This 1956 western, along with another in the series, arrived yesterday. The Lone Ranger is a long time favorite of mine, as he is of any of us who were born shortly before or after WWII. This version I’m talking about. I’ve never heard any of the radio programs, though I have read the Striker novels.
I’d never seen this particular movie either. The other one I have is THE LOST CITY OF GOLD, the first movie I ever saw in a theater. I’ll watch and report on that one in the next few days.
This one is full of the usual tropes of these kinds of movies. A budding war between the white ranchers and the reservation Indians. At the beginning, the Ranger and Tonto save a young rancher, Pete Ramirez, from four Indians chasing him, though the Ranger notices something unusual about the quartet. They all had saddles.
A rancher named Kilgore is urging the ranchers and other townspeople, by any means legal or otherwise, to wipe out the Indians. The territory is up for statehood and Kilgore is against it, saying they weren’t ready. Too many wild Indians. The Governor has sent for the Ranger because he’s suspicious.
Michael Ansara plays Angry Horse, the strong young Indian pushing the aged Chief Red Eagle(Frank DeKova, the Chief on the series F-Troop) for leadership of the tribe.
All things fans of the series are familiar with are here. Moore plays the old miner to do some scouting work where his mask would draw too much attention. The stirring theme, the William Tell Overture, drew chills, I don’t mind admitting, carrying me back to my long ago youth. Silver working with almost human intelligence to help the Ranger several times. It’s all here.
Spirit Mountain on the reservation is a taboo place the Indians never go. Kilgore wants it, so we know there has to be something valuable up there. Sneaking in dynamite gives us some clues.
There’s nothing really ground-breaking here. Just a hell of a lot of fun. It’s a little more edgy than the series, what with The Ranger in a knock-down fist fight with Angry Horse. Tonto fighting it out with a dozen Kilgore hands to avoid being lynched while The Ranger races on Silver to the rescue, led by Scout.
I loved every second of it.