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The Lone Ranger was an immensely popular TV-series that
ran from 1949 until 1957, but the set-up for the whole series was told in
the first three episodes which are reviewed below ...
A group of Texas Rangers is lured into an ambush laid by gangsterboss
Butch Cavendish (Glenn Strange) by their half-breed scout Collins (George
J.Lewis), and they are all gunned down, including Collins who Cavendish
figures would sooner or later betray him. Only one of the rangers (Clayton
Moore) survives, if barely, and as coincidence may have it, he is found by
an Indian, Tonto (Jay Silverheels), whose life he once saved, and who is
now returning the favour. Once the ranger is better again, he decides to
from now on wear a mask, sll himself the Lone Ranger and hunt down all
criminals in Texas to bring them to justice (and not to kill them)
... and Tonto agrees to help him.
However, it seems that Collins too has survived the massacre, and soon
enough, he engages the Lone Ranger and Tonto in a gunfight which is only
ended when he accidently falls off a cliff.
Soon, the Lone Ranger and Tonto trail Cavendish and gang to Korby, and
they realize that they are about to take over the little town by killing a
string of influential citizens and replacing them with members of the
gang. With the help of the local Sheriff (Walter Sande) and the Doctor
(George Chesebro) though the Lone Ranger and Tonto manage to turn the
tables on Cavendish, keep him from taking over the town for good for
another day under a false pretense, arrest all his helpers in town ... and
when Cavendish and gang arrive to take over, they realize they have walked
into a trap ... and are all brought to justice while the Ranger and Tonto
make the first of their trademark getaways ...
This early example of a TV-Western remains in spirit pretty close to
the then dieing species of the B-Sestern: It has got clearly
distinguishable heroes and villains, much of it is shot outdoors to save
on studio costs, only a limited number of locations are used to save time,
and the direction remains largely flat and unimaginative ... however,
compared to other B-Westerns, this Lone Ranger three-parter
is not too bad a film, it features a stringent plot, a good villain (Glenn
Strange), interesting characters and thought through character motivations
thanks to the Ranger's origin story - all things later episodes of the
series (and indeed of many Western series) would often miss.