A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty ‘Hi-o Silver’. The Lone Ranger!
Two men ride through the hot, dusty plains dotted with cliffs. One is the Lone Ranger, the other his Indian companion, Tonto. The Lone Ranger wears a full body suit, light blue in color. Around his waist he wears a black, two gun belt with silver trimmings and packed with silver bullets,his one sign of identification. His white sombrero frames his curly, dark hair, and his face is partly hidden by a black mask, made from his late brother’s vest. Around his neck is a red handkerchief, tied in a ring, with the ends hanging over his right shoulder. He rides a large, white horse called Silver.
Tonto wears a full suit of buckskin, complete with moccasins. His sleek, dark hair is tied neatly back, and his forehead is encircled by a leather band. His handsome face only shows honesty and loyalty. He also wears a gun belt, but his carries only one gun and a knife. His bullets are plain lead. He rides a brown and white spotted horse named Scout. Both horses are intelligent animals who respond to commands and understand signals. They are so loyal to their masters they would rather die than be separated from them.
They are riding through a clump of sagebrush, with a large, sheer cliff to their right. Suddenly they hear the sharp crack of a gunshot, and rein in their horses.
“That sound like trouble, Kimosabe.” says Tonto.
“Yes, and it’s coming from the direction of the Lady Susan mine,” replies the Lone Ranger. “On Silver!” They speed away in the direction of the sound.
When they get to the shack outside the mine, they see three horses standing outside. One they recognize as Sheriff Douglas’ horse, the others are unknown. With their guns drawn and cocked, they slowly enter the cabin. They see three men lying on the floor. Tonto steps forward to see if they’re dead, while the Ranger stands guard.
“Him alive, Kimosabe!” Tonto exclaims, “Sheriff and other dead.”
Carefully, the two men raise the wounded boy to a sitting position, and pour some water through his lips. He remains unconscious.
“Tonto, ride quickly to town and find the doctor. Bring him here, but be careful.”
“Mm. Me go now.”
The Ranger lays the boy down on his bedroll, and he uses Tonto’s as a pillow. Then he applies a cool, damp cloth to the boy’s forehead, and takes off his jacket.
Meanwhile, Tonto is riding in all speed to town, which is but two miles away. Once there he quickly ties Scout to a hitching post and goes into the doctor’s office. There he sees a middle-aged man writing out a document. He looks up as Tonto enters.
“Sorry, Injun. I’m busy.”
“This very important, Doctor.”
“Sorry, I don’t have time. Now beat it!”
Tonto draws his gun and says, “Sorry, Doctor. No make noise. Follow Tonto.”
The doctor rises from his chair, follows Tonto to the door, mounts his horse and they ride off.
When they get to the shack, the doctor takes a look at the boy on the floor.
“He’s in bad shape, I don’t know if he’ll make it,” says the doctor.
“Do everything you can, it’s important that he survives,” the Ranger replies.
A half hour later, the doctor emerges from the cabin, followed by Tonto and the Ranger.
“Re-bandage his wounds every hour or so,” the doctor instructs, “and make sure he doesn’t move. Three of his ribs are broken, and his left hand is badly fractured, I don’t know if he’ll last very long.”
So saying, the doctor mounted, and was just about to ride off, when he turned around and said, “Oh, I almost forgot. Give him two of these sleeping pills when he wakes up. Keep the others in case of emergency.”
Then he rode off and was gone.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto re-enter the shack, and sprinkle some water on the boy’s face, hoping to revive him. He slowly opens his eyes. As he sees the Ranger and Tonto, he starts, and would have gotten up, but the Ranger and the Indian restrain him.
“Easy now, young feller,” the Ranger said.
“Wh-where am I?” he asked weakly.
“Safe, and don’t try to move, you’re badly injured.”
“Where’s John? And the Sheriff?”
“No! it can’t be!….Say, how do I know you’re not the killers?”
“We wouldn’t be taking care of you now if we were. What’s your name?”
“Joe Dingan. John was my cousin, and the Sheriff was escorting us to my uncle’s ranch. You see, my parents both disappeared and he’s my only relative besides my cousin and his family, but I didn’t want to stay with them. My cousin wanted adventure, so I took him with me. We were riding through that clump of trees over there, when we heard a cry for help. We entered this shack, and then everything went black and I don’t remember anything else. Hey, where’s the gold?”
“The one we were taking as a present to my uncle.”
“Whoever tried to kill you must have stolen it. Don’t worry about it now. You just take these pills and go back to sleep. You’ll feel better later.”
Tonto and the Lone Ranger went outside onto the porch.
“What we do now, Kimosabe?” Tonto asked.
“I’m going over to the Dingan ranch, see if I can find out some information. You stay here and keep an eye on Joe. I shouldn’t be more than a couple hours.”
“Me understand, Kimosabe.”
The Ranger rides off, and Tonto re-enters the shed, sits down and waits.
When the Ranger reaches the ranch he sees a bustle of activity. To him it appears that the whole ranch has been set to action to make it spic and span for the owner’s nephew.
He rides to the house, ties Silver to the hitching post, knocks on the door and it opens instantly. The Ranger asks to see Mr. Dingan, saying he’s a friend. The servant steps back and calls into the house,
“Jane! Come here a minute.”
A rustle of skirts signify the call was heard, and a moment later a middle-aged woman, apparently the housekeeper, appears at the door.
“A masked man! What does he want, Jim?”
“I want to see Mr. Dingan, ma’am. And don’t be fooled by the mask. I’m not a bandit, I’m a friend.”
“Mr. Dingan isn’t in today, he is riding up in the North Range, inspectin’ the cattle. Anyway, friends don’t wear masks.”
“Maybe some do. Much obliged, ma’am.”
The Ranger touches his sombrero rim, mounts his horse and rides off, leaving a pair of puzzled servants behind.
The Ranger points Silver’s head north, and a half hour’s riding brings him in sight of a plume of smoke rising a short distance away. He spurs Silver on. When he gets near, he dismounts and walks forward. As he emerges from the trees, a shout rings out and the five men sitting by the fire all leap to their feet and draw their guns.
“Any of you answer to the name Bill Dingan?”the Ranger asks.
“I do. What do you want, stranger?”
“I want to speak to you alone a minute.”
“Not a chance. I bet you a thousand dollars you’d kill me as soon as we’re out of sight.”
“No sir, I’m not an outlaw. I’m a friend.”
“Friends don’t wear masks.”
“Ever seen one of these before?”
“Why, that’s a silver bullet! You must be the Lone Ranger!”
“Now will you trust me?”
They walk a short distance away and then the Ranger tells Mr. Dingan about his nephew. When he had finished, he said, “I’m pretty sure this is the work of a band of outlaws under a man named James Potter. They’ve been robbing and killing in this area lately.”
“Sir, if there’s anything I can do, I’ll be more than glad to help you round ’em up.”
“I have a plan. It’ll be risky, but I don’t see any other way. What I want you to do is…”
Meanwhile, back in the shack, Tonto studies the boy’s face. He seems to recollect hearing his name before. He thinks hard. Suddenly, he remembers.
“You son of Indian chief, Tomache! Why you change clothes and dress like white man?”
“My mother was white. She wanted me to become a white man, so she sent me away to school in the East. I came for holidays sometimes, but now I’m home permanently. I never knew my father was Tomache. Is he still alive? My mother told me she was married to a white man who went away years ago. I guess she wanted to keep their marriage a secret. ”
“What you mother name?”
“You see mother often?”
“No. I haven’t seen my mother since I went away.”
They hear horses riding hard and Tonto springs to his feet and looks out the window.
“That Kimosabe coming.”
Tonto goes outside.
“Joe alright, Tonto?”
“Yes. Who that man?”
“This is Bill Dingan. He has agreed to be a part of the plan I have.”
They walk inside.
Tonto and the Ranger go outside, leaving them to their reunion.
“Me learn much while you gone, Kimosabe. Joe son of Indian chief, Tomache. Him not know. Mother never tell. Him mother white. Name Jane Seymour.”
“Jane Seymour. I ran into a Jane at the ranch house, but I don’t know if her name was Seymour. Well, we’ll see about that later. For now let’s focus on the sheriff and Joe’s cousin’s killers. I think this attempt was the work of the Potter gang. I’ve figured out a plan. It’s risky, but I don’t see any other way out. What I plan to do is to pretend to be an outlaw, like when I faked a join-up with the Dirk Nelson gang. Then, as soon as they accept me, I’m going to lead them into a trap in which, if it works out properly, will capture them all. Bill knows all about it, and he’s going to ride to the sheriff, tell him to send the stage coach that rides in a week, on without that gold shipment, and then I’m going rob it with Potter, while the sheriff and a posse round them up. You get in touch with me as soon as possible.”
“Me do. Me go with Bill to sheriff?”
“No, Tonto. I want you to go to the ranch and ask for a servant to come and take care of Joe. I might need you, and you can’t always be watching Joe. Tell them you come from Bill Dingan. Only then will they believe you.”
“Me go now, Kimosabe?”
“Yes Tonto, I’ll be waiting here until you come back, then I’ll start out.”
Tonto leaps on Scout and canters off.
An hour later Tonto returns, leading another horse and rider. Tonto helps the girl off her horse and then walks up to the porch, where the Ranger awaits them.
“Howdy, ma’am. Glad to see you came. You have any trouble, Tonto?”
“No, Kimosabe. This Sally. She nurse.”
“Come inside, Miss Sally. Joe’s sleeping now, I suggest you don’t wake him. You know how to take care of him?”
“Yes sir. I’ve had training.”
“Well then, Miss Sally, if you don’t mind I’ll be on my way.”
The Ranger mounts and rides off. Bill also mounts and leaves for town. When he reaches the town he rides to the sheriff’s office. Once there he dismounts quickly, loops his horses reins over the hitching post, and walks inside.
“Howdy, Bill. Whachta doin’ in town?”
“Ever heard of the Potter gang?”
“The Potter gang! Sure I know ’em. Thems a disgrace ta this here territory, an’ I can’t do nothin’ ’bout it.”
“I have news for you about them.”
Meanwhile, the Ranger is riding through the countryside, carrying a fat bundle under his arm. He hopes this will attract the gang into robbing him. Then he can convince them to take him in as one of their gang. As he rides through a thick clump of trees, nearer to a forest than a grove, he hears a movement in the bushes to his right. Pretending to be an innocent traveler, he draws his gun and calls out,
Then, as if he was satisfied there was no one there, he rode on, until he was in the very heart of the grotto.
Anyone passing by would have thought it strange that a volley of gunshots were poured out. The Ranger wasn’t hurt, however, as the men who had just leapt out of the bushes had only fired at the sky to stop him.
“Drop that packet, mister. And make it quick. And keep those hands high.”
“Alright. Who are you?”
“The Potter gang, who else?”
“Well why didn’t you say so before? I’ve wanted to join up with you fellers ever since I entered this territory. You James Potter?”
“I am, mister. And no one enters my gang without passing a few tests first.”
“I’m ready. What are they?”
“On second thought, mister..”
He reached for his gun, but the Ranger was quicker, and Potter found himself facing a cocked pistol.
“You see that!”
“He out-drawed Jim!” was the general murmur in the crowd of outlaws.
“Good. That was the first test, and you passed. Now for the next test. Slim!”
“String four or five cups on that limb over there. Now, mister,” when that was done, “you break one of those cups and that’ll be your second test passed.”
“What if I break all four.”
“Huh. You try just one.”
“This back far enough?”
“Yes this’ll be fine.”
BANG! CRACK BANG! CRACK BANG! CRACK BANG! CRACK!
“Did you see that!!”
“I never saw shooting like that before!”
“Where’d he larn ta do that!”
“One final test, mister, and you’re one of us.”
“You’ll run two races. One on foot and one on horseback. I don’t accept anyone unless he can be in the top three of both races.”
“When’ll they be?”
“Tommorer mornin’, at first light.”
“In a clearing, ’bout a mile south of here.”
“Now you come with us mister, and we’ll fix you a bed for the night.”
They ride off, and twilight arrives, bringing soft colors, and finally, night. The stars twinkle overhead, and out on the prairie a lone Indian lies in the cool, soft grass and wonders. The moon shines brightly, casting her pale light over the earth, and soon, even he has dropped off to sleep, peacefully and dreamlessly, as he awaits the morning when he will again see his friend, the Lone Ranger.
The next morning, the Ranger is up early, a hour before sunrise. He saddles Silver, mounts and rides to the clearing spoken of the night before.
After ten minutes riding he enters the clearing, dismounts, unsaddles Silver and starts grooming him. A few minutes later he hears two long, drawn out whistles that sound like a bird call. He answers, and a moment later Tonto steps out of the bushes on the far side of the clearing.
“You plan work so far, Kimosabe?”
“Yes, Tonto. I’m to run two races today, one on horseback and one on foot. I have to be in the top three racers to enter Potter’s gang. I know Silver can outrun any horse.” And he patted the horse’s neck.
“Yes, Kimosabe. And you outrun any man on foot.”
“I hope so, Tonto.”
“Me go know. Me have to check on Joe, then me go see Bill, tell him everything alright.”
“Alright, Tonto. Be careful. Listen! Horses! Hurry, get out of sight!”
“Hey there! See you got here early!” The leader, Potter, exclaims as he rides up.
“Yeah. I wanted to warm my horse up a bit.”
“Good. Well, you’re first race will be on horseback and you’re second on foot. Alright boys!” he hollers, “Get ready!”
In a moment there were two markers set up, roughly 150 yards apart. Then all the horses were lined up, fifty total. Potter fires his gun, and all the horses take off like a shot. Silver, under the excellent handling of the Ranger, immediately takes the lead, and by the time they reach the finish line, the gap between him and the rest of the pack was more than five lengths.
“Well, I must say. That’s a mighty steed you have there, mister.”
“Thanks, Potter. Do we run the foot race now?”
“In a few minutes.”
As soon as Potter gives the signal, the men are all lined up, and once again Potter fires the gun. The Ranger runs in the middle, but he slowly gains until he is a foot or two behind the leader, nicknamed Slim. Another few yards and he passes him, and comes out in front, with room to spare.
“He beat Slim!”
“Wal, I reckon thar tain’t ’nother lak ’im in the entire territory!”
“It beats me ’ow ’e does it.”
“Well mister, I guess you’re part of the gang now. What do I call you?”
“My name’s Dick.”
And so, for a few days, the Ranger lives quietly among the outlaws, meeting with Tonto every day, and inspiring the trust of the gang. Then, one morning, as he was out with another member, he comes back riding full speed. He leaps from Silver’s back, throws the reins over the hitching post and runs inside the main house.
“Potter! I was in town getting some supplies with Jake,” Potter nodded, “and we were just coming out of Murphy’s General Store when we heard talking in the express office. We crept to the window and listened. The’re planning to change the route of the stage and send the gold shipment by way of Crystal Pass instead of Flat Brush canyon. When they finished talking we tried to creep away from the window, but someone in the office spotted us and raised the alarm. We ran for our horses and started galloping away. The shots missed me, but they hit poor Jake, and he fell from his horse. I couldn’t stop, but rode on until I came here. I thought we could plan a hold-up for the stage. There’s plenty of hiding places in Crystal Pass.”
“Yes there’s plenty of places. Poor Jake. He was a straight shooter. Oh well. At least you escaped. Alright we’ll plan a hold-up. Let’s see, we’ll need two…..”
The next morning, the day the stage went through with the gold, the whole gang was up and about early. One of the men strolled up to the boss.
“Say, boss, I’m not sure we need the hull gang. Shouldn’t we leave some behind?”
“And take the risk of losing 20,000 dollars in gold? No thanks. We’re goin’ ahead with the whole gang.”
Meanwhile, the Ranger is talking with Tonto, making sure everything is set and ready.
“Sheriff wait with men at Crystal Pass.”
“What you want me do, Kimosabe?”
“You wait in the bushes on the other side of the pass with ten of the sheriff’s men. In case the men put up a stiff fight, you can come out of hiding and help the sheriff round them up.”
“Me go now, Kimosabe. You be careful.”
“I will, Tonto. You be careful too.”
An hour later, a group of fifty mounted men are seen, riding towards a hilly, rocky region, which looked like a giant earthquake had taken place, and then someone had sprinkled a handful of sagebrush over it. It was known as Crystal Pass because at one time it had held a crystal mine in one of the cliffs. The men ride forward and take their places behind rocks, scattered along different sides of the path. Another hour, and a lot of watch-checking pass by, and then a man is seen appearing, the scout. He rides up and shouts,
“Here it comes, boss!”
“Alright, everyone, steady!”
The stage rattles along, getting closer and closer. Up on the hill, the sheriff speaks to his men,
“Alright, we wait fer th’ Lone Ranger’s signal, an’ then we ride down an’ surround ’em. All clear?”
A chorus of, “Yeah”, “Yup” and, “Got it” follows.
Tonto and his men crouch in the bushes, waiting. The outlaws hide, motiontless, behind the rocks. The entire earth seems to hold it’s breath, except the stage. The driver urges on the horses with a, “Come on girls, it’s only another mile or two. Come on Duchess! Don’t lag, Lucy!”, he drives nearer and nearer, unaware of the danger that awaits him.
As the stage nears the rocks that signal the entrance to the Pass, all the gang draw their guns, as they tensely wait for the coach.
As soon as it’s safely inside the Pass, all the men leap out, surround the coach and discharge their guns. The poor stage driver is killed, and then the Ranger, who was in the middle of the pack, backs Silver up a few paces, holds his gun high above his head and shoots into the air.
“That’s the signal, men! Down we go!”
Surprise, confusion and finally panic reigns among Potter’s men as they find themselves enclosed in a complete trap.
As the Ranger rides over to join the sheriff, Potter shouts out,
“So that’s it. A traitor. You won’t see the end of me, yet.”
“Oh yes he will,” the sheriff replied, “’Cause I’ll bet ye yer life ye’ll be decoratin’ a rope afore the sun takes a last look at the world afore she closes ’em shiny eyes o’ ’ers. Alright men! Round ’em up, and drive ’em into town.”
With many surly looks and terrible oaths, the gang grudgingly mount their horses and ride into town.
Tonto then emerges from the bushes, having sent the men he had charge of into the fray to take a share in the victory of capturing the famous gang. Riding up to the Ranger he says,
“Me glad you no longer outlaw. Me like Lone Ranger better.”
The Ranger laughs, “So do I, Tonto.”
“Well, mister, I can’t thank you enough. Not only do I have my nephew back, but what do I know. His mother even livin’ in my own house, an’ I didn’t know a blessed thing about it.”
The Ranger and Tonto stand in a cozy living room, inside the Dingan ranch house. Mother and son stand nearby, and Bill shakes hands with the Ranger.
“No need to thank me, Bill, I only did my part, restoring law and order.”
“Kimosabe, no forget we have work to do.”
“Right, Tonto. Adios.”
And, touching the rim of his sombrero, he exits the room and mounts his foam-white horse.
The three inside go to the window. And Bill says,
“There go the two greatest men in all the West, Tonto and the Lone Ranger.”
“The Lone Ranger.” echoes his nephew, awe in his voice.
Hi-o Silver, away!