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Annalee: Isn't it beautiful, John? It should have a name.
Big John: You name it.
Annalee: What is that bush called - that green one?
Big John: Chaparral.
Annalee: That's it - Chaparral. I christen thee "The High Chaparral" - the greatest cattle ranch in the whole territory... the whole world!

Thus began the saga of The High Chaparral, 50 years ago today, September 10, 1967. When the show started, the ranch itself was nowhere close to the greatest of anything, but it came a long way as the show made it through 4 seasons and 98 episodes. However, Annalee didn't make it through the first episode, being killed in an Apache attack and thereby setting up the premise of the show. With enemies on all sides, Big John Cannon is forced to make an alliance with his Mexican neighbor, Don Sebastian Montoya, and has to marry the Don's "near spinster" daughter, Victoria (the lovely Linda Cristal), to seal the deal.

Buck (Cameron Mitchell) was always my favorite on the show when I was little, and Manolito (Henry Darrow) was a close second, but as an adult I almost kick myself. How in the world could I have overlooked Victoria?

Of the traditional ranch-family shows of the 1960s, "The High Chaparral" was my favorite. I rediscovered it a couple of years ago on TV, and have found that most episodes have held up pretty well. Most of the outdoor scenes were filmed near Tucson instead of on a Hollywood backlot or a closed set, so it had the dirty, gritty feel that most of the other shows of its type lacked. I've watched most of the episodes again in the last couple of years, and have enjoyed it so much that I've practiced my writing skills by writing a few stories for it on FanFiction. Unfortunately, The High Chaparral fell prey to the Western purge of the early '70s, as the networks were trying to get away from that type of programming.

What was your favorite ranch family-type show of the 60s (i.e., The High Chaparral, Bonanza, The Virginian, The Big Valley, Lancer, others?), and who was your favorite character on the show?

Edit: Bolded the question at the end.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: StarTraveler,


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Posts: 1250 | Location: Georgia | Registered: July 19, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Those were the days when on a good day, and the antenna in the right spot(s) we could get three channels. Smile The show we most loyally saw was
"Bonanza", and of course the family's favorite character was Hoss. After Dan Blocker's passing the show just sort of...wasn't the same.
 
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Sometimes it sucks to be a rangeland ecologist. I never saw the first episode of "High Chaparral," but I can tell you this: "chaparral" is not a "green bush," it's a vegetation type.

ETA: What that means is that chaparral is a plant community.

Answer to the question--Bonanza I guess. Probably Little Joe

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quote:
Originally posted by TMats:
Sometimes it sucks to be a rangeland ecologist. I never saw the first episode of "High Chaparral," but I can tell you this: "chaparral" is not a "green bush," it's a vegetation type.

ETA: What that means is that chaparral is a plant community.

Answer to the question--Bonanza I guess. Probably Little Joe


Thanks, TMats. I don't know if the writers got that one right, but they made the typical western historical blunders throughout the series.

From what I've been able to determine, the series started around 1871, but everyone already had Colt Single Action Army revolvers. They visited the thriving little community of Tubac several times during the series, despite the fact that it was burned following the Seige of Tubac early in the Civil War, and wasn't repopulated until at least ten years after the events of the series. They visited the town of Tombstone, too, though Tombstone wasn't established until several years later. Like many westerns from the 50s or 60s, if the event took place within about 20 years of the series, that was close enough since the vast majority of people wouldn't have a clue about the discrepancy!


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Posts: 1250 | Location: Georgia | Registered: July 19, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It was one of my favorites and it had one of the best theme songs of the tv westerns.


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Posts: 1810 | Location: TX | Registered: October 08, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The High Chaparral was my favorite, and I still catch reruns today from time to time. It holds up very well. The cast was superb. From top to bottom, it had the best batch of actors on TV.

Plus, the fact that it was filmed on location in that heat and dust was always apparent. It was so much more real than other shows - notwithstanding the ubiquitous minor historical inaccuracies inherent in the genre.


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To this day, I still like to watch Bonanza and The Rifleman.



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I liked Heath on Big Valley.


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Originally posted by Chance:
I liked Heath on Big Valley.


I liked Heath best from the boys on The Big Valley, too, and then Lee Majors became Roy on The Men from Shiloh (the final season of The Virginian with the revised intro and theme song) after that.

I saw The Big Valley in reruns after school as a kid, so I think I missed or maybe just didn't understand Heath's little illegitimacy problem when he came to live with the Barkleys. I thought he and Nick just didn't get along very well. On seeing it as an adult, the early eps dealing with that made things make a LOT more sense.


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My favorite was Hoss on Bonanza. But I also liked Little Joe's impeccable hip shots.
 
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That's the western lawman discussion up after this one on family ranches runs its course. :-)

quote:
Originally posted by Bigboreshooter:


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Posts: 1250 | Location: Georgia | Registered: July 19, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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When I was a kid I really enjoyed The High Chaparral but I only saw it in reruns. It never lasted that long around here in reruns. I guess the Ponderosa on Bonanza was my favorite "ranch" but the Wild Wild West was my favorite western growing up. I can't watch wild Wild West these days it just doesn't hold up. A close second was Alias Smith and Jones. I still enjoy it.

In the last few years I've really started watching the Rifleman and Laramie. These days I would say I enjoy the Rifleman the most.
 
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The Big Valley is my favorite. Some of its episodes were mediocre, but it had the most likable characters.



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