The Origin of The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger received his title because he was the only survivor of a group of six Texas Rangers. A posse of six members of the Texas Ranger Division pursuing a band of outlaws led by Bartholomew “Butch” Cavendish is betrayed by a civilian guide named Collins and is ambushed in a canyon named Bryant’s Gap. Later, an Indian named Tonto stumbles onto the scene and discovers one ranger is barely alive, and he nurses the man back to health. Tonto recognizes the lone survivor as the man who saved his life when they were both children. Among the Rangers killed was the survivor’s older brother, Daniel Reid, who was a captain in the Texas Rangers and the leader of the ambushed group. To conceal his identity and honor his fallen brother, Reid fashions a black domino mask from the material of his brother’s vest. To aid The Lone Ranger in the deception, Tonto digs a sixth grave and places at its head a cross bearing Reid’s name so that Butch Cavendish and his gang would believe that all of the six Texas Rangers had been killed. The Lone Ranger and Tonto continue fighting for justice long after the Cavendish gang is captured.
The Lone Ranger
1. That to have a friend, a man must be one.
2. That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
3. That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
4. In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for what is right.
5. That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
6. That ‘this government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ shall live always.
7. That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
8. That sooner or later…somewhere…somehow…we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
9. That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.
10. In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.
In addition to The Lone Ranger’s strict moral code, the producers drew up the following guidelines that embody who and what The Lone Ranger is:
1. The Lone Ranger was never seen without his mask or some sort of disguise.
2. He was never captured or held for any length of time by lawmen, avoiding his being unmasked.
3. He always used perfect grammar and precise speech devoid of slang and colloquialisms.
4. Whenever he was forced to use guns, he never shot to kill, but instead tried to disarm his opponent as painlessly as possible.
5. He was never put in a hopeless situation; e.g., he was never seen escaping from a barrage of gunfire merely by fleeing toward the horizon.
6. He rarely referred to himself as the Lone Ranger. If someone’s suspicion were aroused, the Lone Ranger would present one of his silver bullets to confirm his identity; but many times someone else would attest on his behalf. The origin of this name was, following the Bryant’s Gap ambush, Tonto observed him to be the only ranger left—the “lone ranger”; Tonto’s choice of words inspired him to call himself “The Lone Ranger”.
7. Even though The Lone Ranger offered his aid to individuals or small groups facing powerful adversaries, the ultimate objective of his story always implied that their benefit was only a by-product of the development of the West or the country.
8. Adversaries were rarely other than American, to avoid criticism from minority groups. There were some exceptions to this rule. He sometimes battled foreign agents, though their nation of origin was generally not named. An exception was his having helped the Mexican Benito Juárez against French troops of Emperor Maximilian, as occurred in the radio episodes “Supplies for Juarez” (18 September 1939), “Hunted by Legionnaires” (20 September 1939) and “Lafitte’s Reinforcements” (22 September 1939).
9. The names of unsympathetic characters were carefully chosen so that they never consisted of two names if it could be avoided. More often than not, a single nickname was selected.
10. The Lone Ranger never drank or smoked; and saloon scenes were usually shown as cafes, with waiters and food instead of bartenders and liquor.
11. Criminals were never shown in enviable positions of wealth or power, and they were never successful or glamorous.