For all you fans of The Lone Ranger radio program, fully aware that the first 790 or so episodes do not exist in recorded form, here are some of the earliest adventures of the Masked Man and his faithful Indian companion. The plot summaries come from reading and scrutinizing the radio scripts.
Episode #20, Broadcast March 16, 1933
Plot: In the early days, it took very little in the way of a rumor to start chaos in the vicinity of one of the small struggling banks in a western community, but that is exactly what happened when Slim is rejected a loan from the new bank. Most of the town folk are reluctant to invest their money in the brick-and-mortar institution, especially since Angus Tavish, the biggest rancher in Sleepy Creek, has not invested his own money. The Lone Ranger and Tonto, aware that Big Stan Clavin, the bank manager, has been embezzling small amounts and was responsible for the close of a bank in San Francisco, waits until a robber digs up the money in Clavin’s back yard. The Lone Ranger steals the $10,000 and turns the thief over to the sheriff. When Slim informs the town citizens about the failure of the San Francisco bank, a riot erupts until The Lone Ranger assists Angus Tavish in depositing $10,000 into the bank. The town citizens, now assured of their investments, begin to make deposits – a sound foundation for the financial institution. At the end of the day, Tavish informs the Clavin that the stolen money is now returned where it belonged and quietly, without the citizens aware, establishes a real account with the bank.
Episode #21, Broadcast March 18, 1933
Plot: Barney Oldfield and Jake Blossom plot to have Steve, an innocent railroad worker, destroy the Gopher Gulch bridge which is near completion. If the bridge is destroyed, Maxwell would lose the contract for the construction work and Jake would be quite sure of obtaining it. Barney tricks Steve into thinking that Duke Atterbury, the owner of the railroad, was responsible for the death of Steve’s sister, and that the train going across the bridge would have Atterbury on board. Tonto overhears Barney and Jake’s discussion and The Lone Ranger intercepts Steve before he could go down with the bridge that was blown up. Barney, discovering he was provided a ten second fuse, not a ten minute fuse, realizes he was duped. Head bent low, The Lone Ranger on the great horse Silver, swept over the country following the rails of the newly laid track, hoping to catch up with the approaching train that was unaware of the destruction at the Gopher Gulch bridge, carrying Duke Atterbury. When the conductor ignores the warnings of the Masked Man, The Lone Ranger shoots through the pistons to allow the steam to escape, saving the lives of Steve’s sister, who was married to Duke Atterbury.
Episode #22, Broadcast March 21, 1933
Plot: Money lender Tinkerby, who holds the mortgage on Abe Winters’ Circle O Ranch, will not extend the loan and demands the $10,000 by six tomorrow… or Abe Winters surrenders over the ranch. Abe asks his ranch hand, Hank, the boyfriend of Jane Winters, to take a four hour ride to Shady Corners, where a good friend and fellow rancher agreed to lend Abe the money in return for less interest than Tinkerby demanded. On route to Mitchell’s ranch, Hank is held up by a masked bandit named Nate, who ties up Hank and steals the letter of introduction, with the intention of stealing the money for his employer, Tinkerby. The Lone Ranger, keeping tabs on Hank, then steals the money from Nate and races back to help Hank reach the Circle O Ranch in time… and proves to the sheriff and a posse how Tinkerby was responsible for hiring Nate to intervene with the payment.
Episode #23, Broadcast March 23, 1933
Plot: Ben, an old hermit, mistook a stranger that stumbled into his retreat for an officer of the law, having killed dirty Dan Lawson six years prior. Ben fled a prosperous gold mine, a wife and son of 12. About the same time Ben confesses his sins to the stranger, Dan Lawson turns up alive and well at the home of Mary and her 18-year-old son, Jim. Dan claims Ben went to Mexico six years ago to get a divorce and marry a Mexican woman, but that now he is dead. Dan threatens to stake a claim on the mine, which needs to be renewed by tomorrow, if Mary and Jim do not allow him to work the mine with a group of rough Mexicans he brought with him. The Lone Ranger with old Ben on his horse swept into action by taking Ben to be reunited with his family. Jim, in the meantime, applies the bayonet as his father taught him, defending the land against the Mexican bandits. Ben took to the killing of white people more seriously that he did the stabbing of Mexican Bandits that tried to invade his home, shooting to kill but unintentionally wounding Dan Lawson. It is the Lone Ranger however, that brought about the redemption of old Ben, the saving of the claim, and the defeat of Dan Lawson.
Episode #24, Broadcast March 25, 1933
Plot: Dave Brinkman had acquired most of the smaller ranches in his section of the cattle country, and by fair means or foul he hoped to acquire the Lazy S Ranch, which though pretty well run down, was nevertheless a desirable bit of property. Miss Nancy, the “boss” of the Lazy S, rejects the offer to sell the ranch, forcing Brinkman to threaten a stampede – preventing her from making any money on the sale of cattle. She also rejects his proposal of marriage. Brinkman, armed with twenty hired men, former employees of the Lazy S who accepted the task for more money, orders them to prevent the cattle from reaching the railroad in time to complete the sale. Uncermoniously, early in the morning Brinkman was grabbed from his bunk and snatched from a sound sleep, blankets and all, by the Masked Man. Tonto throws rocks through the window to wake the Brinkman men. The plan to stampede the Lazy S cattle was forgotten in the danger that threatened Brinkman. Over hill and valley dashed the great horse Silver, and far behind him came the 20 cowmen. Thanks to the efforts of The Lone Ranger, Miss Nancy, along with her ranch hands Tim and Old Willis, sell the cattle to raise the money to keep the ranch working.
Episode #25, Broadcast March 28, 1933
Plot: The dance jamboree at the hall in Comstalk was suddenly brought to a stand still as Caleb Westbrook burst in, out of breath and full of news. The office of the local storeowner was robbed. Sheriff Uriah Nobbs claims it was his deputy, Dave Gratwick, who made a getaway on the sheriff’s horse. Unaware of what had taken place in Comstalk, Dave was following the orders given him by his superior as he led the horse of Sheriff Nobbs across the soil of Mexico in the Del Burro region, looking for the bandit camp to be sure that it was not men from there that had come to the Comstalk party planning trouble. Sheriff Nobbs, leading his posse of men from the Rio Grande, picking up the trail of Dave Gratwick on the Mexican side of the River, the posse came upon the body of a man stretched out on the ground. The sheriff quickly attempts to shoot and kill the deputy, unaware that the body was really Toro, a.k.a. “The Bull,” a Mexican bandit hired by the sheriff to kill Dave. Thanks to the interference of The Lone Ranger, Toro was apprehended. Discovering the sheriff tried to shoot and kill him, Toro confesses to the crooked election that gave Nobbs his job, and confesses how some of the stolen loot can be found on the sheriff’s possession. The former sheriff, Cal Stebbins, finds the proof and as Sheriff Nobbs attempts to make a getaway, Toro throws a knife into his heart.
Episode #26, Broadcast March 30, 1933
Plot: Jim Grant finds himself at the Half Way Inn, a wretched shack located halfway between the huge Circle Bar ranch and Fort Roanoke and one day’s hard ride from each. Jim was recently granted a pardon after serving ten years for the murder of Nate Fargo, former partner of the Circle Bar. The Lone Ranger and Tonto, trailing a head of missing cattle and investigating the unusual growth of cattle at the Circle Bar, discover Jim was hired by Mexican Joe to herd 25 steer that were stolen from the corral at Fort Roanoke. Jim, unaware the cattle is stolen, arrive at the Circle Bar, only to discover Gordon Fargo has been spending the past ten years cattle rustling. Thanks to The Lone Ranger, Jim’s pardon is saved from a fire and Fargo’s real identity was exposed – Nate Fargo never had a brother named Gordon Fargo, he is Nate Fargo in disguise, having faked his death using the bones from an Indian grave. Angry, Jim shoots Fargo dead in the presence of Captain Ryder, who arrives to take Jim back to prison. Having discovered Jim was innocent of the cattle rustling and he truly did have a pardon from prison, and that Fargo was a cattle thief working with the Mexican, Ryder returns to the fort with the stolen cattle. The Lone Ranger ensures the captain that Jim already served his time for the crime he just committed.
Trivia, etc. The Lone Ranger insists that Jim Grant is justified for the murder of Fargo, after shooting the crook in cold blood within the presence of Captain Ryder and a lieutenant, insisting that Jim already served his time (ten years) in prison for the crime. “There are so many times that justice goes awry that it is as well he is finished.”
Episode #27, Broadcast April 1, 1933
Cool Trivia: This was the first episode to feature the traditional “Hi, Yo, Silver… Away!” for the opening of the broadcast, rather than an abbreviated rendition prior. (Not used in script form again until episode 42.)