Buck Cannon is the bearer of sad news as he dismounts at the High Chaparral
ranch. He begins slowly announcing the devastating news that Don Sebastian
Montoya has died unexpectedly. His heirs, Victoria Cannon and Manolito
Montoya, as well as John Cannon, must travel to Sonora. Victoria and
John leave immediately but Mano has ridden off and Buck stays behind to come
to make the journey with him.
Buck, thinking how to break the
Everyone is painfully aware that Manolito is the rightful heir to the
vast estate but it is also understood that he has never embraced the
responsibilities of being a haciendado.
Mano tries to ignore Buck's presence.
After the funeral services
Mano retreats to work on a couple bottles of tequila in order to ignore
his grief and remorse for not being the son his father wanted him to be.
Buck offers to go find Mano and ends up helping him find a way out of
Mano gives in to his grief and
Mano reminisces about the past and contemplates his future.
|As the family gathers
at Rancho Montoya for the reading of the will, Mano rides alone
through the desert, following Buck's suggestion to at least
think about taking on responsibility for Rancho Montoya.
As he does he recalls some of the many conversations he had with
his father about the differences between them, and particularly
about his father's desire that Mano find a direction for his
In flashback, Mano recalls trying to explain how his goals are
different than his father's.
The formal reading of the will.
His late father makes it clear in his will that he understands that
position and respects it, leaving his vast holdings to his only
brother, Don Domingo (Gilbert Roland). Don Domingo is a rogue and
has no more interest in Rancho Montoya than a game of cards. The
family is bewildered by the choice.
Mano is stunned to hear
Rancho Montoya has been left to Domingo.
Fuentes and Julio watch as Manolito
John Cannon suggests contesting the will. The shock is understandable, yet
Manolito vows to bring back his uncle from the bordellos of Mexico City, for
the good of the rancho.
Meantime, a conniving bandido, Julio Armendaris, teams up with
Fuentes, his henchman
to consider how easy it will be stealing cattle from an unprotected vega
while its new owner is not available, and their only true threat, Manolito
Montoya, is in search of him.
In Mexico City,
Mano walks the streets and finds Don Domingo in the thralls of a
dangerous general who wants to win at cards, and a very dangerous gamble
of his own. Mano interrupts the game to deliver the news. Mano
becomes painfully aware that his Uncle Domingo continues to live his
life his way, gambling, womanizing, and enjoying his freedom to do as he
“I can see you are not overcome by grief,” Mano says to Domingo. Tio Domingo
finds himself the sole heir to Rancho Montoya but as a silent insult, he
returns to the game using his new fortune as his wager. The deal is played
out, the stakes being his life, and Domingo wins. A spark of high interest
shines in Mano’s eyes. The general loses his entire fortune as well and
bellows with laughter. Honor among gamblers being what it is, the general
allows the Monotyas to leave unharmed.
Mano finally catches up with his uncle.
The bandit's accomplice is the Montoya's lawyer, Eduardo
Back at the bandido’s hideout, Julio’s men have hit the herds relentlessly
with the aim of catching the Montoya cattle and selling them for quick
profit. The exchange of money from the Montoya’s personal lawyer, Eduardo
Nuervo, to purchase more manpower is the driving force now.
Julio accepts cash from Nuervo
The lawyer knows where the herds are being moved, the inventory, and
when the least amount of security is assigned to each herd. If all goes
well, he plans to buy out the Rancho Montoya from Domingo and legally
become the next Lion of Sonora.
Julio, in his effort to establish himself as the power over the land,
continues his personal plan to decimate the herds and take over Rancho
Montoya as the new Lion of Sonora himself. To continue his power play, he will send
his men to steal Cannon herds, thereby keeping Cannon away from Montoya
lands for awhile.
As the camera pans the final scene, Buck Cannon is crouching and shooting at
more bandits who have struck at their herds daily. He scrambles for cover
and says, “I do hope Mano gets Don Domingo here soon or there won’t be a
ranch to inherit.”
Don Domingo explains his plans to sell Rancho Montoya and live off the
At the Montoya Rancho, Don Domingo meets with John Cannon and learns of the
alliance that will strengthen their two estates. But Domingo is aloof and
extremely unaffected by the loss of cattle, the deterioration of the rancho,
and the lack of loyalty from the peones. He wishes to remove himself from
the problems thrust upon him and merely sell the estate and its assets.
Victoria, and especially Mano, are shocked beyond words. To give up all for
money is unreasonable.
Sam Butler’s arrival at Rancho Montoya interrupts their disappointment. He
reports that the Cannon herds are being hit hard. The bandits are moving in
and wearing the crew down. John Cannon realizes that it may be too late to
save the Rancho Montoya but there is still time to save the High
Chaparral. He makes arrangements to leave immediately to take
care of business at home. Mano decides to stay behind to see if he can
get his Uncle Domingo to see the importance of his position and
responsibility at Rancho Montoya. Meanwhile, the bandit Julio
shares his strategy with the Montoya’s lawyer, Nuervo. His plan of
distraction, leading Cannon and his men away from Sonora, is working. Already
he has captured much cattle and sold some off. Nuervo is eager to accept his
part of the profit but not at the expense of being caught in the middle.
The two men battle over loyalties and who should be
the rightful owner of Rancho Montoya. Julio has more clout, more men under
his leadership, and more cunning. The lawyer must be careful how far he
asserts his own power in front of Julio. He knows that a brutish, lazy
bandit could never run the ranch or keep it a valuable estate without
running it into the ground in a matter of months. Julio threatens the lawyer
with his life to keep the plan in place.
Julio threatens Nuervo as they argue
over who is really in charge of their plans.
Mano angrily tells Don Domingo why
should accept his responsibilities.
Back at Rancho Montoya
Mano gives Don Domingo a severe tongue-lashing in an attempt to resolve
his disregard for the responsibilities
to his vast inheritance and to the peones who depend on him as their patron
for protection and stability.
Manolito takes a proactive stance to explain what assets are in jeopardy if
Don Domingo does not protect them. The loss of more than a 1,000 head of
cattle, continual raids, and many good men killed or scared off are factors
he cannot ignore. Domingo decides these burdens are not his so he travels to
High Chaparral to offer the estate to Cannon.
Of course, John cannot afford to purchase Rancho Montoya when he can
barely keep his own ranch out of trouble. Domingo leaves, knowing that
his offer was turned down.
Back at the outlaw hideout, the bandit and lawyer confer again. The lawyer
is getting nervous but accepts the money from another sale of a herd. This
time the amount is significantly smaller. He is painfully aware that his
time is limited with Julio. Once he returns to Rancho Montoya, he is
confronted by Don Domingo. He, too, is suspicious about the timing of the
herds being stolen and the possibility of an inside man. Domingo asks to
calculate how long the raids will continue, and the lawyer tells him that
the raids will most likely go on until nothing is left.
Don Domingo begins to suspect
This is exactly what Don Domingo had thought. He packs in preparation to
leave. He relinquishes all rights to Mano and Victoria. He has refused
to fight for whatever holdings might be left. It was never his to fight
for since he had no direct investment in it.
Mano finally appeals to Don Domingo
on the basis of protecting the Montoya name.
At this point, Manolito becomes nearly enraged. He makes another plea to get
through to Don Domingo. This time he uses the fine name of Montoya and its
rich heritage to drawn Domingo into the fight. As a rich hidalgo, Domingo
has more than a rancho but a deep connection to its peones and the
commitment to protect the land and its people. Domingo was
never aware of this status. When Mano appeals to him on the basis of
protecting the Montoya name that they share, we see the first sign of
real commitment from Don Domingo.
decides to offer payment to his peones to fight for him, to protect what
they have left. Together they will spend their last cent – all or
nothing – to gamble on a victory over the bandits. Mano and Domingo
finally agree on the biggest gamble of their lives.
In the meantime, Julio has amassed a fighting force with money he has made
from the cattle. While the peones are rallying behind Julio, a house of
peones is burned down as an example to keep the rest of the peones in line.
This is a fateful mistake on Julio’s part.
Domingo is personally recruiting peones to fight. Riding from village to
village, he comes upon the burned home, and is learning what loyalty and
commitment are made of. He invites the displaced family to live and work at
Rancho Montoya under his protection. Domingo has seen far more than he was
willing to accept. He continues to learn how important his position truly
Fuentes burns the house of a peon.
Finally committed to each other's
mutual protection, the Cannons and Montoyas develop their strategy
against the bandits.
Manolito brings news to High Chaparral that Domingo is now offering a
binding agreement to continue the alliance that Don Sebastian had originally
made. They confer and soon figure out that Montoya’s faithful lawyer is the
insider who has been supporting Julio all along. John Cannon plans to trap
the lawyer by saying he will move all his cattle into a box canyon for
safekeeping. The trap is set. Now Domingo rides with the lawyer as they move
the herd on the trail to face the bandits. The battle is set in a narrow
canyon. The bandits are defeated and Domingo leaves the lawyer and bandit to
settle their differences.
At the fiesta Buck is back to his
and troublesome self.
Back at Rancho Montoya, the episode ends with a rousing fiesta celebration.
Domingo decides to stay on as the New Lion of Sonora, surrounded by peons
and villagers grateful to have a patron who cares about them and can protect
Don Domingo addresses his late
Don Sebastian Montoya.
There is a toast and Domingo sits confidently in his big chair, and
admits to his departed brother, Don Sebastian, “You would not believe
what has happened to me.”
(Synopsis by Barbara Ann “Rusty” LaGrange)