to his fiesta. Big John appears relieved to see his brother return to the ranch. Buck must endure the ribbing by Mano and his family but is confident that saving the boy was worth more than any carousing, womanizing or hangovers.   (Synopsis by Rusty LaGrange)

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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