July 14, 2009

Fetching in Enter the Lone Ranger

Continuing my analysis of Enter the Lone Ranger:

The rest of the episode is less interesting than the Lone Ranger's origin: meeting Tonto, donning the mask, overcoming his first foe, finding Silver.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto meet Jim Blaine, who found a silver mine with the Ranger and his brother. The Rangers says the mine will be their hideout and source for bullets. He adds that Tonto the idea man gave him the idea of using silver bullets as a symbol.

Tonto fetches and fetches

The Lone Rangers sends Tonto to fetch the sheriff. The sheriff calls him "Indian" or "Injun," but not in a mean way.

The Ranger rides with the sheriff to find the villainous Cavendish. He tells Tonto to return to town and fetch more men.

The deputies are Cavendish's confederates, so they accuse Tonto of lying about coming from the sheriff. They also call him "Indian," even "redskin," but again not in a mean way. One of them agrees to come, but he plans to kill Tonto on the way.

Somehow the gunman gets above Tonto and shoots him. But when he checks, Tonto pops up and wallops him in a brief but intense fight sequence. It's Tonto's only real action.

Tonto rejoins the Ranger and they sneak up on Cavendish and his prisoners. Tonto gives an owl hoot to distract Cavendish and the Ranger slugs him.

Tonto fetches again

Foolishly, the Ranger decides to let Cavendish escape so they can capture him and all his men. The Ranger rides into town and, with the sheriff's and doctor's help, rounds up Cavendish's confederates.

With a few more men, the Ranger rides back to where Cavendish and his men are. The two groups mill about, firing their guns into the air and not hurting anyone. Tonto appears with more men, apparently having gone to fetch them once again. Cavendish flees and the Ranger follows him until Cavendish's horse tuckers out and stops. Cavendish draws a hidden derringer but the Ranger shoots it out of his hand, ending the chase and the story nonviolently.

And that's it for Tonto. He's off-screen for much of the action. He fetches the sheriff, a deputy who tries to kill him, and a posse of men who arrive too late to do much. In his one action sequence, he overcomes a man who duped him into thinking he was an ally. Yay, Tonto, for not dying of gullibility.

Besides nursing and packing, Tonto's primary skill seems to be fetching. That's why I said he reminds of Stepin Fetchit. Tonto steps lively and fetches whenever the Ranger asks him to.

For more on the subject, see The Lone Ranger.

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