In this issue of The High Chaparral newsletter: Reunion Recap!

Reunion Photos

Several fans have made their Reunion photos available - check these links:

Penny McQueen's reunion photos

Chris Casey's reunion photos

Ginger Kullman's reunion photos

Do you have Reunion photos to share? Email us at and we'll list your link in the next newsletter.

Rudy Ramos Movie Mr. Sadman Screens,
Available for Viewing

Mr. Sadman, a comedy/satire movie feature film with Rudy Ramos in the role of Juan Carlos, is now available online as a paid digital download on Set in 1990, the storyline follows a Saddam Hussein body-double who loses his job, then moves to Los Angeles in search of a new start.

Starting on Friday, November 20th, 2009, Mr. Sadman screens for a week at the Downtown Independent Theater in downtown LA. Check out these event pages for info about the screening:

Mr. Sadman was accepted to this year’s IFP Narrative Lab and according to Rudy, “The film is a unique script written and directed by a very young film maker. The part of Juan Carlos is probably the best film role I have ever had and I am not the bad guy this time. It is a real joy for me to be playing the kind of part that has never been offered to me.”

If you haven’t checked out the trailer to Mr. Sadman, the comedy/satire feature film, then you’re missing a chance to see the recent work of Rudy Ramos in the part of Juan Carlos.

Mr Sadman Trailer

Rudy Ramos in the trailer for Mr. Sadman


The High Chaparral Reunion: Friday

By Penny McQueen

San Xavier

Rusty provided hand-made leather name tags

Friday, October 16, 2009 marked the official beginning of The High Chaparral Reunion weekend at La Posada. At 9:00 am the first fans arrived for registration and received their custom leather name tags, hand crated by Rusty. The tags were a big hit with fans and cast, and Sponsors and the Posse – those who helped work on the reunion – had their own special tag.

Fans picked up a wonderful gift bag from Susan McCray, containing a High Chaparral 2009 Reunion coffee mug, a CD of High Chaparral music (with the Theme from High Chaparral and Harry Sukman’s High Chaparral Suite), a cast photo to collect autographs, and a photo button of the ranch house to wear. The large white gift/tote bag even had a photo of the ranch house!

Arbuckle's Coffee generously provided gifts of a coffee mug, a pack of the coffee that won the west, peppermint stick, and history of Arbuckle Coffee. Don Collier is Arbuckle’s official cowboy spokesperson, you can listen to Don on their website.

High Chaparral Reunion 09 Friday Panel

Henry Darrow, Denny Allen, Bob Shelton, Susan McCray, Kent McCray, Don Collier and Rudy Ramos at the Friday Discussion Panel. photo by Chris Casey.

While people met and got acquainted, they perused the weekend schedule, watched an episode on the large screen, shopped auction items, and read a history of David Dortort provided by Andy Klyde. Sponsors admired their own souvenir copy of The High Chaparral Reunion 2009 invitation with artwork by Patty Schantz.

Bids were made immediately at the silent auction table, especially on two hotly contested goodies – Patty’s beautiful large prints of John and Victoria, and Buck and Blue. Other heavy hitters were The High Chaparral Songbook, Annual, and HC paperback books.

After lunch at Miguel’s at La Posada we resumed with a two hour panel discussion featuring Henry Darrow, Rudy Ramos, Don Collier, Kent and Susan McCray, Bob Shelton and head wrangler Denny Allen.

Reunion 09 Panel

Henry Darrow (center) reacts to a story by Don Collier (left) as Rudy Ramos (right) listens,
during the Friday panel discussion.
photo by Penny McQueen.

Jan Pippins, Susan McCray and Penny McQueen at The High Chaparral Reunion 2009

Jan Pippins and Susan McCray present Penny McQueen with a plaque at The High Chaparral Reunion Sponsor's Dinner. photo by Crystal Hudson.

At the 7 pm Sponsor’s Dinner, Penny McQueen, reunion organizer, recognized the Sponsors, whose generous contributions made it possible to bring The High Chaparral home to Tucson. Announcing ‘dinner is served’ she was interrupted by Kent and Susan McCray and Jan Pippins, who had an announcement of their own – presenting her with a lovely recognition plaque from the cast, crew and fans of The High Chaparral. It reads, “With Appreciation To Penny McQueen From the Cast Crew and Fans of The High Chaparral for your love, devotion and hard work in making the 2009 Reunion a special event for us all.” When Penny began to thank everyone, Big Daddy Kent McCray shushed her as he wasn’t quite finished speaking, proving once again he is still definitely The Boss when it comes to all things Chaparral! Dinner was followed by Arbuckle coffee and cookies, then high quality, uncut High Chaparral episodes provided by Andy Klyde.

For the complete panel discussion and coverage of the entire day at Old Tucson, get your copy of The High Chaparral Reunion 2009 DVD.


Henry Darrow and Rudy Ramos

Henry Darrow and Rudy Ramos at the Friday panel Discussion. Photo by Patty Schantz


Messages and Notes

Ann Erickson at the 2007 High Chaparral Reunion

Ann Erickson, wife of Leif Erickson, at the 2007 Reunion

Although she was unable to attend the reunion, Ann Erickson, wife of Leif Erickson (John Cannon) sent a special message to all High Chaparral fans.

"Hello to all The High Chaparral gang. This is Ann Erickson wishing I could be there to enjoy the Reunion celebration and the memories with all of you. I know it’s wonderful being back in Old Tucson! What many great memories there are!

B.J. (our grandson) enjoys, as many do, the priceless reruns of High Chaparral. He would be there with you, but is currently working on a film in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as a steady cam operator. Film must be in his blood. Thank you for including me in this 42nd reunion.”

~Ann Erickson.


Reunion DVD Available

Experience The High Chaparral Reunion 2009 for yourself, with over two hours of the day at Old Tucson on this special Reunion DVD including:

$25 plus shipping/handling. Payments are processed securely via Paypal. Order here.


The High Chaparral Reunion: Saturday

Kent McCray at The High Chaparral set

Kent McCray talks to fans at The High Chaparral set.
Photo by Patty Schantz.

Destination Tucson 2009

By Penny McQueen

"This is the country we came over a thousand miles to see.”
~John Cannon, Destination Tucson, The High Chaparral pilot

Kent McCray, production manager/producer of The High Chaparral, began the day Saturday, November 17, 2009, early by taping footage for a special souvenir DVD. One of the most unintentionally comic moments of the day was provided by the guard at the employee gate, who innocently asked Kent – who personally chose Old Tucson for the location shoots and handled daily production at the site for over 4 years, “Have you ever been here before and are you familiar with Old Tucson? Do you know how to find The High Chaparral set?” As Kent answered with a firm, “Yes!” and the other occupants of the car snickered, the bemused guard waved in HC’s Big Daddy, back to The High Chaparral.

Standing in front of one of the remaining original adobe buildings at Old Tucson, taping footage for the DVD, Kent said, “We filmed a lot of shows here, our main ranch is here at Old Tucson, we filmed in the streets, the Mexican square. A lot of times some of the smaller interior sets were here. This was our home away from home when we left Los Angeles. 65% of parts of the shows were filmed here in Arizona.”

Henry Darrow at The High Chaparral ranch set

Henry Darrow signs autographs on Saturday morning. photo by Ginger Kullman

Don Collier, waiting for the fans to arrive, laughed, “We’re waiting here for the Reunion to start – all we’re going to do is eat and drink! We’re not going to kill any Indians or shoot any Producers, that’s all we’re doing today.” Describing the morning’s planned activity Don said, “We’re going to greet the people, sign some pictures and tell a few stories. We’re all here, and the rest of the folks are here in spirit I think.” As the cast members walked the familiar set, looked at their own photos, touched the porch poles and ran hands along the divider, they told stories and expressed thanks for the fans who’d brought them home to Tucson.

And once the entrance gate opened, that’s exactly what happened at the Cannon ranch house. Fans streamed through the gate and swarmed the location set, quickly filling the house and spilling over onto the porch and yard. Local extras, stuntmen and actors from Tucson who worked on the show came to reconnect with their colleagues and meet fans, telling their own backstage stories and adding to the excitement.

Fans arriving at The High Chaparral

Fans arriving at the ranch. photo by Ginger Kullman

Reunion organizer Penny McQueen was pleased with the turnout, noting, “We had people attend the full weekend from all over the world, and great turnout at the gate from local Tusconians. So many people here were impacted by the show and remember it, my phone has been ringing off the hook. Not bad for a forty-two year old TV show.”

The original buckboard used in the series was at the ranch compound, along with a special sign board of cast photos. The buckboard, on loan from a western museum, is on display at Old Tucson until January, and was obtained specially for the Reunion.

The stars – Henry Darrow, Don Collier, Ted Markland, and Rudy Ramos – set up for photos and autographs inside the ranch house at tables, and business was brisk. It was difficult to tell who had a better time, the fans or stars. “Marvelous,” said Rudy Ramos, whose career began with his breakout role in the 4th season of the show. “It’s good to be back here and see so many fans.”

Susan McCray, Cyrstal Hudson, Penny McQueen at The High Chaparral

Susan McCray talks with fans Crystal Hudson and Penny McQueen on the porch of the Cannon ranch house. photo by Ginger Kullman

Don Collier agreed. “I always look forward to seeing my fans. It’s nice that people still remember the old series. If they have more reunions I’ll come. This is fun.”

Standing on the Chaparral porch and squinting into the bright sunshine, Rudy Ramos told a story about seeing his first horse fall stunt in that very yard. When doing a fall from a horse they dig a hole and fill it with sand, then the rider will into the sand to cushion the fall. On occasion they miss and on this particular stunt that’s what happened. Rudy said, stomping his foot, “The ground here is hard, almost like cement. When the stuntman fell, you could hear bones crunch. I thought he’d killed himself or was really hurt, but those stunt guys are so tough. He jumped up, brushed himself off and said, ‘Dammit, I missed. Let’s re-shoot it.’ And they did. I couldn’t believe it.”

Henry Darrow drew many who were determined to meet the famous heartthrob. Commenting first how energizing it was to meet dedicated fans and reconnect with friends from the show, he also quipped, “What I don’t like to see is that we’ve gotten older!” Darrow was delighted and stunned to meet the newest generation of fans at Old Tucson, 7 and 9 year old boys attending with their parents. The littlest fans became hooked watching Chaparral episodes on YouTube, proof the show has weathered the years and is still captivating an audience in the digital age.

Ted Markland at The High Chaparral

Ted Markland with his photos inside The High Chaparral ranch house. photo by Ginger Kullman

For many being at the actual location was an amazing day. Penny McQueen, kept busy with organizing reunion details said, “Between Old Tucson and the reunion folks it seemed like I was on call everywhere so they were zipping me around on a golf cart with someone saying, ‘take Penny to the ranch’ all morning. On one trip back to the set I suddenly realized, it really was THE ranch – The High Chaparral! Wow!”

After a private lunch at El Vaquero – with gifts of a custom made High Chaparral tote bag from Kola’s Screen Graphics of Tucson and a gift bag that included samples of popcorn from Copper Kettle Popcorn - the afternoon program at the Grand Palace Hotel and Saloon started with a slide show and music presentation. As it played on the big screen the cast members took the stage. For over an hour Kent McCray moderated questions from the audience as Henry, Don, Ted and Rudy answered.

Susan McCray, Cyrstal Hudson, Penny McQueen at The High Chaparral

Don Collier and Rudy Ramos with fan/webmaster Ginny inside
The High Chaparral ranch house. photo by Ginger Kullman

A very special highlight was a recorded message from Bob Hoy, made by Susan McCray. Bob sent his greetings to all the fans, cast and crew, saying he couldn’t make this reunion but would be at the next one. He recognized all his friends in attendance, and thanked the fans. Everyone gave Bob a standing ovation.

Saturday's festivities concluded with a Cowboy Barbecue on the patio at La Posada, and episodes in the hospitality room.

For the complete panel discussion and coverage of the entire day at Old Tucson, get your copy of The High Chaparral Reunion 2009 DVD.




Don Collier at Grand Palace

Don Collier answers a question at the Grand Palace. photo by Patty Schantz..

Reunion: Panel Discussion at the Grand Palace

By Penny McQueen

At Old Tucson on Saturday afternoon, our stars participated in a panel discussion at the Grand Palace Saloon at Old Tucson. Moderator Kent McCray took questions from the audience and kept Henry Darrow, Don Collier, Ted Markland and Rudy Ramos in hand - as much as possible. The cast mates were often like The High Chaparral Comedy Tour, joking and drawing huge laughs from the audience.

Kicking off the questions, Kent McCray talked about typical weather on set, saying, “Today is one of the cooler days we had in Tucson. Many days were well over 100 degrees and we were out there working our tails off and it was HOT. I always respected Linda Cristal who played Victoria. She was in those heavy outfits, tied up around her neck. That was very tough for her, but she did it. Never complained.”

Don Collier at Grand Palace

photo by Patty Schantz..

Don Collier recalled visiting Leif Erickson, hospitalized for a collapsed lung, and his unperturbed response to an enthusiastic fan with an incurable skin disease. “He didn’t pull back, just shook her hand. But after wards, geeze, he had a fit!” Henry Darrow laughed about the same hospital visit, saying, “Try to imagine all of us in the hospital. Bobby Hoy was the lead man. We came in and an old guy said, ‘How long you guys gonna be here? We’ve got our bingo game!’ I went into a ladies room to say hello, and I spoke to her in Spanish – she was Mexicana – and when I spoke to her she started to have a slight seizure. She had just come out of a slight heart operation. I made the mistake of walking into the wrong room. Obviously.”

Kent told about Joanna Moore (Lady Fair) losing her dental work at lunch. Kent sent workers to recover it from the dump….whereupon Ms. Moore brushed the dentures off, popped them in her mouth, and shot the scene. “That’s called a real trooper!” according to Kent.

Rudy Ramos at The High Chaparral Reunion

Rudy Ramos laughs at a story. Photo by Patty Schantz.

Not everything goes as planned on a TV shoot, and Kent recalled making arrangements with a local to appear to burn his family homestead with special effects while Indians attacked. Unfortunately the wind shifted and the cabin actually burned to the ground. Kent gave him good news and bad news – the shoot was finished but the homestead was burned. Fortunately the gentleman was generous and said, “Don’t worry about it.”

When asked to remember his earliest days on the show, Henry said, “I looked out this morning at the set, trying to imagine the cavalry riding in, riding out. The first scene I did on Chaparral was all the Indians in the world coming in to the ranch – we were moving wagons and stuff and the producers and network saw that section. I had a few lines of dialog. They turned to David Dortort and said, ‘This is the young man that’s going to play this part??’ He said yes, you’ll see, you’ll see. And then the next day was the sequence when I killed an Indian that was waiting for Leif Erickson. I killed the Indian, fell off the cliff, Leif just goes ‘shew, thanks.’ At that point I re-load my gun and had a line that said, ‘Buenos Dias Senor. Keep your hands up, I’m stealing your horse.’”

Don Collier gained fame in TV commercials as the Hubba Bubba Cowboy, and he happily revealed a little known secret. “I couldn’t blow the bubble gum. I had a stunt blower,” Don said. “I had him thoroughly checked out before. He’d blow the bubble and I’d step in with the bubble already blown and let it pop. “ Laughing, Don stressed a common credo of hardworking actors, “The money was good, I’d have done anything, I’d have killed him!”

Bob Hoy at 2005 High Chaparral Reunion

Bob Hoy at the 2005 Reunion

Although Bob Hoy was unable to attend, he sent his greetings in a recorded message made by Susan McCray, Sending “cordiality and good cheer” to all the fans and his friends in the cast and crew and wishing all “Godspeed and God bless’”, Bob’s message made everyone’s day and earned a standing ovation.
Gratitude and appreciation for their loyal fan base was a common theme among the cast and crew. Henry Darrow said, “On occasion I’m lucky enough to be part of a group like this, and get to meet the fans, and the people that made it possible to last the 4 years. But more importantly 42 years worth this show has been around in people’s memories, thoughts and feelings. “

Rudy Ramos summed up the feelings of most when he said, “I just want to thank all of the people. I am really blown away by the distance that people traveled. Amy from Australia, New Zealand, Sergio and Juan from Mexico, my friends from Northern Mexico, England, Guatemala, all over this country, Chile, in honor of – not us – but the show, The High Chaparral. For me coming into the show in it’s 4th season I was a very, very small part of the wonderful thing that’s called The High Chaparral. These are the guys that made it, given the wonderful words that David Dortort created and Susan’s dad put the music to. It was the beginning of my career, the very beginning. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a career beyond that.” Rudy led the cast in applause for their fans, saying, “I am so lucky to be a part of this 40 years later and to see the fans honor this show, that it’s truly humbling, and I thank all of you for your support, and for showing it. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from all of us, thank you. “

For the complete panel discussion and coverage of the entire day at Old Tucson, get your copy of The High Chaparral Reunion 2009 DVD.

High Chaparral stars (and fan Penny) at the Sunday morning autograph and photo shoot. photo by Crystal Hudson.

An event the size of the reunion takes a LOT of people working hard to make happen. The 2009 Posse - those who worked hard to keep all the events running smoothly - poses with the stars. Front row: Rudy Ramos, Henry Darrow, Penny Mcqueen, Don Collier. Second Row: Ginny Shook, Crystal Hudson, Andy Klyde, Vickie Harvey. Back Row: Rusty LaGrange, Jan Pippins. Not shown: Mike Pippins.
Thanks also to the staff at La Posada and Old Tucson.


News Coverage for High Chaparral Reunion

After 42 years The High Chaparral can still generate media interest! Local Tucson television channels came out to cover the reunion, and newspapers ran feature stories. Below are two articles on the cast and reunion festivities.

Western Revisited

Henry Darrow at The High Chaparral Reunion

Henry Darrow at the Friday Q&A. Photo by Patty Schantz.

The Tucson Weekly, October 15, 2009

They may have been fresh off the plane from Hollywood, but the Cannons and the Montoyas had just as much mud on their chaps as any other cowboy in the Wild West.

OK, so they were characters being played by actors, but one would have never known that after looking at those Tucson Mountains in the background.

The cast and crew of The High Chaparral will return to Tucson for a reunion event at Old Tucson Studios, where the show was shot from 1967 to 1971.

The reunion will begin with a morning program at The High Chaparral ranch set, where attendees will hear stories about the golden days from producer Kent McCray and various actors. A luncheon is closed to the general public, but following that will be an open discussion and Q&A with cast members. Episodes will be shown at Old Tucson Studios all day long.

Guests will include Henry Darrow, Bob Hoy, Tucson's Dan Collier and other cast members. Event-goers, and especially those familiar with the show, can expect a nostalgic visit to the set.

Penny McQueen, an event organizer, says that her love for the post-Civil War-era show stems from its historical realism. McQueen claims that, unlike counterparts like Little House on the Prairie and Bonanza, this was first Western series to be shot onsite—a site where Apache leaders fought Spaniards and American settlers.

"The dirt and the dust and the grit and the sweat—it all had this terribly authentic feel," says McQueen. She is the editor, publisher and main contributor to The High Chaparral Newsletter and Web site (

As if the historical value of the desert landscape were not enough, the part of Cochise, a legendary Apache leader, was cast in true Southwestern spirit: A direct descendant of Cochise himself, Nino Cochise, was in his 90s at the time and was missing one leg, but the hobbling old man with the impressive lineage nonetheless won the small role.

The show also broke barriers in terms of its inclusion of violence, for which the producers "took a lot of heat," says McQueen. The rough-and-tumble boys suffered injuries like broken legs, and some crewmembers fainted under the Tucson sun. (Nobody was around to nag 'em with the slogan, "It's a dry heat, boys.")

While The High Chaparral made a name for itself among Western buffs, it also gave Tucson a claim to fame.
"High Chaparral was a very important series to Old Tucson," says Frances Causey, film manager at Old Tucson Studios. "It was such a highly successful show on NBC, and it had a serious impact on the Western genre."
Causey says that the reunion will offer an opportunity to get Tucson back on the map by introducing Old Tucson to the newest generation of movie buffs and television fans. She is currently working on five projects that could get the green light to be filmed at Old Tucson, including Ghost Wolf.

If business were to start booming, she foresees an economic boost for all of Tucson. "The economic impact of film is so great. Just think: So many people in the town—even the dry cleaners who cleaned the cast's costumes (in Chaparral)—benefited," Causey says. "We are trying to bring film production back to Tucson."
It is not enough to just film shows here, though. In order to bring attention to Tucson, that show has got to have a lasting following, like Chaparral.

"When I first watched it, I watched at a point in time when I could believe it was real," says McQueen. "I've carried it in my heart for all these years."

A band of loyal followers has continued to support the show, organizing a reunion every two years since 2003.

This is the first reunion held in the Old Pueblo.

"The fans overwhelmingly wanted to come to Tucson, to bring the show back the ranch," says McQueen.
The High Chaparral Reunion was held on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009 at Old Tucson Studios.

High Chaparral Reunion 2009 group photo

The High Chaparral Reunion 2009 fans and stars pose for a group photo at the Sunday morning autograph session. First row (l to r) (seated on floor: Debbie Benner, Nieves Fernandez, Crystal Hudson, Brenda Greenwood, Paul Carter. Second row, seated: Rudy Ramos, Henry Darrow, Penny McQueen, Don Collier, Third Row: Heleen Helsdinken, Sandra Smithers, Ginny Shook, Andy Klyde, Vickie Harvey, Amy O'Donoghue, Teddi Giggy, Paula Evans. Fourth Row: Luisa Victoriano, Bernice "Snookie" Marier,, Rusty LaGrange. Back row: Mr. Marier, Plinio Orellana, Chris Casey, Jan Pippins, Patryka Duran y Chaves, Gene Giggy, Linda Cope. Photo by Alan Cope.

(apologies if anyone is mis-identified - if so, PLEASE email to let us know and we'll run a correction in the next issue!)

'High Chaparral' reunion recalls what was; shows what can still be

Tucson film production

By Lee Allen, Inside Tucson Business
Published on Friday, October 23, 2009

While the sun and sand and horse pies are similar to what they were decades ago, the players in what was one of Tucson’s biggest forays into TV production have changed a bit. CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE STORY.

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.

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 & Special Dates

27 October - Happy Birthday to Leif Erickson

4 November - Happy Birthday to Cameron Mitchell

17 October - Happy Birthday to Don Collier

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
AUDIO interviews with The High Chaparral cast & crew

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)
High Chaparral Fans in Costume