The High Chaparral

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Fourth Season
Plot and Character Highlights

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Victoria listens to Casement's sad story.

Casement holding the outlaws at bay.

Sam confronting the outlaws with Casement.

4.96  A Matter of Vengeance
Embittered over the loss of his home and grandson in a fire during a bandit raid, Casement vows to track down Reese, Gait and Wiley, the men responsible.
Written by James Schmerer, Don Balluck         Directed by Phil Rawlins

Story Line:  He trails them to Tucson where his friends of the Chaparral offer to help, but the determined Casement wants to face the men alone.

Guest Stars:

Barry Sullivan 
as Casement

Warren J. Kemmerling 
as Reese

William Lucking 
as Gait

Robert Donner 
as Wiley

Priscilla Pointer 
as Mrs. Colton

John J. Fox
as Mike, the Bartender


Character Highlights:  This episode continues the story of Dan Casement and his infant grandson Joey who were introduced earlier in the fourth season in "A Matter of Survival".  Like that episode, Sam plays a significant role, still feeling some gratitude for Casement's assistance in helping them survive against Apache attacks.  Victoria is also drawn into this episode, especially after she learns that Joey has died and Casement is now alone and driven by revenge.  There are several flashback scenes that indicate the intensity of the experience for Sam, Victoria, and Casement.  Sam and Victoria dog Casement in his pursuit of those responsible for his grandson's death both to assure his safety and to temper his vengeance.  As before, Casement remains distant and aloof throughout the episode, never showing much appreciation for the efforts that others make on his behalf.   


Complete Episode Synopsis:  Three strangers ride through the Arizona desert, hot and thirsty and purposeful. They are being followed - a fact that does not please them. The younger two, Gait and Wiley, are hopeful their "tail" is gone, scared off by a shot they took at him earlier, but Reese, the eldest, is convinced he has been with them for a week or more.  They hide out in the rocks, watching, and a rider does come up.  It's Buck Cannon. Gait takes a rifle bead on him and shoots him from his horse. They don't stop to see if he's really dead, though, afraid the Apache may have heard the shot and come down to investigate. 

Buck after being bushwacked.

Casement helping Buck at his camp.

Buck, as it turns out, is only stunned.  When he comes to, he's at the campfire of a stranger, who does not give his name, but does offer Buck a cup of coffee.  Buck has no luck convincing the stranger to come back to Chaparral with him, but the man does tell him that the ones who shot at him were men he'd been tracking for two weeks, and they must have mistaken Buck for him.
At the ranch, Manolito is in a tear because he has exhausted himself trying to build a corral on a silent dare with John.  John and Victoria are amused, but unsympathetic. Buck comes into the middle of this, telling John that he's made a good deal to sell a thousand head of cattle, to be delivered in six weeks, and then he tells them about the ambush, and the stranger who helped him. He does not know who the man is, only that he was on his way to Tucson, tracking three desperadoes.


 Sam, however, knows exactly who the stranger is. He's having a drink at the saloon, himself, as the man walks in - it's Dan Casement, who, with his baby grandchild, had just barely escaped the Apache with Sam, Pedro and Victoria a few months earlier. The two men reminisce, and then Sam invites him back to the High Chaparral.  

Victoria is delighted to see him, and even more excited to get word of baby Joey, for whom she had developed a deep attachment.  But Casement has bad news as he returns the silver cross Victoria had given the baby.  Joey is dead, killed in a fire started by the three highwaymen he is now tracking.  Casement has had himself deputized, but no one is fooled that his purpose is other than vengeance.  When he leaves Chaparral, Sam goes with him, allegedly to hire more men for the upcoming cattle drive, but in fact to lend help, and a voice of reason, as necessary.

Sam meets Casement in the Tucson saloon.

Wiley, Reese, and Gait confronted in the saloon.

Camped outside of Tucson, Reese, Gait and Wiley make their plans.  An army payroll will be coming through town in a few days time, and their aim is to rob it.  When Sam and Casement get to town, they are already settled in the saloon, and Casement identifies them by the tracks their horses have been leaving. He tries to intimidate them into some sort of confession with no luck, and when Sam reminds him that they have no proof, he insists that Wiley, "the skinny one," will tell him the truth, eventually.  Sam gets them rooms at Mrs. Colton's rooming house, and Casement begins his surveillance. By now, the three know he's watching them, and Gait and Wiley jump him in an alley and beat him so badly, Sam and Mrs. Colton must put him to bed.

 Victoria is also worried about Mr. Casement.  She cajoles Manolito into escorting her into town, and she arrives at Mrs. Colton's just as she and Sam are bandaging Casement's wounds. Discussing the situation with Sam, she concludes that the three outlaws must have come to Tucson for some illegal purpose, and if they can find out what, they might be able to help Casement without his really knowing it.  The next morning Sam finds Manolito in the saloon, and finds out about the army gold shipment from the bartender.  

Victoria talks Mano into taking her to Tucson.

Mrs. Colton holding Victoria at gunpoint.

Victoria is convinced that is what they have come for, and so is Casement, who is out of bed and armed.  He won't be convinced to return to bed, but he does let Sam stake out the saloon for him.  Sam comes back and confirms - the three have been watching the clock nervously, and "the skinny one" has gone to get their horses.  Casement goes after him, sending Sam back to the saloon to keep watch.  Victoria, frustrated by her inability to affect either man, is determined to go help them, but Mrs. Colton, who has taken a real liking to Casement, pulls a gun on her to stop her - on Casement's orders, since he has anticipated Victoria's move.

 Casement corners Wiley in the livery stable, telling him, first, that he is the law, and second that it was his ranch and his grandchild that the three men burned.  He vows to see them dead, but let's Wiley go, to tell the others.  They prepare to leave, but Casement comes in through the back, with a shotgun on them.  For a moment it looks like he might just gun them down, but Sam's voice of reason works, and he merely arrests them.  Reese, Gait and Wiley are not about to go quietly, however, and Victoria and Mrs. Colton hear gunshots from her house.  They fear the worst, but Casement is only wounded. The three outlaws are wounded as well, but will live to stand trial for Joey's murder.  

Wiley cornered by Casement in the stable.

And in the mean time, Mrs. Colton is pleased to realize that Casement will be staying with her for at least a month until the judge arrives.  Back on Chaparral, John is feeling badly for Casement, who he feels will be starting over, all by himself, but Victoria doesn't feel so bad.  She is certain that when Casement returns to his ranch, he won't be alone.

(Synopsis by Sheryl Clay)


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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