The Lone Ranger vs. Michael Ansara

Near the end of the TV run of the Lone Ranger, there were two movies which added to the legacy of Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels. The Lone Ranger came out in 1956 and the Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold followed in 1958. Both of these films were mainly for kids but lovers of the western genre enjoyed them as well. There were elements of the Willa Cather type thinking in these two films.

The 1956 version showed how a disctint minority on both sides of peace agreement can result in disaster for just about everyone in both the present and the future. We can this in a more complicated way today in international relations, labor negotiations, and zoning codes.

Reese Kilgore, the most influential and wealthiest man in the territory wants to move the Apaches off their reservation to a more remote location. From a friend, the Lone Ranger and Tonto have arrows and bullets found at some ranchers’ homes and take them onto the reservation. Chief Red Hawk sees them and knows they are authentic but said his tribe members would never break the treaty. He emphasized “… they know how Red Hawk punish if they break treaty. Them {sic] better off have die than have Red Hawk punish.”

Angry Horse, standing by this meeting, has a menacing and sadistic expression. He steps closer and says the words usually associated with a hostile Native American. Angry Horse accuses the white settlers of speaking with a forked tongue, stealing goods, and even murdering members of his tribe. No doubt he has some legitimate grievances; no doubt also that Angry Horse has exaggerated and even concocted stories about the settlers. In other words, Angry Horse wanted a war to become chief. Red Hawk’s hold on his people is tenuous.

Leaving the reservation, the Lone Ranger and Tonto intensify their hunt for the men responsible for these atrocities on the ranchers. They subdue four men and bring them to the sheriff’s office. Taking off their head pieces, the Sheriff realizes that all four white men work for Mr. Kilgore. In the current climate with Kilgore’s power, these four will be jail for only a few days or even sooner. The Sheriff wants to go all at this point but the Lone Ranger says he cannot get vengeance by himself. At the Lone Ranger’s suggestions, he goes for the military.

Meanwhile back at his ranch, Reese has sent his seven year old daughter Lila away with three of his henchmen. War is eminent but he cruelly keeps his wife at his ranch. Indians attack the party, kill the ranch hands, and take the little girl back to the reservation. Both the Lone Ranger and Tonto were at the reservation and angry the Red Hawk allowed this to happen. The Masked Man said that “It is in the wind saying that Red Hawk is a sick man choosing to make war on children.” Tonto said “the birds are laughing at the entire tribe.’ Red Hawk said he did not like to bring the white child to the reservation but he is losing power.

Angry Horse spews his hateful talk. The Lone Ranger says he will fight Angry Horse with Lila going to the winner. This is really a well staged fist fight with of course, the Lone Ranger winning. This 1956 film was a box office winner with Michael Ansara giving a great supporting performance.