The Cannon family runs the High Chaparral Ranch in the Arizona Territory in 1870s. Big John wants to establish his cattle empire despite Indian hostility. He's aided by brother Buck and son... See full summary »
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James T. Callahan
The Cannon family runs the High Chaparral Ranch in the Arizona Territory in 1870s. Big John wants to establish his cattle empire despite Indian hostility. He's aided by brother Buck and son Billy Blue. When Blue's mother was killed (in the first episode) John united his family with the powerful Montoyas by marrying their daughter Victoria (whose brother Manolito now lives with them as well). Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
[Explaining to a cowboy why he pulled a hidden gun]
I whole lot rather be watchin' them put you in the ground and have folks sayin' 'That Buck Cannon, he don't fight fair' than to have 'Here lies Buck Cannon, he fought fair' on my tombstone.
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From David Dortort, one of the producers of the popular "Bonanza," "The High Chaparral" told the story of two families, The Cannons and The Montoyas, brought together by a marriage of convenience. Leif Ericson played "John Cannon," the patriarch of the family that lost his wife when they were making their way west. Linda Crystal played "Victoria," the headstrong daughter of Don Sebastian de Montoya (Frank Silvera) and brother to Don Sebastian's equally assertive son, Manolito (Henry Darrow). Mark Slade played John's son, "Blue," while perennial heavy Cameron Mitchell played John's brother "Buck." Rounding out the cast were frequent western performers Don Collier and Rodolfo Acosto.
What set the program apart from other "sagebrush sagas" of the period were its strong portrayals of Native Americans, as well as non-condescending looks at life among our Mexican neighbors. Set against the sprawling American southwest, the stories were engaging, filled with brilliant character studies, along with typical western situations.
It had a great casting coup by having black actor Frank Silvera assay the role of Don Sebastian. Silvera made a career out of playing a variety of "ethnicities," a tribute to his talent, as well as his "chameleon-like" appearance.
Another noteworthy bit of casting would be that of Crystal, Darrow, and Acosto, all Hispanic actors.
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