The High Chaparral is an American Western-themed television series starring Leif Erickson and Cameron Mitchell, which aired on NBC from 1967 to 1971. The series, made by Xanadu Productions in association with NBC Productions, was created by David Dortort, who had previously created Bonanza for the network. The theme song was also written and conducted by Bonanza scorer David Rose, who also scored the two-hour pilot.
The show revolves around "Big John" Cannon (Leif Erickson), a rancher living in the Arizona Territory in the 1870s. He runs the ranch, called The High Chaparral, with his brother Buck (Cameron Mitchell) and son Billy Blue (known as Blue Boy) (Mark Slade). Blue Boy's mother, Annalee (Joan Caulfield), is killed in the first episode by an Indian arrow, and John Cannon then marries Victoria (Linda Cristal), the daughter of powerful neighbouring rancher Don Sebastián Montoya (Frank Silvera), in what is initially a marriage of convenience. His marriage to Victoria also brings her brother Manolito (Henry Darrow) to live with the family.
The High Chaparral was Dortort's brainchild, and he left the day-to-day running of Bonanza in the spring of 1967 so he could focus all of his energies on The High Chaparral. After the show's cancellation in 1971, Dortort chose not to return to Bonanza and retired.
All the exterior filming was done at Old Tucson in Arizona and in the nearby Saguaro National Park, although in a few later episodes there was some filming in California and (in season 3) in the Coronado National Forest south of Tucson. The interiors were generally filmed at the NBC television studios in Burbank, Los Angeles.