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|Index||19 reviews in total|
This television series originally aired on NBC on Friday nights
from 7:30 to 8:30 PM for almost its entire run. It ran right before
one of television's greatest programs, "The Name of the Game." I used to
wonder if the reason I remembered this show with such admiration was due
the age that I was when the show originally ran, but recently seeing it
again, I have to say that it stayed with me so long because it's just a
The show is centered around the character of John Cannon, played flawlessly by Leif (pronounced "Life") Erickson, and his brother Buck, played by Cameron Mitchell. Also in the cast were Linda Cristal as John's wife Victoria, Henry Darrow as Victoria's brother Manolito, and Mark Slade playing John's son Billy Blue Cannon.
When I was just a kid in grade school, my cousins and others I knew were tuned in to ABC's Friday night line-up, which was quite popular at the time. I couldn't tear myself away from this show though, and it's difficult to explain why without revealing too much about it. Let's just say that the stories were impeccably written and directed, doing much the same thing as Bonanza would do, alternating between high drama and humor. A good example of this is an episode entitled "The Firing Wall." If you ever get to see this series, keep an eye out for that episode. My personal favorite is an episode called "Champion of the Western World." Fun episode! The casting was perfect. Every regular cast member really seemed to like the characters they were portraying. Henry Darrow was outstanding in giving his character real depth and range of emotion. Cameron Mitchell also did some really fine work in this series. In fact, when you get right down to it, they all did!
I could go on about this show by using all the known adjectives, stupendous!, wonderful!, ect..., but if you're reading this, then you probably already share a certain amount of the same enthusiasm that I have for this show. If you're reading just out of curiosity however, then if you ever get the opportunity to do so, by all means, treat yourself to one of the finest programs that television has ever offered.
I remember The High Chaparral from when I was a child and rediscovered it as an adult from reruns. What is most noticeable about THC as opposed to other TV westerns are two things; it was actually filmed outdoors instead of on a soundstage, unlike large chunks of other TV westerns such as Rawhide and Gunsmoke and especially The Big Valley. Because of this the show and the actors have an authentic dirty and sweaty look to them appropriate to the period and place. I mean hey, cattle ranching in Arizona now is hard, sweaty and dirty, think about how is was before running water. The other thing I liked about it is that not only did the recurring characters not always get along, some of them flat out just didn't like each other. Kind of like in the real world and unlike other TV westerns. These distinctive features along with superb acting, writing, and technical work (just watching the shows makes me want to sweat) adds to up to one heck of a show.
Noble but flawed and very human heroes, credible villains, realistic
story-lines and family dynamics. "High Chaparral" had high adventure,
powerful drama, some of the funniest moments on television and tender
romance. This series combined brilliant actors, writers, producers and
directors. Together, they brought memorable characters, 1870s Arizona &
Mexico to life. Thirty years after it aired, I still remembered episode
plots and dialog. The remarkable thing is, so could many other fans!
People all over the world love High Chaparral -- its themes and characters are universally appealing. New generations of fans have discovered it in re-runs. Hopefully, remastered, uncut DVDs will be released soon -- this treasure should be preserved and enjoyed, not forgotten.
When I was a child, watching The High Chaparral was something the whole
family was looking forward too. We would sit on the couch at least 15
minutes before the broadcast started and were 'glued' to the screen
during the whole show. The rest of the week we would talk about what
happened. Almost 40 years later the show hasn't lost anything of it's
charm, my children love it. It is not just an 'adventure' western.
Teenagers identify themselves with the troublesome relationship of Blue
and his father John. There is something in it for everyone.
It has a wonderful cast, Leif Erickson as patriarch John Cannon, Cameron Mitchell as his brother Buck, Mark Slade as his handsome blue-eyed son Blue, Henry Darrow is a playful Manolito, and Linda Cristal the beautiful Victoria. The Bunkhouse boys add a little extra to this series, Don Collier, Bob Hoy, Ted Markland, Roberto Contreras and Jerry Summers are a treat to watch.
All actors are outstanding and their characters are so believable, that you forget you are watching a TV series. You are 'there', with the heroes in the Arizona Territory , fighting their fights, crying their tears, and laughing their laughs.
It was and is one of the most realistic Westerns series. Apaches were often played by Apaches, Mexicans by Spanish speaking actors. The heroes sweat, get tired, upset and the aren't infallible.
The High Chaparral was the best of the many TV westerns. Bonanza was
equally excellent, especially in character development. The difference
for me was the quality of the writing in High Chaparral. This show
compelled me to visit Tucson, Bisbee, and surrounding Southwest Arizona
and Mexican locations several times. Tucson seems like a second home to
The use of the landscape, the development of distinct characters such as John Cannon, Victoria, Manolito, Don Sebastian, and especially Buck, and the treatment of Native Americans in story lines was the most balance I have seen in this genre. Native Americans, especially the Apaches, were presented as having good and bad people, just as the whites were presented, good and bad. I particularly think the actors were outstanding - Cameron Mitchell, Frank Silvera, and Henry Darrow especially.
This show unfortunately does not show up on TV much at all, and I'm afraid it will disappear as more years go by. I can't believe it is not on DVD, especially since there's so much bad stuff on DVD, why not put something quality like this out? Next time it is on, I'll be sure to record as many as I can for viewing later when it's gone for good. Like the old West, this show may have seen it's last sunset. Too bad.
The High Chaparral was the best western series ever. It 'touched' many interesting subjects. One of them is the relationship between it's family members. The difficult relationship between Blue and his father John, was portrayed in a very convincing way by the extremely talented actor Mark Slade and Leif Erickson. It reminded many teenagers of their own problems with their parents, and was no doubt one of the reasons of the popularity of the series. Blue's relationship with his Uncle Buck (Cameron Mitchell) was one of warmth and understanding, allowing the actors to show a different side of 'their' character, often leading to humorous scenes, but also deeply emotion scenes. The inter cultural relationship between John and his wife Victoria was something very few other TV series dared to touch in the 60's. In many ways 'The High Chaparral' was ahead of it's time, and according to it's numerous fans 'timeless'. It's a pity there were only 3 seasons with the original cast. I would have loved to see more of it.
This show is one of the best TV shows I have ever seen, and definitely the
This show is ahead of it's time in many ways. I wasn't even born when this show had it's original run but saw it on re-runs during the 80's and 90's and the show still held up to modern TV shows. Where most old TV shows tend to seem a bit dated 25-30 years down the track High Chaparral is still top quality viewing. The stories are well written and the acting is quite good.
The way that the Apache aren't just portrayed as mindless savages is also a very modern outlook. If the show is ever re-run again I will make a point to watch every episode.
The High Chaparral is now under investigation for a release 2008 on DVD by Paramount/CBS! This is really good news for all of us that have been waiting for this wonderful TV Western series to be released on DVD. For me it has been the best ever TV Western series. I grew first up with the old classic Bonanza and the Cartwrigh brothers, in the beginning of the sixties. But when this series began to be sent on Swedish television, I were sitting in my chair waiting the program to appear on Friday evenings. It had all a real western series should have. The people that were playing their rolls were almost perfect to this and still they are before my eyes. It was very realistic and had all different kinds of episodes included. It were a very good show of how the life were in the western during the time the shows happened.This is the first western TV series not played in a studio, but in open air. I can already hear the The High Chaparral melody when I am waiting for the worldwide release of this wonderful show. The dust from the horses and ....well all...If you like westerns your only need to see The High Chaparral. And then you will agree! This is western when it is as best as it can be. Paramont/CBS- Hurry up we are waiting!!! If you would like to be updated with very good information about the show, go to the website for The High Chaparral - you will have most of what you want there.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was an expensive western for the producers to deliver and it
shows. Unlike other shows of its time and genre, the creators of The
High Chaparral tried to move away from shallow hero/villain stereotypes
and tired shoot-em-up story lines. The result was a brilliant - albeit
short-lived - television series. In reality, this was more a family
drama than a western.
I can recall growing up on re-runs of this show in the 70's ... my friends and I all watched the show religiously and used to make believe we were characters in it.
I remember an interview someone did with Michael Landon once ... this was right before "Little House" came out. Anyway, I remember his trashing "The High Chaparral" because the central figure, the patriarch John Cannon, was always quarreling with his son, Billy Blue. Mr. Landon insisted America didn't want to see this type of realism. He may have been right to a point, but I think it WAS this realism that made the show memorable. All of the main characters were lovable yet they were all far from perfect. Meanwhile, many of the villains had qualities that made the viewer identify with them. The lines between "good" and "bad" were hopelessly blurred on this show ... much like they are in real life. Add to that the realism of the Arizona desert, the dust, the sweat and the sun in their eyes and you felt like you were there. This was no small accomplishment for a show that came along in the sixties.
I am absolutely bewildered as to why other (and, in my view, inferior) westerns ARE available on DVD but this one still isn't. Why is Paramount continuing to miss the boat?
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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