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.
Today they are riding through miles of twisting canyons. This wild and mountainous territory is one of the most recently settled in the Wild West. Few settlers dare to come here. The reason lies in the fact that Indians, outlaws and bandits roam the country without check. And the ones that do settle here are eventually wiped out. But a short time ago, a man by the name of George Reed came out here with his family from the nearby settlement of Douglasburg. He and his family managed to escape the dangers that many had succumbed to and they had succeeded in establishing a town. Soon, more settlers came streaming in, and a post office, bank, marshal’s office, general store and other businesses were set up. Marshall Davis held the office of peacemaker, and among his few friends, for he was known throughout the West to be a harsh and brutal man (which was not true,) were two men who roamed the country bringing law and order wherever they rode.
Tonto and the Lone Ranger are riding hard towards Reedville. The marshal has sent for them, feeling that they were the only two men who could help him. They enter the town, tie their tired horses to the hitching post and walk inside.
“Howdy, Ranger, Tonto.”
“We got your message two days ago. What do you need our help with?”
“Well, I’ve got here three men who were charged for murder three days ago. Dick Blaine, Bill Spanner and Frank Taggon. The man who accused them, a fellow by the name of Jeff Burns, claims they were drinking in the saloon one night and got drunk and then started randomly firin’ shots for apparently no reason at all. While that is possible, I didn’t like the look of that Burns fellow. He had the look of a crook to me.”
“May we see the prisoners now, Marshall?”
“Right this way.”
They walk down a corridor lined with cells, and they reach the one where the prisoners are kept.
The three men are gone, evidently carried off, as there are bloodstains on the floor and a hat. The marshal picks it up.
“This hat isn’t theirs. They must have had outside help. Either they were carried off by an accomplice who managed to escape when the murder was done, or they were carried off by someone who didn’t want them to have a fair trial where they would prove innocent, or they were killed and the bodies taken away.”
“Maybe them make big mess and escape, so them not look guilty, but make look like someone carry them off.”
“You may be right, Tonto. And I aim to get to the bottom of this. Marshall, I’m going to try to track them down. Adios.”
The Ranger and Tonto ride towards the west. After looking under the window of the cell an finding four footprints, (the fourth set made by moccasins) instead of just three, they have set out in hopes of capturing the men. Or rescuing them, if the’re innocent.
After riding for some time, it starts to get dark and they start to look for a good place to camp for the night. They find a small clearing with plenty of grass for the horses. Dismounting, they turn the animals loose and start making camp. They are just sitting down to a meal, when an object strikes the stones that encircle the fire. Both men jump to their feet. Tonto picks up the arrow.
“Look, Kimosabe! There letter attached to arrow!”
“‘Do not come looking for us. We have Johnny Reed captive, and he will die if you attempt to capture us.’ Johnny Reed. That’s George Reed’s boy!” says the Ranger. He examined the arrow. “This arrow is from the Apache tribe.”
“That not good. Who George Reed?”
“He was the first settler is these parts. The man who made the town, and who it’s named after. If they’ve got his son, it must be very important.”
“What you do, Kimosabe?”
“I’m going to ride over to the Reed place tomorrow, see if I can learn anything more.”
“Me go with you, Kimosabe?”
“No, Tonto, I want you to go to town and see the storekeeper and ask him to give you a signal if anyone he doesn’t know comes in. Meet me back in camp this evening.”
“Me do that, Kimosabe.”
The next morning the Ranger and Tonto set off in different directions, the Ranger towards the west, Tonto towards the east.
The Ranger rides for ten minutes, as the ranch is only a short way out of town, and then he arrives at the gate of the ® ranch. He rides in and dismounts at the ranch house, ties Silver to the hitching post, and mounts the steps. He knocks on the door, and it’s opened by a maidservant, who, at the sight of him, screams and runs inside. The Ranger smiles, thinking how easily people were fooled by his mask. A minute later a man comes to the door with a cocked rifle and followed by the frightened girl.
“See, sir! He’s there jest like I was tellin’ ye. An’ he’s a bandit sure enough, o’ my name’s not Sally Kantor.”
“Alright mister. I’m going to give you just ten seconds to get off this property, and if yer not out of sight by then I’m going to shoot!”
“You George Reed?”
“Yes. Now git!”
“Ever seen one of these before?” and he hands him one of his silver bullets.
“A silver bullet. No.”
“He’s all right, sir! You jest trust me. This here feller is the Lone Ranger.” Sally says.
“The Lone Ranger! Do come in, and forgive me my in-hospitality.”
“That’s all right.”
They enter the house and proceed to the living room.
“Won’t you sit down? Sally, make some coffee.”
“No thank you. I can only stay a moment. Have you seen your son Johnny today?”
“Why, yes, I saw him just this morning. Why?”
“An Apache arrow landed in my camp last night, with this note attached to it.” And he handed the rancher the note.
“But— but that’s impossible! Why, Johnny’s in his room right now. Sally! go see if Johnny’s in his room.”
A second later a scream was heard and both men hurried up the stairs to find the poor girl lying before the door, wounded. Quickly, the carry her into a room and make her as comfortable as possible. Mr. Reed gets a cold cloth.
“Three men…sir,” the girl gasped, “with guns and two…were climbing….out the…window with…Johnny.”
“I’m going to ride to town to get a doctor. You stay here with her.” And the Ranger hurried out the door, jumped into the saddle and galloped away. Meanwhile,
“What did they look like?”
“One have…long black beard. Other have…wart on…nose. Other have…red hair…wore…marshal’s deputy’s…badge. Johnny bound…and…gagged. Me…thinks they…” and she fell unconscious.
In the meantime, Tonto was in town. He had gone to the storekeeper, but no one entered that the man didn’t know. He was riding back to the camp when he saw the Ranger riding full speed towards him. Both men rein in.
“Tonto, I’ve got to ride quick to town and get the doctor. There’s a girl on the Reed ranch who’s badly hurt. You go there and see what you can do for her. I’ll be back as soon as I can. Here, give Reed one of these, then he’ll know you come from me.”
He gives Tonto a silver bullet and they both speed away.
The Ranger rides into town and spies the doctor’s office. Quickly tying up Silver, he enters and is confronted by an elderly man who is just about to leave.
“Whoa! Whatch where yer going mister! Where were you….you’re masked!”
“Don’t worry, I’m no outlaw. I don’t want to hurt or rob you. I need your help. There’s a girl on the Reed ranch who’s badly hurt. A few minutes may be a matter of life or death. Please hurry.”
They run out the door, the doctor asking no questions, as Reed was a great friend of his. The poor doctor has his hands full with trying to control his horse, (he never rides at a faster gait than a trot,) who is following Silver at the top of his speed.
In the meantime, Tonto reaches the house, opens the door and bounds up the stairs.
“That you, Ranger? An Indian! What do you want here?”
“Me come from Ranger. Here.”
“A silver bullet. Alright. He coming here with the doctor?”
“Yes. Me see him outside town. What matter with girl?”
“She was shot, outside the bedroom door by a man who was covering two others carrying my son Johnny out the window. Can you stay here with her? I’d like to go after them right away.”
“No. Wait for Kimosabe. Him tell what best.”
He looks over the girl and, as the Indians had no doctors and had to fend for themselves, he had some knowledge of doctoring and he helped her as best he could.
A few minutes later the doctor and the Ranger arrive outside the house and then are heard hurrying in.
“George. Where-here she is.”
Tonto and the Ranger go outside the room.
“Kimosabe, these men who girl saw, me think them not ones we look for.”
“Are you sure?”
“Ah. When me done in town, me go to see marshal. Him say what them look like. One have black hair and no beard, other have yellow hair, with big mustache. Other one have brown hair with small beard. Reed say girl see them. She say one have big black beard, another have wart on nose and other have red hair.”
“They probably with red hair probably dyed it, and the other put a false beard on.”
“But men no make wart grow in one day.”
“Ha, ha. No, but it might have been something stuck on that looked like a wart. Let’s see, the nearest-”
At that moment Reed entered the hallway.
“She’ll be alright. You did some pretty quick riding, mister. I owe you that.”
“I always like to save a life if I can. Now listen, I’ve got a plan. Reed, can you ride to town and tell the marshall to tell the men of the town to be ready at a moments notice to be able to ride to the nearest beaver meadow to the south?” he nodded, “Tonto, will….”
An hour later, a paint horse is seen trotting through a canyon headed south. It carries a man dressed in moccasins, buckskin shirt and pants with a belt round his middle and right below it, a gun belt. His gray beard, hair and old coonskin cap, give the impression that he’s an old Indian scout, returning to his tribe.
Five minutes later, he rides through the entrance to the meadow and sees a circle of teepees surrounding a fire. As if they appeared out of the air, five Indians suddenly surround him with cocked rifles.
“What this? Me come back after many year, and me find no one remember?”
He is led to the largest, most elaborately decorated teepee where the elderly Indian chief reclines on a pile of skins. After making the traditional sign of salutation, the leader of the party that brought the man on the paint horse in, said,
“This man say him part of tribe. Him say him come back after many year.”
“Me no remember you. What you name?”
“Me called Gray Beaver. Me old. Me leave tribe when your father chief.”
“Welcome, friend Gray Beaver.” And with a wave of his hand, the old chief signals to the others to take him to a teepee and give him food.
So two days pass. On the third day Gray Beaver is walking around the camp when he sees three men ride up. They head to the chief’s teepee. Knowing these might be the men they are looking for, Gray Beaver walks quietly out of the circle of teepees and into the bushes. He creeps stealthily around to the back of the chief’s tent, and there he hears a conversation of greatest importance.
“…we have put the boy in an old shack about a mile south of here. How long will it take you to prepare food and escort to get us out of here?”
“Tomorrow, when sun rise, food ready. You be here.”
“Alright, Red Eagle. We’ll be here, as long as that Lone Ranger fellow doesn’t come snooping around.” And they exit the camp, leaving Gray Beaver with plenty of information.
Walking back into the camp, Gray Beaver enters the chief’s tent and emerges a moment later, mounts his horse and rides off
A rider is trotting on the plain, nearby the Indian village, when he sees Gray Beaver riding up to him.
“Kimosabe, three men ride into tribe today. Them talk to chief, say them have boy in old shack a mile south of beaver meadow. Them say them leave tomorrow, at dawn. Chief Red Eagle give them escort and food. Then them say that them no want you to spy around there. Them match description from marshal, and one have wart on nose.”
“That means those are definitely our men. Good work, Tonto. I’m going to ride to town, and tell the marshal what to do, then I’m going to ride to the shack and try to rescue the boy. You ride back to the village and keep playing the role of an old scout. Do they suspect anything?”
“No, Kimosabe. Them plenty fooled.”
“Alright. You’ll hear from me tomorrow.”
Tonto, no, Gray Beaver, rides off in the direction of the Indian camp and the Ranger rides to town.
There he rides up to the marshal’s office and goes in.
“Marshall, I’ve found your culprits.”
“Where? How? When?”
“Whoa! One question at a time,” the Ranger laughed, “They are in league with a tribe of Apache Indians who live in the beaver meadow four miles south of here. I learned the location of the Reed boy, and I’m going to try to rescue him. Your three men are leaving at dawn tomorrow under Indian escort. I suggest you surround them when they are going to the Indian camp, and not to wait until they have got there. You can deal with the Indians later.”
“How did you learn this?”
“Tonto is in the camp under disguise. I’ll meet you here tomorrow morning, one hour before dawn. Adios.”
He walks out, mounts Silver and gallops away. An hour’s riding brings him in sight of a sentry, evidently one of the outlaws. Dismounting, he climbs up the rocks and then jumps onto the outlaw, knocking away his gun and rolling him into the dust. Punches fly right and left, and soon the man lies on the ground, unconscious. After tying him up, the Ranger picks up the rifle and fires a shot into the sky, then proceeds to the cabin under the cover of bushes. He crawls under the window and listens to see if he can hear anything. Nothing. The cabin looks deserted. He creeps around the back way and is just about to enter when,
“Reach, mister.” A man with a rifle emerges from the bushes and prods the Ranger in the back. “Get in there.”
Inside the cabin is a small table and a fireplace, four beds and a few dishes. On one of the beds a boy lies. Pale, thin, scared, his hands tied behind his back, but otherwise unhurt, he looks at the new arrival with interest. The Ranger winks at him and the boy realizes that he is here to rescue him.
“Sit down.” His hands are tied and his feet bound.
“Reckon Frank and Dick oughter be back ’round now.” The speaker drawled, keeping his gun leveled. Unnoticed, the boy creeps up behind him and suddenly jumps on him. He crashes to the floor, unconscious.
“Good work, son. Can you reach into my boot and get my knife?”
“Sure thing, mister.” This is done and they are soon both free. As they are about to tie up the man who is on the floor, they hear voices and footsteps.
“Quick! Through the back door!” They crash through the thicket and reach Silver in a few moments. The Ranger helps Johnny into the saddle and then gallops off.
A moment later two men enter the cabin.
“Look! Bill’s hurt!” They drag him onto the bed and succeed in reviving him.
“What happened? Where’s the kid?”
“That Lone Ranger fellow came around and tried to get into the back door. I had him tied up when the kid jumped me. They must have gotten away! Come on!”
“No. They’ve got a good head start and it’s no use pursuing them. Tomorrow morning we’ll take the Indians ’round to the ranch and capture him again.”
Thus, they ride away unmolested, but the Ranger, ever cautious, suspects they might try something, and so he rides into town and drops the boy off at the marshal’s office and then rides south again.
Entering the fringe of foliage around the Indian tents, he mimicks a bird call, which is answered a second later by an owl hoot. A moment later Tonto steps into view.
“Tonto, ask the chief for leave for a few days. Say your going hunting. You don’t need to be here anymore.”
“You get boy?”
Tonto steps back, re-enters the camp, and goes to the chief’s tent. Receiving permission, he guides Scout out of the meadow, and soon the two most courageous men in the West ride away.
After ten minutes they stop and Tonto removes his disguise. Then they continue on to the ® ranch and stop by the house. There they are received cordially, and express their joy at seeing Sally able to walk around. Then the Ranger tells Reed that his son is in the marshal’s house, and the excited father, after expressing his deepest thanks and heart-felt gratitude, rides off. The Ranger and Tonto then say good-bye to Sally, canter away and soon arrive at their previous campsite and spend the night there.
An hour and a half before dawn, both men are awake and soon they are out of their little clearing and headed for town.
There, the two find thirty men assembled outside the marshal’s office. As they arrive the marshal rides out to greet them and then after a word, they all head out. Soon, they have surrounded the pass and cabin where the outlaws are hiding. After a half hour wait, they hear the pounding of horses hooves and the three outlaws find themselves in a complete trap.
“What do you want with us? Were as peaceable and law abidin’ as they come.”
“How do you propose to prove that?”
“These the men that held you captive, Johnny?” the marshal shouts over his shoulder, and the boy rides up.
“Yes sir, Mr. Marshall, and the’re the ones that shot Sally too. And if I was big enough, they’d get the biggest-”
“Alright, alright, son,” the marshal laughed. “There’s your proof, gentlemen.” The last in a mocking tone. “Now ride into town, and don’t try anything funny.”
Soon the three are in jail, where they belong and Jeff Burns is brought in to confirm that they are the right men.
“Well sir, I reckon that we have enough evidence now to hang ’em all twice. Thanks a lot. We’re goin’ after the Indians now. Want to accompany us?”
“No thanks, marshal, I have work elsewhere. Adios.”
Soon, the Ranger with Johnny on his horse and Tonto and Mr. Reed riding beside them, arrive at the ranch house. As they enter, Sally gives a cry of delight, and she hugs Johnny tight.
“Johnny! Oh, I was so afeared that ye wasn’t gonna come back! Sir, I can never thank ye enough!”
“Don’t thank me, Miss Sally, if it hadn’t been for Johnny I would have been captive too, by now.”
“Oh, Johnny! Tell me how ye escaped.”
The Ranger looks at Tonto and tilts his head towards the door. Silently, they leave the room.
“I wouldn’t have, Sally, if it hadn’t been for–they’re leaving! Who is he, Sally?”
“Why, don’t you know? He’s the Lone Ranger!”
Hi-o Silver, away!