THE HIGH CHAPARRAL (NBC 1967-1971) RETAIL QUALITY! Leif Erickson, Cameron Mitchell, Mark Slade, Joan Caulfield, Henry Darrow, Linda Cristal
Set in the early 1870s, The High Chaparral was the story of Big John Cannon (Leif Erickson) who moved to Tuscon, Arizona with his wife, Anna Lee (Joan Caulfield), his twenty-year-old intellectually-challenged son, Billy Blue (Mark Slade), his brother, Buck (Cameron Mitchell), and a dream of establishing a cattle empire in this rugged, untamed land, beset by drought, Cochise Indians and avaricious Mexican cattle barons.
He had his work cut out for him, for his brother was a drunk, his relationship with his son was fraught with all the difficulties common between fathers and sons, and his wife, though loving and supportive, was terrified by the savagery she saw around her.
Within days of arriving in their new home, the army warned them off, Indians attacked, and John found he had a hostile neighbour to the south, in Mexico, by the name of Don Sebastian de Montoya (Frank Silvera) – who claimed the High Chaparral land as his own.
Anna Lee was killed in a raid, and John was forced into an arranged marriage with Don Sebastian’s daughter, Victoria de Montoya (Linda Cristal), as the price of peace with that enemy. He acquired a new brother-in-law, as well, Manolito (Henry Darrow), who came to help him establish the High Chaparral ranch.
Billy Blue, still grief-stricken over the death of his mother, was shocked by his father’s actions and rebelled, deserting the ranch.
The series was made by Xanadu Productions in association with NBC Productions, and was created by David Dortort, who had previously created Bonanza for the network. The theme song was written and conducted by Bonanza's David Rose, who also scored the two-hour pilot.