This month on The High Chaparral:


I was hoping if you might be able to help me find or have knowledge if a "floor plan" exists of the ranch house. The main level and then the bedroom level upstairs. I've always loved this house and its beautiful layout and architecture.

The ranch house that still stands on the location set at Old Tucson was built for exterior shots only, so the inside is empty.  According to Kent McCray, producer for The High Chaparral, "The Art Director on Bonanza, Earl Hedrick, designed and built the exterior of The High Chaparral at Old Tucson. All of Earl Hedrick's plans were destroyed and are non existent."

All of the familiar rooms and decorations we've all come to expect from the episodes were shot on various soundstages. "The interior set was on the stage at Paramount Studios.  Later when we left Paramount for Warner Brothers Studios, a new interior set was built on our Warner Brothers stage.  Bob Shelton (ed.  note: owner/originator of Old Tucson Studios) purchased the interior set at Paramount and put it on the Old Tucson stage," Kent said.

The logistics of the actual floor plan is another piece of Hollywood sleight of hand, because if you take the layout apart carefully, using the evidence shown in the TV show, you'll find that it's impossible to reconcile what's shown with what is physically possible.  We all know there is a second floor to the house, containing various bedrooms.  But if you look carefully, you'll see that the steps only allow for about a half floor, yet there's John's office, the kitchen, and also some other unseen rooms behind the main living room that must fit underneath the second floor.  In various episodes John and Victoria's bedroom seems to be either on the second floor or on the ground level – or maybe they move back and forth for variety. The High Chaparral website provides an excellent explanation and estimated layout of the floor plan, as well as screen shots from the series detailing the rooms.

One High Chaparral fan dealt with all these issues (and many more) when he decided to build a true to life replica of the ranch house set.  Ronnie Rubino's home  is so exactly like the High Chaparral that it's startling to be inside it.   Having had the pleasure of visiting Ronnie's house, I can tell you The High Chaparral ranch house is a comfortable, lovely place, and would have been a very impressive house in 1870's Arizona.  It's certainly a beautiful home today.

Because the ranch itself was actually a major character in the series, various legendary stores have built up around its creation and history.  Occasionally you may hear the design was based on the original Pete Kitchen ranch house, that there was already a building on the Old Tucson lot which the HC crew remodeled, or that the ranch set changed between the pilot and the regular first season series.  About the Pete Kitchen theory, Kent McCray says, "I have no clue," but for the rest he can set the record straight, since he was there at the beginning and throughout every episode. "The ranch set never changed between the pilot and the first season, and there was not any building on the Old Tucson property before that."

High Chaparral ranch house from Pilot episode
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This video clip shows the first time the Cannons - and viewers - see The High Chaparral ranch house,
in the pilot episode Destination Tucson.

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High Chaparral episode Ghost of Chaparral
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This video clip from Ghost of Chaparral provides a good view of the entrance of the ranch house.
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Hello, my name is Sergio, currently in Guatemala and again I see the series the Grand Chaparral, a travez cable and gives me great  pleasure reminds me of my ñinez and good times. Here in Guatemala has always liked. I have some questions. My question is - what was the fate of the actors after starring THE GRAND CHAPARRAL. What happened to these players today?

Leif Erickson (John Cannon) died on January 29, 1986 from cancer. Cameron Mitchell (Buck Cannon) died on July 6, 1994 of lung cancer. Henry Darrow (Manolito Montoya) is alive and living in North Carolina. He is still acting and just attended the premier of Primo, a movie he appeared in. Linda Cristal (Victoria Cannon) is retired from acting and lives at her home in Beverly Hills, California. Mark Slade (Blue Cannon) is an artist, you can see his work on his website. Bob Hoy (Joe Butler) is healthy and active, and attends many fan events every year.  He had an appearance in NCIS this past year. Don Collier (Sam Butler) is active, still does voiceover work, and acts. He is the new Arbuckles Coffee CowboyTed Markland (Reno) lives in Joshua Tree, California, and is still acting.  Rudy Ramos (Wind) continues to act after a successful career, and is passionate about music and horses.

Boletín El Gran Chaparral en Español

The timeless and universal appeal of The High Chaparral was proven yet again when the show was rebroadcast in South America. As new fans discovered the show and older fans reconnected, the need for a Spanish language based source of information continued to grow. In order to answer the questions and emails of Latino fans, a Spanish translation of the Newsletter is now available.

Luisa watches High Chaparral

Luisa watches The High Chaparral
from her home in Chile, as her family helps translate articles about the show into Spanish for fans around the world.

Providing the translations is a labor of love for High Chaparral fans Plinio Orellana, his wife Luisa, brother Sergio, and brother-in-law Alfredo. Plinio and his family all plan to attend the 2009 High Chaparral Reunion in Tucson.  The October date has special significance, since it will be Plinio's 42nd birthday.  "A great man named John  Cannon once said, 'I have a dream', and mine is to manage to be in Tucson in October of 2009. If God wills it, I'll be living my own Destination Tucson, from Chile," he said.  

Like all fans, the Orellana family loves every HC episode, although Henry Darrow has a special place in their hearts.  "In general, I prefer those in which Manolito stands out, because I feel very identified with the values he displays. Since what he often shows are very similar to those of all customs agents like myself (the uniformed Chilean police), such as loyalty, values, comradeship, meeting the test, and a permanent sense of humor – he's my hero!"

Reunion Update

The 2009 High Chaparral Reunion:
Destination Tucson

October 16-17-18, 2009 in Tucson, AZ

Buck Blue John Cannon High ChaparralPlanning is continuing for The High Chaparral Reunion 2009: Destination Tucson. Mark October 16-17-18, 2009 on your calendar and plan to attend this very special event.  There are still many details to be worked out, so we'll let you know as soon as plans are finalized. 

We're negotiating with venues, arranging transportation options, talking to caterers, and in general working hard to arrange the many details that go into planning a large event at the best value for everyone.   We know you're interested in all the details, so to give you a hint of what to expect at this exceptional weekend, here's a list of some of the activities.   Keep in mind all plans are subject to modification.

Vintage Article Reprint. This article is a reprint from around the time of the 3rd season. The photo quality is poor, since the original images were not in color and have deteriorated over time.

Location Desert

Mark Slade, High Chaparral vintage reprint article

Tucson, Arizona.

Mad dogs and Englishmen stay out in the midday sun. Not true! For ‘Englishmen’ read N.B.C. film stars, here making High Chaparral, and myself – for Mark Slade had invited me to watch the action in this beautiful, but hot, cowboy film resort.

Mark was not doing a lot in this episode so he was able to take me to see Old Tucson on my arrival. It should be here explained that Tucson is a thriving, but strictly twentieth-century city. Old Tucson is a village twelve miles into the desert which has been restored very authentically by the movie industry.
Mark just loves the old West and he told me as we drove through rocky hills and cacti of how he’d just visited Tombstone.

“My wife had to drag me away from the old diaries and expense accounts of Wyatt Earp that were all there in the museum. I was really fascinated.”

We walked around the village, which is also a tourist attraction, and finished up on the threshold of High Chaparral. I remarked how hot it was.

“Man,” said Mark. “Man, this is a real nice cool day. It’s only eighty-five!”
The next day I was to learn what he meant.

Henry Darrow as Manolito MontoyaI arose at 6 am, just like Henry Darrow. This was the day I realized that being a movie actor is 75 per cent UNGLAMOROUS AND VERY HARD WORK!

The conditions worked in were worse than anything I’ve experienced. As the heat bore up, the action moved from the desert into Old Tucson to the High Chaparral Home, but it’s only exterior shots of course.

It was a hundred and twenty in the shade.

Nearl all the menfolk of High Chaparral were there, Leif Erickson was soon joined by Cameron Mitchell, and the heat got hotter. So beat if in mind, Henry Darrow is the principal in this episode, and has been before the cameras more than anyone. Every day for two weeks he has risen at 6 am, and finished at 6 pm.

What’s so glam about that then?

The crowds visiting Old Tucson are held back some distance but still they stand and watch until some of them start to faint.

Cameron Mitchell told me: “They are not used to this sun. They are so keen to see us that they forget. They’re not even dressed properly. Every weekend during the summer season there’s an average of twenty-five people who collapse as they watch” Cameron told me how they fought the heat. They have tablets with salt and vitamins, ice water and tea are always on hand, one must stay out of the sun at all times until necessary and always wear a hat.

I felt giddy. Mark Slade soaked a cloth in ice water and put it around my neck and I recovered.

High Chaparral Henry Darrow Mark SladeLuckily this was the last day of shooting  so we finished in the afternoon. We all headed back to the Hilton Hotel and dived into drinks and the beautiful pool there.

As we flew back Henry Darrow told me: No one knows the conditions that the actors and crews work under here. If you thought this was hot today it was nothing. The hot season is in July just when we are into the height of the series. Last year on one day it was one hundred and thirty in the shade. One of the crew stuck  a thermometer in the soil and it read ONE HUNDRED AND SITY NINE! Many of us went under that day.”

All I could say was PHEW!



High Chaparral Leif Erickson, Mark Slade, Cameron Mitchell

West of the Story with Don CollierWest of the Story

Did you ever wonder what the REAL story was about the OK Corral, the Bisbeen massacre, or Wyatt Earp?  Get the West of the Story from Duke Hardaway and Dusty Clark in the new CD release, available beginning October 1 at selected Walmarts in Arizona.

Don Collier (HC's  Sam Butler) provides his rich vocal  talents as Duke Hardway, a character about whom, according to the website, Kit Carson once remarked, "Duke Hardaway wasn't born in the saddle, he just looks like he was."

Arizona fans should  check their local Walmarts for either the single CD's or the 4-pack set, which comes  with a bonus poster of Don.  If sales are encouraging, Walmart will  pick up the series nationally, a well-deserved recognition for Chaparral's favorite ranch foreman.

Listen to sample soundclips on the website, and if you're not in Arizona, you can still get the West of the Story online.

Susan McCray and Getting to Know You

Susan McCray has a new blog with regular news and updates, so visit, read, and leave a question or comments. 

Getting to Know You with Susan McCray continues to feature interesting and fun interviews, including: Shecky Greene - Bob Hope called him ‘the comedian’s comedian’, Jerry Lewis called him ‘the epitome of comic genius’. Actor/Producer Richard Anderson, Emmy nominated for his role as Oscar Goldman on The Six Million Dollar Man. Many other fascinating, famous, and talented people, so check out the list on Susan's website, and listen to Getting to Know You on, Tuesday evenings, 6:30 pm Pacific and 9:30 pm Eastern.

Happy Birthday!

Henry Darrow as Manolito Montoya

Henry Darrow September 15



Rudy Ramos, Wind on High Chaparral

Rudy Ramos, September 19

Don Collier as Sam Butler

Don Collier, October 17


Memorial Birthdays:

Leif Erickson as Big John Cannon

Leif Erickson, October 27

Frank Silvera as Don Sebastian Montoya
Frank Silvera (Don Sebastian Montoya) July 24

Rudy Acosta
Rudolpho Acosta (Vaquero) July 29

Gilbert Roland as Don Domingo Montoya
Gilbert Roland (Don Domingo Montoya) August 11

Questions, comments, feedback? Email us at

We Get Letters

This month's Letters to the Editor brings comments and questions. Do you have a question about The High Chaparral, the cast, or anything connected with the show? Have a comment on the newsletter or something you'd like to see covered? Send it to, and we'll do our best to get the answer for you.

Cast Appearances & Events

Bob Hoy and Neil Summers, Western Legends Celebration, August 20-23, Kanab, UT

Don Collier, Bob Hoy, Wild Western Festival, September 26-28, Avondale, AZ

Bob, Don Collier, Rudy Ramos and Ted Markland, Rex Allen Days, October 2-5, Willcox, AZ

Henry Darrow and Don Collier, Memphis Film Festival, June 4-6, 2009, Olive Branch, MS

Past issues of the newsletter are available
on The High Chaparral Newsletter Website.

High Chaparral, Cameron Mitchell as Buck Cannon, Mark Slade as Blue Cannon, Leif Erickson as Big John Cannon

High Chaparral on the Web

The Official High Chaparral website
The High Chaparral Blog
The High Chaparral Reunion website
The High Chaparral Newsletter
High Chaparral Fan Fiction
Don Collier
Henry Darrow
Bob Hoy
Ted Markland
Susan McCray
Rudy Ramos
Mark Slade
Out West Entertainment