One of the most successful transitions from radio to TV. B movie actor Clayton Moore was The Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels, a Canadian Mohawk, played Tonto.
The pilot episode set the back story. Six Texas Rangers were ambushed by the Butch Cavendish gang. John Reid was the only survivor. His brother was among those killed. Tonto comes across Reid and brings him back to health. His brother once saved Tonto’s life so he returned the favor. Sis graves were dug to fool Cavendish into thinking all the Rangers were killed. When he put the mask on he constructed from his brother’s vest he put paid to Butch and his gang. He vowed never to kill as he and Tonto hunted down the bad guys. Tonto called him Kemo Sabe. It meant “Trusty Scout.” Years later is was changed to mean “Faithful Friend.” This series was a lot of fun.
October 6, 1949 episode: “The Legion Of Old Timers” w/DeForest “Dr.McCoy”Kelley – Banty Bishop, the foreman of the Circle K ranch, is robbed of the ranch payroll by some masked outlaws. He was supposed to meet Bob Kittredge (DeForest Kelley) in town. Bob is the son of the late owner and is taking over the ranch.
In town Red Devers and his boys say they saw Banty bury the payroll chest behind a barn. They take Bob to the location, do some digging and there it is. Since he got the money back Bob says he won’t prosecute but Banty has to clear out. He hires Red as his foreman.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto come across a sale sign for the Circle K. They’re convinced something isn’t right. They’ve been chasing Devers from place to place as he uses different names. Devers racket is to intimidate ranchers into selling. They run across a drunken Banty and get the story. Devers is holding Bob a virtual prisoner and has fired all the ranch hands and replaced them with his gang. That’s the gang that robbed Banty and framed him.
Time for The Lone Ranger to turn into The Old Prospector as he rides to the ranch. He tells Devers he’s the agent for an anonymous buyer. Before the deal is official he says he has to get the word from Bob. Devers has been working him over to make sure he cooperates. A beat up Bob comes out and says the sale is okay.
The Old Prospector says not to sign anything until the buyer shows up. They’ll know him because he’ll be wearing a mask. Time to get back to Tonto and Banty and take off the beard and put on the mask. The Lone Ranger tells Banty to round up all the ranch hands and come back. Banty calls them The Legion Of Old Timers.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto go ahead of Banty and his pals. It’s not long before he and Devers get into a free for all with Devers the loser. Then the Devers gang and The Legion all come together for a brawl and shootout.
December 22, 1949 episode: “Old Joe’s Sister” – Biff Baker and Cactus Gleason are in jail for multiple murder. The Lone Ranger and Tonto are due in to escort them to El Paso for their trial. They manage to break out of jail and ride off.
They head for Old Joe Peters cabin. He’s a hermit and is rumored to have a lot of gold hidden in the cabin. Biff and Cactus talk their way in and Joe stops painting the place and gives them some grub. He says his sister Abigail is on her way to live with him.
Biff pulls a gun and demands to know where the gold is hidden. Joe refuses to tell them. Biff changes clothes with him, shoots him and pushes him into a canyon. Then he shoots Cactus and shoves the body over a cliff. Now Biff can pose as Old Joe. Abigail hasn’t seen him in thirty years.
Along the way The Lone Ranger and Tonto run across Abigail. When they find out where she’s going they head for the cabin too. Biff tells The Lone Ranger he killed the outlaws. The Lone Ranger and Tonto go to the canyon to investigate. They find the bodies. Joe is still alive.
While they’re gone Abigail arrives. When she sees Biff’s brown eyes she smells a rat. Joe’s eyes are blue. It gets worse when Biff asks her if he ever wrote her and told her where his gold was hidden. She asks how his cat is doing. Biff says it dies. Abuigail grabs a rifle from over the fireplace and tells Biff he never mentioned a cat. They struggle over the rifle and The Lone Ranger hears the shot.
He goes inside and Abigail says everything’s okay. Then Biff pulls a gun on The Lone Ranger. Let the brawl begin.