The extraordinary story line of The High Chaparral takes place in the Arizona Territory of the United States in the early 1870s when the Apache Nation was still at odds with the ‘White Man’ after the assassination of the Apache chief, Mangus Colarodo.
The series ran for 4 seasons, Mark Slade appearing from 9/10/67 to 5/1/70 in seasons 1 to 3, in 79 0f the series total of 98 episodes. The series went on for only part of the fourth season without Marks’s character, but due to an understandable plunge in the ratings, the show was inevitably cancelled.
This unprecedented TV Western, created by David Dortort (who also created ‘Bonanza’), and many times directed by the highly acclaimed William F Claxton, ‘The High Chaparral’ was by far the most realistic and authentic of all the television westerns. Keeping its integrity by filming out in the real Arizona desert, often in temperatures close to 120 degrees, and allowing its cast to do much of their own stunt work and riding. Dortort also made a point of hiring only ‘real’ Indians to play the Apache roles, and ‘real’ Spanish and Latin actors to play the Mexican parts.
To this day, the series boasts a very large and unusually loyal mass of fans, due undoubtedly to the remarkable quality it strived to keep in each production, and the fine talents of every member of the cast.
Having a teenaged son himself, Mr Dortort even went so far as to portray the ‘generation gap’, making for real true-to-life family conflicts and situations.
Principal family were:
Big John Cannon (Lief Ericson – now deceased), owner of the ranch.
Annalee Cannon (Joan Caulfield – now deceased) John’s first wife (season 1 – killed in the first episode)
Victoria Cannon (Linda Cristal) John’s second wife. (From second episode, season 1, and onwards). Stepmother to Blue.
William ‘Blue’ Cannon (Mark Slade). John’s son by Annalee, stepson of Victoria. (and mostly referred to as Blue, sometimes as Billy Blue)
Buck Cannon (Cameron Mitchell – now deceased), John’s brother, uncle of Blue, and most often known as ‘Uncle Buck’.
Manolito Montoya (Henry Darrow). Victoria’s brother. Often called Mano.
Blue appears in Series 1 – 3 and had mysteriously vanished in the last season (4), never to be mentioned again. Consequently, this site is only concerned with season 1 – 3!