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The Lone Ranger is a fictional masked former Texas Ranger who fought outlaws in the American Old West with his Native American friend, Tonto. The character has been called an enduring icon of American culture.
The Lone Ranger was named so because the character is the only survivor of a group of six Texas Rangers, rather than because he works alone (as he is usually accompanied by his Native American companion Tonto). While details differ, the basic story of the origin of the Lone Ranger is the same in most versions of the franchise. A posse of six members of the Texas Ranger Division pursuing a band of outlaws led by Bartholomew “Butch” Cavendish is betrayed by a civilian guide named Collins and is ambushed in a canyon named Bryant’s Gap. Later, an Indian named Tonto stumbles onto the scene and discovers one ranger is barely alive, and he nurses the man back to health. In some versions, Tonto recognizes the lone survivor as the man who saved his life when they both were children. According to the television series, when Tonto left the Reid place with a horse given him by the boy Reid, he gave Reid a ring and the name Kemo Sabe, which he said means “trusty scout”. Among the Rangers killed was the survivor’s older brother, Daniel Reid, who was a captain in the Texas Rangers and the leader of the ambushed group. To conceal his identity and honor his fallen brother, Reid fashions a black domino mask from the material of his brother’s vest. To aid in the deception, Tonto digs a sixth grave and places at its head a cross bearing Reid’s name so that Cavendish and his gang would believe that all of the Rangers had been killed.
In many versions Reid continues fighting for justice as The Lone Ranger even after the Cavendish gang is captured.