Chaparral is an American Western-themed television series
starring Leif Erickson and Cameron Mitchell, which aired on
1967 to 1971. The series, made by Xanadu Productions in association
NBC Productions, was created by David Dortort, who had previously
Bonanza for the network. The theme song was also written and
Bonanza scorer David Rose, who also scored the two-hour
1 Cast and characters
2 Series format
2.1 Name of the ranch
7 See also
9 External links
Cast and characters
The show revolves around "Big John" Cannon (Leif Erickson), a rancher
living in the
Arizona Territory in the 1870s. He runs the ranch,
called The High Chaparral, with his brother Buck (Cameron Mitchell)
and son Billy Blue (known as Blue Boy) (Mark Slade). Blue Boy's
mother, Annalee (Joan Caulfield), is killed in the first episode by an
Indian arrow, and John Cannon then marries Victoria (Linda Cristal),
the daughter of powerful neighboring rancher Don Sebastián Montoya
(Frank Silvera), in what is initially a marriage of convenience. His
marriage to Victoria also brings her brother Manolito (Henry Darrow)
to live with the family.
Among the guest stars were Rico Alaniz, Richard Bradford, Scott Brady,
Anthony Caruso, Chief Dan George, Roberto Contreras, Dennis Cross, Jim
Davis, John Dehner, Charles Durning, Paul Fix, Steve Forrest, Ron
Foster, Frank Gorshin, Ron Hagerthy, Ron Hayes, Myron Healey, Barbara
Hershey, Don Keefer, Dan Kemp, Robert Loggia, Jack Lord, Tyler McVey,
Ricardo Montalban, Joanna Moore, Nehemiah Persoff, Stuart Randall,
Gilbert Roland, Ned Romero, Kurt Russell, Frank Silvera, Barry
Sullivan, William Sylvester, William Tannen, Dub Taylor, Denver Pyle,
Paul Winfield, and Morgan Woodward.
The two-hour opening episode establishes the background to the action,
bringing John Cannon and his family to Arizona, where they buy a
run-down hacienda and establish a cattle ranch on it. The Apache
Indians, under the leadership of Cochise, are hostile; John's wife is
killed in an attack, and in order to survive the Cannons are compelled
to enter into an alliance with a rich and powerful neighboring
rancher, Don Sebastian Montoya, who owns a huge estate on the Mexican
side of the border adjoining the High Chaparral.
Part of the price for the alliance is the sealing of the pact by the
marriage of John Cannon to Montoya's daughter, Victoria. Montoya's
feckless son, Manolito, whose relationship with his father is
strained, accompanies his sister in order to get away from Don
Sebastian. John's son, Blue, is vehemently opposed to the marriage,
coming so soon after Anna-Lee's death.
Reinforced by Montoya's men, the Cannons are able to fight off the
Indian attacks, and, with the services of Manolito as interpreter,
manage to negotiate a truce, albeit a fragile one, with the Apache
leader. The main reason for its fragility is that the US Cavalry
refuses to recognize Cannon's right to negotiate a peace with the
Apaches, and continued Army interference constantly threatens the
treaty. There are also frequent problems between the Cannons and the
arrogant Don Sebastian, usually concerning the terms of their
Big John's brother, Buck, notionally the ranch's head cowhand, was a
hard-bitten former soldier, who fought in the American Civil War, ten
years previously, on the side of the Confederacy. From time to time
Buck's past came back to haunt him, usually in the person of other
Confederate soldiers drifting through the Territory, forever unable to
return to their homes in the defeated South. Occasionally, there was
friction as a result of the fact that Big John had also fought in the
war, but on the other side, as a Captain in the Union Army.
The series gradually evolved to make Manolito and Buck the most
popular characters, as they were the ones who tended to get into
trouble; both were somewhat irresponsible, particularly under the
influence of drink. The other characters were gradually marginalised.
Cattle ranching almost never featured in the storylines, which,
whenever there were no imminent Indian troubles, were much more likely
to revolve around Manolito or Buck and some form of hell-raising -
gambling, women, or whiskey.
Mark Slade (Blue-boy) did not appear in the final season and Frank
Silvera (Don Sebastian) had died while the series was still in
production (but he did appear in a couple of episodes). Blue-boy was
replaced by Wind, a new cowhand who was half-Indian and of a similar
age to Blue, and who sometimes acted as a go-between for the ranchers
and the Indians. This final season had new opening titles and a
rearranged version of the theme tune.
Name of the ranch
The name was explained by the following dialog in Episode 1:
Annalee Cannon: Isn't it beautiful, John? It should have a name.
Big John Cannon: You name it.
Annalee Cannon: What is that bush called — that green one?
Big John Cannon: Chaparral.
Annalee Cannon: That's it — Chaparral. I christen thee "The High
Chaparral" — the greatest cattle ranch in the whole territory ...
the whole world!
In the true sense of the word, "chaparral," is not a single species of
shrub but a bionomic community of desert flora located near a coast
especially that in coastal California. There is also some colloquial
use of the term in
Arizona to describe the low growing Sage, Mesquite
and Palo Verde growing there especially in the higher deserts. But the
Arizona plant community is more properly called a
"xeric" shrublands biome.
Chaparral was Dortort's brainchild, and he left the
day-to-day running of
Bonanza in the spring of 1967 so he could focus
all of his energies on The High Chaparral. After the show's
cancellation in 1971, Dortort chose not to return to
All the exterior filming was done at
Old Tucson Studios
Old Tucson Studios in
in the nearby Saguaro National Park, although in a few later episodes
there was some filming in
California and (in season 3) in the Coronado
National Forest south of Tucson. The interiors were generally filmed
NBC television studios in Burbank, Los Angeles.
Cameron Mitchell was offered the part of Buck following an airline
flight to Tucson where he sat next to the series creator and his
The series has appeared on CBN, The Family Channel, Hallmark Channel,
INSP and, as of August 28, 2017, on Heroes & Icons.
On May 20, 2010 the first worldwide release of season 1 on DVD
occurred in Germany (Kinowelt, now Studiocanal), with subtitles in
English and dubbed into German. Season 2 was released on December 9,
2010. Season 3 was released June 9, 2011. The final season 4 was
released in February 16, 2012. On disc 1 episode 1 starts with some
scenes shown on German TV that were not in the original and thus
dubbed German instead of English for a few minutes.
Art-S Home Entertainment (www.art-s.nl) in the Netherlands released
the first box with season 1 (28 episodes) on May 2, 2012. Season 2
released on January 28, 2013. Season 3 released on September 3, 2013
and the final season 4 released January 26, 2014. The High Chaparral
is also released in Sweden with each season in 2 boxes. In Australia
they have also released The High
Chaparral in 4 boxes.
May 20, 2010
May 2, 2012
October 30, 2012
March 13, 2013
December 9, 2010
January 28, 2013
March 19, 2013
May 8, 2013
June 9, 2011
September 3, 2013
July 31, 2013
August 7, 2013
February 16, 2012
January 26, 2014
October 8, 2013
January 15, 2014
Main article: List of The High
Chaparral Theme Park (Sweden)
^ Lightning in a Bottle, autobiography of Henry Darrow
Wikimedia Commons has media related to The High Chaparral.
Chaparral Home Page
Chaparral on IMDb
The High Chapa