There have been many complaints over the years about The Lone Ranger television show’s characterization of minorities, but honestly, I think those folks are missing the point. Yeah, Tonto speaks in pidgin English, but he’s tough and brave and always has the Ranger’s back, he’s never presented as inferior or stupid. Likewise, what always strikes me about these shows is that—unlike many Western films of the same period that are revered as classics today—the Indians are almost never presented as villains. They are most often shown as honorable warriors doing the best they can, usually struggling with poverty and prejudice and “white man’s law.”
There are many episodes that center on the Ranger and Tonto fighting for Indian tribal rights, trying to make sure treaties are honored and that war is averted. There are stories about the ugliness of racial prejudice, and the dangers of mob mentality. Against that, the pidgin-English complaints just seem petty.
For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.
Below: Tonto goes undercover as the homicidal Red Dog to find the location of hidden loot in Outlaw Masquerade.