Sunday, October 11, 2009

Enter The Lone Ranger, The Original Lone Ranger Episode

"Pilot for the Lone Ranger TV Series. September 15th 1949."

The first episode opens with scenes of settlers moving west only to be attacked by vicious outlaw gangs. One of the worst of these was the Cavendish gang, led by Butch Cavendish.

A group of six Texas Rangers, led by Captain Dan Reid, decides to go after the Cavendish gang.

They will be aided by Collins, a half-breed, who tells the Rangers he himself was attacked by the Cavendish gang. Collins says he knows where the gang is hiding out and will take the rangers to them. What the rangers don't know is that Collins is secretly working for the Cavendish gang and is leading the rangers to an ambush.

After riding for miles, Collins and the rangers arrive at what appears to be a dead end canyon. Collins offers to ride ahead and scout out the trail. He makes his way up and down the canyon path until he reaches the Cavendish hiding place. He reports to Butch Cavendish that the rangers are nearby and heading towards them. Cavendish shows Collins where members of the outlaw gang are lying in wait high above the canyon floor, ready to fire on the rangers when they arrive.

Soon, the rangers ride into the area and are immediately fired upon by all the Cavendish gang.

One by one, the rangers are struck down, until it appears that all are dead.

Cavendish tells Collins to check out the bodies to make sure they're dead. Walking up to each body, Collins looks them over and reports back to Cavendish that they've killed them all. Cavendish yells down to Collins to get his horse and meet the gang at their camp. As soon as Collins turns, Cavendish fires and shoots Collins in the back. "Why'd you do that?" asks one of the Cavendish gang. "He's a traitor" Cavendish explains. "If he would turn on them he could turn on us, and I won't have any traitors in my gang."

The canyon area is now deserted when, hours later, one of the rangers thought to be dead, regains conscious. It's Captain Dan Reids' brother, John. He slowly crawls out of the hot sun into a nearby cave that also contains a water hole. After taking a sip of water he lies back and, again, falls unconscious.

Then a lone figure rides into the canyon area. It's an Indian and he soon discovers the bodies of the dead rangers. Looking around he walks to the cave and, to his surprise, finds the one ranger who has apparently survived the ambush. Looking closer, the Indian notices a medallion around the rangers neck. It's the same medallalion the Indian remembers giving to someone who had helped him when they were both boys. "You Kemo Sabe" the Indian tells the ranger. "Kemo Sabe?" the ranger asks. The Indian goes on to explain how the boy came to his rescue after renegade Indians had burned his camp and killed his family, leaving the young Indian alone to die. "Yes," the ranger remembers, "you're Tonto." "Yes, me Tonto" the Indian replies. "Now me help you" Tonto tells the ranger.

Day after day, the Indian nurses the ranger back to health until the ranger is strong enough to sit up and talk. "Tonto, I've been doing a lot of thinking" the ranger says. "I'm going to devote my life to ridding the west of outlaws." "That good" Tonto replies. "But I'll need a disguise of some kind" the ranger tells Tonto. "I don't want anyone to know who I am." Tonto tells the ranger he will make him a mask from the vest of the rangers dead brother, Captain Dan Reid.

The ranger puts on the mask for the first time as Tonto says "you all alone now, you lone ranger." "Yes Tonto" the ranger says, "I am The Lone Ranger!"

As the Lone Ranger and Tonto prepare to leave the canyon, they are shot at by the wounded Collins. He too has survived being killed and has climbed to the top of a cliff overlooking the canyon floor. The Lone Ranger tells Tonto to circle around from behind him while he fires up at Collins to cover Tonto's movements. Then, The Lone Ranger begins to climb the rocks leading up to Collins hiding place. He starts to lose his grip and is barely hanging on as Collins picks up a big rock ready to throw it down on the ranger saying "I'll get you now ranger!"

In true movie serial cliffhanger style, the episode comes to a close, as it appears Collins will kill the ranger.

Music for the series includes Gioachino Rossini's William Tell Overture, Mendelssohn Fingal's Cave Overture, portions of the overture to Der Freischütz, by Carl Maria von Weber, and Les Préludes, by Franz Liszt, The Flying Dutchman, by Wagner. and compositions by other composers. Here is NPR's introduction to Rossomo's William Tell:

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