It's been a busy month for all The High Chaparral folks, so catch up on what's happening at the ranch in this edition of the newsletter:

Susan McCray

Susan Sukman McCray, one of the many big fans of The High Chaparral

Special Thank You
For Special Fans
From Susan McCray

Susan Sukman McCray,Vice-President of Talent for Michael Landon Productions, worked in casting on The High Chaparral, Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven, and a long list of other classic TV shows. Along with her husband, Production Manager Kent McCray, Susan sends a heartfelt thank you to all those very special fans who generously are helping sponsor The High Chaparral Reunion!

Listen to Susan's "Thank You" message, and you'll also hear some intriguing hints about the Reunion in October.



Susan Sukman McCray message
Click to listen to a special message from Susan McCray



Great Memories
Can Be Yours Too

by Rusty LaGrange

Susan McCray

Fan Rusty LaGrange

I must admit, I’ve been to each and every High Chaparral Reunion, and even a few small fan parties we’ve held prior to the large organized Reunions. Each one is just like the first. I’ll never forget the first encounter and my first Autograph Show in Tucson in 1999. We were a small group of six fans but we were there in spirit for all of the hundreds of new members that followed. The excitement of meeting a childhood star is breathtaking… and it lives within you forever.

Now let’s image that you won’t be able to make the great pilgrimage to Tucson this year, and you’re a bit bummed out by all the talk and excitement. You know you want to wish the best for the other members of HCDG and their guests who are lucky enough to go… but just the same, you wish it were you.

Hold on!

There is a way that you can bask in the light of the event of a lifetime. No matter where you are, you can be a part of it all. Why not receive the taste of the event by supporting those who are working to make the reunion a spectacular show. In return for your small investment, you’ll receive:

As you can see, we have some great gifts and grand challenges ahead. Your sponsorship will help to cover many of our costs for different portions of the event throughout the three day program.

Oh, I almost forgot. If you send in your sponsorship and make arrangements with one of the fans, you might have a live cell phone conversation with an HC celebrity. This won’t be guaranteed, but I know we’ll make an extra effort to get you a few moments of talk time.

So is this a package deal or what? Just send $40, $50, $100 or more if you can help, and get all the bonuses coming right to your home. For information on how to send sponsorship money, check out the details from Penny in this newsletter.


Rudy Ramos

Actor Rudy Ramos appeared in The High Chaparral as Wind

Rudy Ramos
Reunion Thoughts

Rudy Ramos (High Chaparral's Wind) received his invitation to the The High Chaparral Reunion and responded with a message for fans.

"I am looking forward to the reunion," he said, "and seeing Old Tucson where it all began for me. Good memories."

Visit Rudy's website at, and while you're there be sure to check out the Reels section for great clips of his work.



High Chaparral Ranch Set at Old TucsonHome is Where the Heart Is

by Tanja Konstantaki

I was nine when the Cannons, the Montoyas and the bunkhouse boys first rode into our living room. It was magic, from the very first moment I was enchanted by the series. Arizona became my dream world and the ranch my home.

When I planned to attend the reunion in 2007 I just knew I would have to visit the ranch in Old Tucson as well, so after the reunion a small group of enthusiastic fans crossed the desert and headed for the Cannon Ranch. Although I had seen the landscape a thousand times on TV (and in my dreams) nothing could have prepared me for the breathtaking view of slopes covered with saguaros against a clear blue sky.

It was the country we had traveled over a thousand miles to see, just as the Cannon family had.

When we neared Old Tucson I braced myself, after all I’m a ‘two-feet-on-the-ground’ woman and things are not always what they seem on TV. We walked up to the ranch, and my heart skipped a beat. I was nine again. This was the house I had dreamed of so often when I was little. It was real. It felt like coming home. I could not help myself and tears were trickling down my cheeks. It felt like the High Chaparral, the heat, the dust, the whinnying of the horses. Any time Reno would shout “Riders coming” and Buck and Blue would come riding in after a hard day’s work.

High Chaparral Ranch House at Old Tucson

Side view of the Cannon Ranch House
Photo by Tanja Konstantaki

One of the best things is that I was able to share this with kindred souls. Imagine what it will be like this year, when a large group of fans are going to visit the Old Tucson set together!

Register today for The High Chaparral Reunion, October 16-18, Tucson, AZ.




Authorized Henry Darrow Biography Under Way

by Jan Pippins

Henry Darrow Biography Lightning in a BottleHenry Darrow's upcoming biography Lightning in a Bottle is the intimate portrait of a professional performer, a slice of show-business history, a short-course on acting technique and a lesson in surviving Hollywood fame. It is a joint project. Darrow’s ongoing involvement ensures the book’s accuracy and infuses it with his own distinctive spark.

Best known for his portrayal of sexy, complex Manolito Montoya in The High Chaparral, Darrow has been a working actor for over fifty years. He considers himself primarily a character actor, but his stage and screen career spans dramas, comedies, musicals, romances and adventures, encompassing bit-parts and award-winning performances. His talent, charisma, integrity and intense dedication to his craft have sustained him in a profession not known for longevity.

One of the first Hispanic actors to achieve prominence in non-stereotypical roles, he opened doors for those who came later through both his career and as one of the founding members of Nosotros, an organization devoted to enhancing opportunities for Hispanics in the performing arts. He has been a mentor, teacher, inspiration and friend to countless actors and actresses.

Loved as a person and performer, respected for his absolute professionalism, Darrow is a biographer’s dream. He has a phenomenal memory for detail, an extensive memorabilia collection and friends and family happy to talk about him.

Henry Darrow Biography Lightning in a Bottle

The many faces of Henry Darrow

Although Darrow is the star, his biography includes interviews and anecdotes from many contributors: director Raymond Austin, boxing promoter Al Bernstein, actress/comedienne Ruth Buzzi, writer Harry Cason, actor Don Collier, actress Linda Cristal, Darrow’s brother Dennis Delgado and cousin Solange Delgado, actress Marie Gomez, actor John Hertzler, university professor Robert Jacobs, screenwriter Richard Leder, actor Denis Lehane, Darrow’s wife actress Lauren Levian, director Lee Lowrimore, actress Patrice Martinez, producer Kent McCray, casting director/radio host Susan McCray, director Francisco Menendez, actor Denny Miller, actor Dan Morris, actor/aviation industry entrepreneur Eric Paisley, actor Rudy Ramos, director Dorothy Rankin, publicist/writer Luis Reyes, journalist/poet Miluka Rivera, actress Sally Struthers, actor James Victor and actor Morgan Woodward.

Interviews are still being conducted. Anyone with recollections to share about Henry Darrow, please contact author Jan Pippins at For updates on progress and publication, visit our website designed by Penny McQueen:

He was everything a director could ever possibly want. I call him ‘lightning in the bottle’ because he would show up ready to go. Take one, he’s great!
~Francisco Menendez

It’s my passion. I’m there to do my best. Rehearsals are a step back, because I’ll be well-prepared and other people won’t be. I research the part. I have all of my dialogue memorized, then work in my interpretation, my own personality, where it works and where it doesn’t. Somebody says it’s not competitive and I say, oh yes it is! Be ready, guys!
~ Henry Darrow

When Henry Darrow came onto the set, it was like the sun came up.
~Linda Cristal

© Henry Darrow and Jan Pippins 2009. All rights reserved.

Costume Contest

Fan Vickie Harvey in her classic black costume


Fan Costumes

Check out the results of our Fan Costume Contest - we have some very creative fans out there!

If you didn't email your photo, send it in, we want to hear from you! Send your fan photo to








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Victoria's Lady
by W. St. Germain

I recently enjoyed the Our Lady of Guadalupe episode of The High Chaparral and it got me thinking (again). For those of you who might’ve forgotten what happens, in a nutshell, we see the late, great Ricardo Montalbán playing Father Sanchez, a poor but kind hearted priest whose parish is in Casa Cueva, Mexico. In an attempt to raise money to distribute among his parishioners, Father Sanchez calls for donations to help with his search for a missing religious icon. The icon is a statue of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is called ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’.

Father Sanchez tells everyone that the huge sum of 8,000 pesos will recover the statue, assuming no one will ever be able to raise this amount. Since his parishioners are less willing to give more than necessary to their local ‘charitable’ needs, yet nothing was too much to ask for the recovery of the icon, this was how the kind priest collected money for the poor. Father Sanchez thought he was onto a good thing. The donations provided a steady supply of cash to help those in need. So long as the imaginary statue was never found, he could continue helping others. It was a clever idea, if somewhat dishonest. Then he hit a snag.

When the devout Victoria asks John for the 8,000 pesos Father Sanchez claims will recover the statue, and John agrees to pay it, the priest is left in a rather awkward position. He must now find someone to make a statue. He prays for help and God, being the sort of God who wants his children to learn from their mistakes, leaves the priest to sort out the mess he made, himself.  There is an interesting scene here as Father Sanchez looks up at the full moon while he prays. We get God’s ‘answer’ in the form of a dark cloud moving to obscure the silvery light of the moon. Without a single word, we know that he’s on his own – or so we think.

The icon is supposedly made of gold and covered in precious jewels, something that would be hard to replicate, so it was doubly inconvenient to have the money provided. The purchase of a fake statue leads to a whole chain of events that show God’s hand in some of what happened. The good father was not alone after all. I tip my hat to the writers of this episode. It’s beautifully done. Full details can be found in the episode guide on The High Chaparral Website so I will move on to the things I wondered about.

To begin with, Father Sanchez’s parish is in Casa Cueva. I wondered. Is it a real place? If so, what does the name Casa Cueva mean in English? You must remember that my training resulted in my having to look up many old Latin words in order to better understand what my science books were trying to drum into my head. A by product of this routine is that I’ve now become rather hooked on wanting to know what any interesting, non-English word might mean. So we’ll start there. Yes, it is a real place and Casa Cueva translates to house cave. How intriguing! I wondered if this meant that people lived in such homes and sure enough they do. Much like the cozy hobbit holes of Lord of the Rings, I searched the internet and found some gorgeous images of homes built into the sides of hills and the like. No danger of a roof blowing off in a big wind for those home owners.

My next question related to the icon itself. Victoria is an intelligent and what I’d call, ‘deep’ woman. There is certainly nothing frivolous about her. The importance she placed on the statue interested me. I wanted to know why that particular icon mattered so much to her. I am aware that Catholics revere many icons of Mary, each with a name and story behind them so my first query was, is there really a Lady of Guadalupe or was she invented for the episode? If so, what’s the history of this icon?

It turns out there is a ‘Lady’ and a most interesting tale is behind the icon. Clearly, Victoria already knew what I was about to discover. It dates back to 1531. Throughout history, there have been many stories of apparitions of Mary, the mother of Jesus. In this one she appeared before a humble Mexican peasant named Juan Diego (1474-1548). She appeared as an Aztec Princess and spoke Juan’s native language to him. On 9 December 1531, Juan Diego was walking home when he encountered a beautiful, young girl surrounded by an unnatural light. She asked that Juan tell the local bishop, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, that she wished for a church to be built in her honor. Juan recognized her as the mother of Jesus and went to the bishop. Understandably, the bishop wanted some kind of proof of the existence of this mysterious heavenly visitor. Knowing that no flowers could be found at that time of year, he told Juan to go to the top of Tepeyac Hill and bring him some. If he could do this, it would be a miracle and he would believe.

Juan found roses growing on the hill and collected them. He put the flowers in his tilma (or tilmàtli) a cloak-like garment and returned to the bishop. To the bishop’s astonishment, not only did Juan return with flowers, but with Castilian roses. Castilian roses were not native to the area but were native to the bishop’s homeland. He took this as a sign that the young lady knew exactly who she was dealing with and that she expected her request to be granted. Even more astounding, when Juan poured the roses out before the bishop, a miraculous image of the lady appeared on his tilma. 

The Mexicans call her la Morenita, which roughly translates to, ‘the little dark one’ or ‘the young dark complexioned one.’ This describes how she looked when she appeared. Juan Diego’s story would have meant a lot to Victoria as it would to other Mexicans. You must remember that HC took place at a time in history when many white settlers looked down on Mexicans (and Indians). Juan’s experience was proof to Victoria that God loved her people so much that he sent ‘The Queen of Heaven’ to visit them. In other words, they had just as much worth to him as other races. It’s no wonder this particular image was so important to her.

The feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most important dates on the Mexican calendar. It falls on 12 December since the apparitions were recorded as taking place between 9-12 December. Festivals occur all around the country and no doubt Victoria would’ve partaken in them as well. A magnificent Basílica de Guadalupe is built in honor of this event. The miraculous image of la Virgen Morena is kept at the basilica. This is the image that appeared on Juan’s tilma. Juan Diego was canonized in 2002, making him America’s first indigenous saint.

I now understand why Father Sanchez’s call for funding led Victoria to ask John for the money. I also understand why his Mexican parishioners were so willing to donate to this cause. However even the aristocratic Victoria, who was used to fine things, was astonished at the 8,000 peso price. Naturally I wondered how much this was. At the time of writing this article, 8,000 pesos translated to about US $605. My research indicated that during HC’s time, a loaf of bread cost two cents. That would buy 30,250 loaves. No wonder Victoria was aghast. If you’ll excuse the pun, that’s a lot of bread!

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What is Victoria's full name? I think Manolito uses it in an episode.


Victoria Velasquez de Soto de Montoya is how she is introduced by Mano in the pilot episode, but the experts among us actually agreed it was more properly "Victoria (one middle name at least) de Montoya y Velasquez de Soto" and once she married John it would be "Victoria (one middle name at least) de Montoya y Velasquez de Soto de Cannon".
-Gail A. Malchester

Sweet Maureen O'Hare

Manolito introduces Victoria with her full name - and as his 'Old Maid Sister'
in this scene from The Arrangement

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I'm new here - what exactly is the Reunion?


Thanks for asking! The High Chaparral Reunion is a gathering of the original cast and crew members of the show, along with loyal fans. It's a chance for fans of HC to meet the talented people who made their favorite Western, reminisce, meet other fans, and maybe even meet their very favorite star.

Cast and crew members enjoy the Reunion because it gives them a chance to meet the fans who remember their work. They also see their old friends, and reminisce about the show. They truly are The High Chaparral's biggest fans!

Past Reunions have been held in Los Angeles, but his year it takes place at Old Tucson, where the show was filmed on location. Luckily for us, the original Canon ranch house is still standing on the actual location set. A few things have changed in over 40 years, but many things haven't, so this is a unique opportunity for everyone.

For more information check out the Reunion website, or email with your questions.

Why do cactus have needles/spikes?


Firstly they're called spines. They're modified leaves - so modified that they actually have little in common with leaves. They appear in clusters and have more than one use. They're mostly made up of dead cells that form hard, sharp fibres. The fibres are surrounded by a type of tissue-like cell and covered by a waxy cuticle which keeps moisture from escaping. Some books call them modified bud scales but I believe that bud scales are themselves modified leaves.

Only the cells closest to the plant itself are alive. As they die, they move along with the rest, making the spine longer over time. You might think of them a bit like we think of finger nails and hair being dead cells but still able to grow.

The first and very practical use is that it makes them difficult for predators to eat. A mouth full of pins is enough to put anything off a meal. Having said that some species of rodents and other small animals do nibble on them when they can.

The second reason is that their positioning helps them to collect water droplets. The droplets run along the spine, down toward the body of the plant, then down to the roots. The nighttime dew is an important source of water and is collected this way.

Spines also act as windbreaks. This is less obvious in some species but if you've ever seen the species commonly called The Old Man Cactus you could see how well they'd work. That one looks like it's covered in a long beard. It's scientific name is Cephalocereus senilis. I love the last bit of the name. Can't you just picture the old cactus reminiscing with itself about the good old days when it was no more than pin high?

By the way, the cactus gets its name from the Greek kaktos which means thistle.

There, now aren't you glad you asked!


Ever wonder about a nature-related question in Arizona? What happened backstage or in casting? Send us YOUR questions! If we don't know the answer we'll ask the right Chaparral contact and find out for you! Email with your puzzler.

Destination Tucson: The High Chaparral
Reunion 2009

$225 for the 3 day package  

Costs increase on July 1 to $300
(other costs increase too - so book today!)

Register today for The High Chaparral Reunion, October 16-18, Tucson, AZ.

Questions? Email

Henry Darrow at reunion with fans

Guests at the 2005 High Chaparral Reunion


Reunion Sponsors - THANK YOU

Thank you to the very special, generous folks who are helping sponsor the reunion and bring the HC family home to Tucson!

Susan McCray
Getting To Know You with Susan McCray 

Don Collier and Arbuckles Coffee

Arbuckle Coffee is a proud sponsor of The High Chaparral Reunion. Don Collier is their spokesman and the official Arbuckle Cowboy. Try a good cup of Arbuckles, the Coffee That Won the West.

Copper Kettle Popcorn

Copper Kettle Popcorn & Confections

Old Tucson Studios

Old Tucson Studios

Do you have a favorite piece of memorabilia, or an article you'd like to share with other fans? Send it to, and we'll do our best to add it to a future newsletter.

We Get Letters

This month's Letters to the Editor includes email from YOU, the newsletter subscriber. 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.

Search past editions of the newsletter by topic on the Newsletter Blog.
Selected translation in Spanish available on the Spanish Newsletter Blog, El Gran Chaparral Noticias.

Cast Appearances & Events

Henry Darrow, Don Collier, Denny Miller. Linda Cristal is scheduled to participate in a panel discussion by phone. Memphis Film Festival, June 4-6, 2009, Olive Branch, MS

Henry Darrow, Don Collier, Bob Hoy, Ted Markland, Rudy Ramos, Susan McCray, Kent McCray, and more. The High Chaparral Reunion, October 16-18, Tucson, AZ.

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
The High Chaparral Newsletter - searchable articles
El Gran Chaparral Noticias

High Chaparral Fan Fiction
High Chaparral Dutch Fan Site
Don Collier
Henry Darrow
The Henry Darrow Biography, Lightning in a Bottle
Bob Hoy
Ted Markland
Susan McCray
Rudy Ramos
Mark Slade
Out West Entertainment (by Jordan Wexler and Linda Cristal)