Sunday, December 27, 2020

Greetings all you horse rustlers - gunslingers - lovely cowgirls - Confederate soldiers!

By Al Colombo, WMD Publisher

It's time to talk about where we're headed, and this seems as good a time as ever to do that. Life's been a bit tough for many of us on planet Earth over the last year. For many of us, the "new normal" is not as exciting and fun as the "normal normal," but it appears that this fact has fallen on deft ears as the "powers that be" are hellbent in seeing this lockdown through to the bitter end. 

So, let's dream a bit. Let's escape to the past for a few moments...

Apache Territory Movie Review

WMD author Christopher Robinson provides us with a review of the 1958 thriller, Apache Territory, staring Rory Calhoun. This Western flick is about "A cowboy [that] sets out to try to stop an Indian war and rescue a white woman captured by the Apaches." In the end, you can read Christopher's review here, click here!

The legend of “Stagger Lee” 

According to, Cecil Brown recounts the story of "how the real 'Stag' Lee became an iconic figure in African American folklore and how his story became the subject of various musical renderings 'from the [age of the] steamboat to the electronic age in the American 21st century.' The most famous of those musical renditions were 1928’s 'Stack O’ Lee Blues' by Mississippi John Hurt and 1959’s 'Stagger Lee,' an unlikely #1 pop hit for Lloyd Price. Versions of the story have also appeared, however, in songs by artists as wide-ranging as Woody Guthrie, Duke Ellington, Bob Dylan, James Brown, The Clash, the Grateful Dead and Nick Cave." More? Click Here!

10 Horrifying Stories of Life in The Wild West

"While the Wild West wasn't quite the world of gunslingers and desperadoes  portrayed in movies, it was still a dangerous place. With law enforcement often miles away, criminals flourished, and people were left to take matters into their own hands--often with terrifying results."

The first story, entitled The People Under the Floor, which took place in 1870, is an interesting read. Do I have to spell things out for you here? :-) Let's just say that things didn't always turn out so good for people who came in contact with the protagonist. But not to worry, Good always triumphs over Evil. 

The second story, entitled Clay Allison's War Dance, is somewhat a counter story to that of the first. The protagonist, Clay Allision, was considered to be one of the most murderous men in Elizabethtown, New Mexico. In fact, he led the mob that ended up cutting off the head of the protagonist featured in the first story. 

I'm not going to tell you about the other eight unbelievable stories of the old west in this collection, you're going to have to read them for yourself: Click Here

Cadwallader, Chapter 3

The third chapter of T.K. Hugh's Cadwallader is ready for your reading enjoyment. You will find it both interesting and entertaining. If you recall, toward the end of Chapter 2, Ben Cadwallader visited his home in the South where he'd spend time fighting as a Confederate sharpshooter. After nearly 4 years, he took a hankering to visit his childhood home, which wasn't far away. 

When he arrived, he found a Spencer .56 caliber pointed at his chest with a black man behind it. Unfortunately, his father wasn't there as he'd been murdered about two years prior. Ben decides he didn't want to linger any longer in the South anyway, so he headed out West where he expected to find excitement and fortune.   

Chapter 3 begins by returning us to our protagonist as he struggles to find his way through the hot New Mexico desert to civilization. Well, instead of listening to me flap my lips about it,  perhaps it's time you read it for yourself: Click Here!

That's it for now!  Be sure to tune in next Sunday at 8 a.m. when Christopher Robinson will bring you another full length feature story!  --Al Colombo

Please post a comment below!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to our wonderful Readers! 

   Please post a comment below!   

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Cadwallader, Chapter 2

By T.K. Hugh, WMD Author
Editor's Note: Greetings, all you big burly Cowpokes and lovely Cowgirls! The following is a fictional, yet realistic story of the Old West, one that most of you should relate to. Dust in your boots, the cyclic motion of the horse beneath you, the smell of tonight's campfire, and the heat of the sun in a hot New Mexico desert. This will be a weekly, long-running story in a special department within the magazine. We welcome all comments regarding this new endeavor in our weekly lineup!  To give Chapter 1 a read:

--Carrie Aulenbacher, WMD Managing Editor  

“Come on Ben”, I said to myself, “Just another mile”. I tried to shake out from under the fog of memory that had distracted me from my predicament for a few moments.

My vision was swimming something terrible by this time, but I thought I could just make out a small stand of grulla cactus in the distance. I figured that if I could make it that far, I might actually have a chance to make it out of the desert alive. There was supposed to be water in those plants. Not actually water, but if you cut into the bottom of a young grulla, there was this greenish yellow pulp that would release its moisture if you held it in your mouth and sucked real hard. The idea of any kind of fluid running down my throat seemed like a dream.

So I kept it up and staggered on across the rocks, kicking up little clouds of dust every time I took a step. I couldn’t seem to make my boots completely leave the ground. I felt like I had bags of flour tied around my ankles. I would fall, slowly pull myself to my feet, and walk on a few hundred more feet only to fall again. I could no longer stay in the shadow of the rocks if I hoped to make it to the cactus, so the sun had its way with me, baking not only my body but my mind.

I drifted off again….


I could feel the excitement growing in my stomach when I topped the tree lined ridge just above home. I had been gone for four long years in the War. It was a nasty business and I was glad to be coming into country that hadn’t been ruined by the War. There really wasn’t much around home but the mines, and with most of the miners off fighting, the hills of Alabama didn’t have any strategic use for the Confederacy or the Union.

I had traveled all the way to Milledgeville, Georgia on horseback to enlist in the Confederate Army within a few weeks of the news of succession making it to Birmingham. An influx of wealthy British investors in the coal and coke mines had renamed it after the English industrial city just before the start of the war.

My father had not been pleased with my decision to enlist for the Confederate Army. Of course, that wasn’t anything unusual. We had never been close for as long as I could recall. It might have had something to do with my mother dying, but I think it had more to do with the fact that I was more like him that he wanted me to be.

Over the years I had moved from a rough and tumble child to a young man with a liking for the wild side of life. By the time I was seventeen, I could drink the harsh homebrew whiskey made by the Irish and German laborers that worked in the mines and then work beside them the next day as I had inherited my father’s size and strength.

It was not an uncommon thing I did, enlisting and all. There were quite a few miners who had drawn their pay in the weeks after the War started and traipsed off to fight for one side or the other. I had never had any truck with slave owners as I grew up. Some mine superintendents would make deals with plantation owners as far away as Fenix City for slaves to work the mines when there were no crops left in the fields. The slaves would get fed, and their owners would get a small weekly wage. However, my father would not allow this sort of arrangement in the mines where he was in charge. I guess it came from his boyhood in Cardiff, which was an exit point for slave trade after Witherspoons Crusade shut down most English ports to the activity.

Thing was, I grew up free in those coal heavy hills and came to love the life I led as a youth. There was a great deal of regional pride and I just didn’t like the idea of the politicians in Washington telling anyone what they could or couldn’t do in their own state. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that there was a huge hole in my reasoning.

By that time, unfortunately, I was committed to the fight.

It was while I was a member of the Georgia “Crackers” transport regiment that people started calling me Ben. All of my life up until then I was Mabyn. Or just Cadwallader. It had been a couple of months since I had mustered in and everyone was excited about the possibility of our first encounter with the enemy. They said they were excited, but it was mostly fear. Anyone who says they are excited about the possibility of being shot is either a liar or just plain crazy. Although there were more than a few Irish and Welsh in the War on both sides, people still had a habit of turning any unfamiliar name into a more easily remembered one. So Mabyn became Ben, but mostly they called me Cadwallader.

I was just shy of 17 years old, so they handed me just about every dirty or difficult task that came along. That was until the first Sergeant found out that I could handle a hammer and anvil as good as their regular blacksmith. One of my jobs while growing up was as a ferrier for the mules and horses used in the mines. Since the hard pulling they did was rough on shoes, I stayed busy.

Eventually I became a second camp smithy. I stayed in that position for almost a year until the Battle of Dahlonega where they learned that I had skills with more important tools.

We were in the middle of being overrun. We had hunkered down as best we could behind the large granite boulders and fallen pine trees at the bottom of Gold City Mountain. The union had some wonder kid officer from up in Ohio sitting pretty on his horse about 300 yards away on a rocky knob giving orders. They must have been some pretty good orders too, because everywhere we turned there was someone wearing blue shooting at us.

So, not being real partial to being run through with one of those long bayonets, I grabbed me up a rifle, took a bead on him and shot him out of the saddle. That seemed to take the wind out of the charge and we were able to high tail it out of there without losing too many more men. From that time until Lee’s surrender I was a sharpshooter with every regiment I served with. Seemed I had the knack for shooting straight and killing without thinking about it too much. It was a war, and they were trying to kill me. I didn’t see much need in losing sleep over it.


I clearly remember the day as I was working my way down an all too familiar hillside where we had pulled up. I noticed that the old cabin and stockyard area was run down something awful. This just wasn’t like my father. If nothing else, Aneurin Cadwallader was a meticulous and precise man, especially when it came to his own land.

“Hello the house”, I called out. To ride up to a house uninvited in the post war south was to risk a belly full of buckshot.

“Hello yourself,” came a quiet drawl from a small side window. “Stay where you are and tell me what you’re doin’ on my land. By the way”, continued the voice, “I’ve got a Spencer .56 caliber pointed at your chest.”

I eased my hand away from my rifle boot and pushed my hat back real easy. I wanted to make sure that whoever was talking knew I was friendly. One of those old Spencers could put a hole in you a kid could fly a kite through.

“Well that’s kind of funny”, I said, “considering I was born and raised here. I roamed in these mountains for the first years of my life until I went off to join the war. Just how, would you be telling me, did this come to be your place?”

“Well now,” said the voice, “that would make you Mr. Cadwalladers son.” I saw the door crack open a little wider and a grizzled old Negro man stepped out on the porch. I also noticed that the big Spencer was still firmly trained on the middle of my chest. Suddenly, he inhaled sharply, and lowered the gun. “Light and sit if you want.” he said as he sank himself into one of several old cane rockers that lined the porch.

I got off my horse and tied him to a small dogwood tree where he began to nibble at the grass. I slowly pulled myself up the steps and sat so that I could see the old man and keep an eye on that Spencer.

“So, where’s my father?” I asked.

“Dead,” the old man told me. “Almost 2 years now. A group of raiders came through. Probably from Missouri. Thought that all these mines was gold mines. When they realized that we was mining coal, they herded all of the white men folk into the number two shaft and caved it in with dynamite.”

He turned and spat a stream of chewing tobacco onto the ground. “I been here every since. Didn’t seem to be no harm.”

“Stay,” I told him. Suddenly, I had no desire to remain either here or in the South for that matter. I quickly left the rocker and headed back to my horse. I had spent a lot of campfire time listening to men talk up the western lands during the War and it seemed to be as good a place as any to start my life over. So I began to ride.

Cadwallader Menu

Stay tune for Chapter 3, next week! --Carrie Aulenbacher

About the Author

T.K is a US Navy veteran and an engineer with over 30 years experience. 
He is a weapons enthusiast, and a student of the Old West. A man out of his time, he feels as if he should have been born a hundred years earlier. 

Both sides of his family arrived in America several generations before the Revolution. 

   Please post a comment below!   

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Cadwallader, Chapter 1

By T.K. Hugh, WMD Author

Editor's Note: Greetings, all you big burly Cowpokes and lovely Cowgirls! The following is a fictional, yet realistic story of the Old West, one that most of you should relate to. Dust in your boots, the cyclic motion of the horse beneath you, the smell of tonight's campfire, and the heat of the sun in a hot New Mexico desert. This will be a weekly, long-running story in a special department within the magazine. We welcome all comments regarding this new endeavor in our weekly lineup!  --Carrie Aulenbacher, WMD Managing Editor  

As the relentless New Mexico sun beat down on my hatless head for the second straight day
, all I could think was that if I ever got a hold of the woman who had put me there, I wasn’t to be held accountable for what I might say or do!

No Cadwallader had ever gotten himself into a mess like this, I told myself. And the name Llewellyn Mabyn Cadwallader was not going to dry up and blow away in these badlands like a forsaken tumbleweed never to be heard from again. No, sir, I was going to make it out and back to civilization and set everything straight.

My guns were missing, as was my horse and the rest of my kit. I was left with only my pants, boots and, for some reason, my knife. Although I had tried to rest in the day and travel after dark, this time of the month there wasn’t much of a moon and I was afraid that I might fall into one of the crevices or sinkholes that seemed to be everywhere. I really wanted to stay out of the sun, but my trail sense told me that walking at night would bring me nothing but grief. So I stayed in what small shadows the constant rock outcroppings gave; I was avoiding sunstroke, but the heat was sapping my strength.

As one step blended into the next my mind began to wander; wander back past how I’d gotten into this predicament and to my childhood in Alabama. The heat took me back into the rough mining area that I hadn’t called home in a great many years, through other rough patches I’d survived and even to the story of how my father came to this country…


My father, Aneurin, was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1810. His storekeeper father worked hard and his mother also occasionally helped in the shop. Her efforts to support her husband was the subject of no small amount of gossip by the town’s women, even though Cardiff was the biggest and most modern city west of London at the time. Women, after all, shouldn’t be sashaying around in public wearing their aprons for everyone to see.

From the time Aneurin was old enough to compare his fathers work to that of the rough, loud miners who frequented the store, he knew that he wouldn’t be following in his fathers footsteps. His heart simply wasn’t going to be content within the four walls watching the rest of the world go by.

He grew tall and wide, more like his mother than his father, and easily found jobs as a sluicer, driller or any other job that needed to be done in the mines that required strength and recklessness. It was these qualities that made him sign on as a deck hand on the Sea Goddess, a long, sleek, three masted schooner when he was seventeen. Aneurin’s goal was to eventually cross the great ocean to America. Although there were rumblings by the gentry to retake the former colonies for the crown back in those days, in Wales such talk landed on deaf ears. One of the things that the rocky country had in common with the Irish was a dislike for authority and privilege. Also, like so many others, he had heard all the stories about how riches waited around every corner in the new world. Aneurin discounted these stories as drunken accounts, but it was the talk about enormous tracks of unclaimed land that caught his interest. Land was there for the taking. That is, it was if you were tough enough and strong enough to keep it; for he had also heard the stories of the savages that inhabited these lands.

So with the small purse containing silver Druid Pennies he had exchanged for the Banc Y Llong notes that he had saved over the years, Aneurin Cadwallader boarded the Sea Goddess, young and full of determination and set off for the unknown.


What my father had not anticipated was the boredom and sameness of life at sea. As the youngest on board he had his duties and these were important to life at sea but not particularly exciting. Sweeping, mopping, bilge cleaning and such were his lot during the day, but there was a way they must be done, and he had to learn. It was the nights, though, when Aneurin paid particular attention, for then he learned the lessons that could save his life.

There were still pirates roaming the seas in those days, especially in the warm waters of the Caribbean. So each night the Chief at Arms held lessons in sword, pistol and hand to hand fighting. Father was a quick study and after a few months at sea he was named the first mate at arms over men much older and more experienced than he was. This was a mixed blessing at first, since there was always someone who wanted to challenge him for the honor (as well as the extra pay and rations) given to a mate. But the regular fights only improved his skills and after some time the challenges stopped and the older sailors grudgingly accepted him as the best hand to hand fighter on the ship.

Over the next two years, he made voyages with the Sea Goddess from the West Indies back to Liverpool and encountered enough piracy to make him happy for the harsh lessons learned on deck. His remaining life was proof enough that he was as proficient with the pistol and cutlass as he was with his hands. When he found that the next trip would take him to New York harbor, he made plans to leave the crew.


Four months after landing in New York, he found himself working as a driller deep within the No. 6 coal mine just outside of Delta, Pennsylvania. This was old, familiar work to him and his large back and strong arms made his hammer sing in a way that meant profit to the mine owners. In less than two years he was made Supervisor and another year found him on his way to Alabama to spearhead operations for the Aldrich Mining Company. Georgia had deeded most of what they now called Alabama to the United States in 1802. It took more than 25 years to finally make peace with Natives who called the land their own. The Cherokees earned their name, “the peaceful tribe” by quickly coming to terms with the government officials and early settlers in the area. The Choctaws and Creeks were a different story, however. Battles had been fought, blood was spilled and finally a tense peace was in place.

There were vast areas of wilderness on his trip from New York harbor to Pennsylvania, but nothing had prepared him for the seemingly endless miles of trees he had seen since leaving the transport wagons in Kentucky and boarding the River Horse ferry for his trip down the Tennessee River.

Occasionally, a member of one of the Indian tribes along the route would come to the rivers edge to catch a glimpse of the large raft; covered in tents, steered by a long tiller, which was a combination rudder, oar and sandbar pole. Aneurin couldn’t help but take notice of the fact that in skin and hair color, they weren’t that different from him. He had the naturally brown skin of the Welsh “uplander”, very unlike the Irish and Scotts who had migrated to Wales in the past few centuries. This combined with black hair that by now was almost down to his shoulders had caused him to be mistaken for a native on more than one occasion during his trip southward.


It was a typically warm November in 1840 when Aneurin and my mother, Mary, became parents. Mary wasn’t her real name. The fact was that he couldn’t pronounce her Cherokee name.

It was the summer of 1838, the start of the “long walk” that was later to be known as the “Trail of Tears”. The order was given by Andrew Jackson that all of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek and Chippewa tribes that could easily be rounded up were to be forcibly marched to the newly declared “Indian Nations” in Oklahoma territory. The woman who would become my mother had taken ill with fever and would have no doubt died has she been forced to leave her lodge. This made my father angry, and the way he told it was that he just up and told the young Lieutenant in charge that he and the girl were betrothed. It was probably the only lie I ever knew my father to tell. It was an obvious lie since everyone who knew him realized that he had never seen the girl before that day.

It saved her life, and over the months I guess they really did begin to love one another. They were eventually married anyway. Being a practical man, and not a little stubborn, he insisted on calling her Mary. At first she attempted to teach him Cherokee, but she soon gave up and her attempts at Welsh were also fruitless. Since both spoke English, that became the only language they spoke until she died, or so I heard. Almost nine months later to the day, Llewellyn Mabyn Cadwallader (as I was christened by the only Catholic Priest within 200 miles) came into the world.

It seemed I was born to cause trouble from the start. I wasn’t more than a couple of minutes old when the towns midwife left the small cabin I was born in and gave my father the news that his wife was dead.

Cadwallader Menu

Stay tune for Chapter 2, next week! --Carrie Aulenbacher

About the Author

T.K is a US Navy veteran and an engineer with over 30 years experience. 
He is a weapons enthusiast, and a student of the Old West. A man out of his time, he feels as if he should have been born a hundred years earlier. 

Both sides of his family arrived in America several generations before the Revolution. 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

What's Ahead on the Western Magazine Digest 12-06-20

Over the past two weeks, Martin Grams, Jr. has treated us to his two-part story entitled The Origin of Silver. Part 1 appeared in our November 22nd publication (click here) and part 2 in the November 29th edition (click here). If you're interested in reading part 2 or 1, merely scroll down and it will appear under today's story.

There are additional stories on The Lone Ranger on the WMD publication. Many of them have movies buried within them while others do not. Use the search utility lower right to enter The  Lone Ranger or any other of your favorite TV hero's. 

In general, I dare say that The Lone Ranger and Tonto movies actually meet and exceed other well accepted serial TV movies, such as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Use our WebLog Archive utility to browse our titles according to the various release dates.

Don't forget, we're always looking for new writers. Contact Al Colombo, publisher, at

Next weekend, December 13th, we'll publish a fictional story entitled Cadwallader, by a new WMD writer named T.K. Hugh! We think you'll enjoy them as we ultimately release individual chapters side by side with our other bi-monthly stories. We'd love to hear from you, so please send us an email:!

You also can reach any one of our writers by going to our Partner's page, selecting the writer of your choice, and on their bio page you will find their email address. To view our partner page, click here.

   Please post a comment below!   

Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Origin of Silver, Part 2

By Martin Grams, Jr.  

Editor's Note: This is part 2 of Martin Grams' wonderful story on how Silver began.
To read part 1 first, click here!

RANGER: Hi Yo, Silver! Awaaayyy!

The second origin story, dismissing the February 6, 1935 broadcast, was dramatized six months later on the evening of August 26, 1935, and would be dramatized again in 1938 and 1952, and an abridged version for a 1951 Decca record sold in stores.

As recounted by the announcer during the August 26 broadcast, “The Lone Ranger did not always ride Silver. Before the fame of the mystery rider spread throughout the length and breadth of seven states, there was another horse. One called Dusty.” With no trademarked silver horseshoes, Dusty was described as a chestnut mare, female, and not from Wild Horse Valley where Silver, his successor, was born and raised. This was also the only broadcast of the series to make reference to Dusty.

Nestled in a valley in the heart of green hills was a sanctuary, where man had never been. Here, the grass grew green and lush, and shady trees spread green boughs to cast soft shade. Here from the living rock came waterfalls sweet and pure. King Sylvan and his gentle mate Moussa ruled the land. Their court was made up of untamed horses that never saw a man, nor knew his inventions. Sylvan won the right to rule his followers by might and courage. He was the fleetest of foot, quickest of eye, and greatest of strength. There came a day when the mare, Moussa, bore King Sylvan a son. Then, the family’s happiness was complete. His fleet hooves pounded the turf, racing, turning, flashing in his joy. 

The great white stallion hoped the little one would see the strength and splendid body that would someday be his. He looked like a drift of virgin snow, with the sun turning every hair into gleaming points of silver fire. Almost as soon as he was born the white one began to display those characteristics which afterwards made him a leader of the band that his father ruled before him. Strong, graceful and fearless, with the heart and courage of a lion, but added to them was the sweetness and gentleness of Moussa, his mother.

For many months the colt grew in size, his colthood left behind him, until he could outdistance Moussa and run side by side with his illustrious father. Like the wind, the white one and Sylvan raced side by side. Two beautiful milk white creatures, King Sylvan and the prince. How the sun flashed from their sleek bodies… how they raced, cut, turned and whirled in sheer joy of life. Then there came tragedy to the life of the little one. The light of the world was covered for Moussa. She went to the everlasting valley of happiness, but not before her little son was full grown and ready to fight for his place in the kingdom of Sylvan. Day after day the brave horse fought his rivals in the field of battle. It was the prince’s duty to fight for and to hold his princely position. It was his duty to meet all comers and accept all challengers. Sylvan remained the King, but could his white offspring remain prince? Battles were furious. No quarter was asked, and none was given. Never did the white colt pause in the attack until his rival lay at his feet. Then there came the last to challenge, who went to defeat as had others before him. The white one lifted his voice in victory.

It was then that man came into the valley with misery and pain and tragedy. Squint and Butch, having robbed an Express Office, make for a valley rumored by Indians as having the finest horses in the West, in an effort to evade the posse en route across the Mexican border. With gun and rope to conquer or kill, the fast stallions were the goal of their craven schemes. The sight of man was a strange one to the wild horses and thundering hooves surged forward. The white prince sounded the battle cry. Thunder roared from weapons in the hands of the men, wild screams of pain came from the pack. But the fury of those hammering hooves could not be withstood. The men retreated, running to save their lives. There was no joy in this victory, however, as King Sylvan sent his soul to join that of Moussa. Sylvan’s strong white neck was cruelly hurt by the rope of the white men. Sylvan was no longer king. In his stead the white one should rule. But to what end? As he stood, the white horse found little left for him in the valley. His was the heart of a conqueror. He would leave the valley to cross that purple ridge in the distance, to see what was beyond. While he stood with proud head lifted high, there came again the form he had so recently learned to hate… man. *

* In the 1935 broadcast, Fred Reto played the role of Butch and Charles Livingtone played the role of Squint. Malcolm McCoy played the role of the horses in Wild Horse Valley.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto, trailing the outlaws, come across the magnificent white stallion. “Did you ever see such a splendid creature?” the masked man asked his friend. Tonto agreed the white beast was finer than old Dusty, who certainly earned her rest. Tonto expressed desire in killing the outlaws after finding the remains of King Sylvan. Walking over the top of the mountain and venturing into vast stretches of level country, the white stallion came across a new foe: wild buffalo. A huge shaggy buffalo, dirty mud color, a tangled mane, and fire breathing nostrils. Its bloodshot eyes glared at the white one in hatred and the sharp-hoofed feet stamped on the ground in rage. From the horrible beast there came a roar and then this monster came to life and dove at the white stallion in a rush that seemed to concentrate the fury of centuries. This was a battle to the death. Hooves churned the ground. Great clouds of dust arose and the reek of blood and sweat filled the air. The great head of the buffalo was like a battering ram as it drove into the white body of the horse time after time. Tumbling and weak, the white one grew unsteady, but his gallant heart knew no defeat so he fought on. With one last gallant effort the king of the horses raised his head to meet the death that was to come. The evil red eyes of the buffalo glowed in savage hate and victorious glee. It was the end of the reign of the white one until there was a thundering approach of hooves, a wild cry of an oncoming rider. “Come on Dusty! Hi-Yo, Dusty!”

The buffalo fell victim to the accurate fire of The Lone Ranger’s six-guns. Then a great peace descended on the white horse as he lay there wounded. The Lone Ranger and Tonto gave the stallion water and nursed his wounds. Then the white horse, trembled on weakened legs, fled. The Lone Ranger and his faithful half-breed Indian friend continued on the trail to Coppers Bend in further pursuit of the outlaws. It was not long before the outlaws discovered they were being hunted. Squint drew his gun and opened fire. The Lone Ranger and Tonto were forced to dive to the ground when a fatal bullet hit Dusty, sending her on to greater pastures. The white stallion, after leaving The Lone Ranger, seemed to feel that he left one that would be a friend, not an enemy to other horses. The Lone Ranger sought to overtake the men and never could a horse have been more welcome. On he thundered, to where the masked man stood. There he paused, docile, willing to be a servant to this man. The Lone Ranger swung to the white’s back, without saddle or bridle, and sought to pursue the bandits. For the first time there came the shout that was later to ring throughout the country… “Hi-Yo, Silver!”

Faster than any horse had ever moved, swift as the wind, a flash of white flame… the great stallion swept across the prairie, his strength seemed greater than ever before. He was inspired by love… a new love of horse for master. On his back a man he would ever serve. A man that brought him life when death was near. The outlaws’ horses could never match this terrific speed. They were overtaken, roped by the quick hand of The Lone Ranger, brought to earth and held until the lawmen could overtake them. Riding off to meet up with Tonto, The Lone Ranger spoke to his new steed: “You understand me, great-hearted horse that you are. Your rare beauty with your heart of gold, and your skin of silver. Silver, that’s the word. Pure silver and you’re mine. For now and forever… mine. Through storm and sunshine, Silver, through good or ill, we will travel together. Tonto is over there, Silver. That’s your name, fellow. Silver. Let’s join Tonto, my friend… our friend. Hi Yo, Silver! Away!”

Continuity was thrown out the door when you recall how The Lone Ranger was already riding Silver in the first radio broadcast of the series and picked up Tonto as a sidekick after a dozen adventures. As noted, this was also the only radio broadcast to make reference to a horse named Dusty, and future retellings avoided the reference. (Remember, Striker’s origins and conceptions evolved over the years.)

Silver was distinguished by other horses in comparison through two other qualities. The strength and speed of the stallion was emphasized numerous times, especially when The Lone Ranger raced to the rescue or had to ride out to fetch a vital component to ensure resolution. On a number of occasions, the masked man would tell his stallion how they would have to break a record of speed and ride like they never had before to ensure success.

The other quality was that only The Lone Ranger was capable of mounting and riding the stallion who was many times described as larger in size than most stallions. A number of supporting characters made reference on the program to having never seen a horse of that size before; others spoke legend of the steed riding the countryside à la will-o’-the-wisp. Few exceptions were demonstrated when the second party rode with The Lone Ranger, demonstrating Silver’s allowance with the masked man’s approval. For the broadcast of July 4, 1933, The Lone Ranger rescues a gal named Sally and sends her back to town, riding on top Silver, to fetch the sheriff and a posse. By August 19, 1933, Tonto was riding together with The Lone Ranger on top of Silver (even though Tonto would utilize his donkeys and cart interchangeably through the months). At the close of February 2, 1934, The Lone Ranger puts two lovebirds on top of Silver and instructs them to release the horse when they are home… knowing Silver will find his way back. On the broadcast of March 8, 1935, Tonto rides Silver into a café, leading a charge of stolen horses inside, wrecking the place to ensure the crooked Boss Proctor would not be in business for a long time. (The Lone Ranger jumps on board to ride off at the end.) For the broadcast of November 4, 1936, sensing danger after a lengthy time, the great horse Silver parted the strands and raced off to find Tonto after the masked man was apprehended, tied and bound. It was Tonto who rode Silver back to the ranch and to rescue. A similar scenario happened more than once. On the broadcast of April 26, 1935, The Lone Ranger is ambushed by Morgan and Dick Flint (a crooked sheriff) as he enters the town of Mustang. They scheme to rob a bank and frame The Lone Ranger for the crime. In the tussle of the capture, Silver manages to escape. As the crooks go to work breaking into the safe, Silver returns with Tonto. On the broadcast of December 2, 1936, when Silver obeyed his master’s command and dashed away from town, toward the distant hills from which The Lone Ranger had come, in search of Tonto.

Other amusements from the early years include Tonto making biscuits over the campfire to feed to Silver on April 23, 1934. “Good biscuit makum Silver strong,” Tonto stated to the masked man, possibly doubling as a cross-promotion for Silvercup bread. On the evening of January 8, 1937, outlaws attempt to place The Lone Ranger under arrest when the masked man takes the blame for the apparent murder, while Silver instinctively flees to fetch Tonto.

The Lone Ranger’s respect and admiration for his horse could be deputized for love and affection, and perhaps more than any man for his horse, demonstrated more than once on the program. The first of two noteworthy examples was on the evening of February 4, 1935. En route to Tombstone, Silver breaks his leg just north of the town of White River, forcing The Lone Ranger and Tonto to camp short of their destination. “I’d a thousand times prefer shooting myself than putting a bullet through Silver,” the masked man remarked. Sheriff Dave Slade of White River arrests Bart Conway for the murder of Mr. Hanford, much to the disappointment of Jessie Hanford, Bart’s sweetheart. The Sheriff orders Bart to shoot the wounded horse and Tonto stands in his way.

TONTO: You shoot’um me first!

SHERIFF: We can do that, too! Drill the hoss, Bart!

RANGER: Hold on! If you draw a gun on that horse, I swear to heaven I’ll kill both of you, and you’ll be the first men I have ever killed!

The Lone Ranger, knowing Bart never had the nerve to shoot and kill a horse that the Sheriff suggested needed to be put under, investigates to learn how Mr. Hanford committed suicide, and arranged his death in such a way that Bart would be accused and hang for murder. Hanford tied a string to a sapling outside the chimney, pulled on the string and shot himself with the death gun… which retracted into and partially up the chimney to prevent the murder weapon from being found.

RANGER: Tonto, we can’t get away from them on foot!

TONTO: We mebbe need killum!

RANGER: That isn’t in our book, Tonto… we can’t kill…

TONTO: Mebbe have to unmask.

RANGER: I… I can’t do that, either.

The Sheriff and his deputies, wanting The Lone Ranger to unmask, surrounded the vigilante and his Indian ally. The Lone Ranger faced a complicated situation until Silver raced to the rescue, fully healed from his sprained leg.

The second narrative was on the broadcast of March 19, 1937, when Silver raced to the rescue to save the masked man. The Beasley Gang rides into Durango and shoots up the town, killing a man in the streets. The gang aims to head into the San Juan Mountains, fearing the masked rider who sought to apprehend them in recent weeks. The Lone Ranger, however, is ambushed and shot, falling into the ravine, leaving the great white stallion at the mercy of the outlaws. The Lone Ranger tells his steed to play dead while he falls into the ravine, hoping the outlaws will pursue the masked man, not the horse. But his efforts were in vain. The outlaws quickly discover the stallion was not dead and attempt to apprehend the beast. The gallant stallion fought like one possessed of super strength and fury. The long legs lashed out again and again, and the silver shod hooves brought down a second man. A rope thrown over the powerful white neck was jerked from the hands of the man who held it, and Silver bared his teeth as he fought against the fiends who’d shot his master. Finally, Butch was forced to let go of the reins he held, and then every ounce of the great strength of Silver was put into one frantic leap. The horse broke free and ran off. For a long time, the Beasley Gang followed Silver up the dangerous rocky trail through the San Juan Mountains. Silver kept a good distance ahead of them and looked back from time to time to see that they were still following. The gallant stallion seemed to know what was in their minds. Though he felt in his horse mind that his place was back at the side of The Lone Ranger who had fallen into the ravine, he kept on, dodging and evading and keeping away from the outlaws.

The sheriff’s posse, meanwhile, had done its best to trail the Beasley gang, but had finally been forced to give up the search and return to Durango. They were a tired, travel-worn group of men, seeking vengeance for old Jake, their friend who had been shot and killed in the streets of Durango. Silver walked into town, past the sheriff’s office, where a horse with no rider did not go unnoticed. Despite his struggles, Silver was roped in a stable for the night. In his mind, he did not know that morning would be too late for help to reach his master, he only knew that he was tied and helpless while the masked man whom he loved was suffering and in grim peril. He struggled against the hard rope. He tugged until the rope bit into the flesh of his neck, then he squirmed and wriggled, and his proud head shook in fury at the confining lashes, but the rope held firm. Then Silver tried another means of escape. He turned until the rope was slack and then he gripped it in his teeth and chewed. With the rope weakened, he tugged again, disregarding the pain, and finally the strong rope parted. Silver gave a whinny of defiance and charged through the door of the stable. The sheriff and deputy were outside when they saw the horse race toward them. Observing the horse shod with Silver, the sheriff rallied his men back into saddle. Following Silver like a bloodhound chasing a fox, the Sheriff and his men take off for the San Juan Mountains, with Tonto joining the posse.

The Lone Ranger was painfully wounded, and badly bruised at the bottom of the ravine. Throughout the night he lay there with no thought of himself. His only interest was in the safe escape of his great horse Silver. Dawn brought a gray light into the ravine and he looked through the slits of his mask at hard-faced men who climbed through the underbrush to reach him. Beasley was anxious to see the face behind the mask. With guns in hand, feebly the masked man ordered them to stand away. He shoots the gun out of the hands of one gang member, then threatens: “I have still some bullets in these guns. Though I’ve never shot to kill… I’ll do so now! You’ve killed Silver! The next shot won’t be for your hand! I’ve one thing to tell you men! Your kind has never gone uncaptured for very long. The hangman’s rope will get you in the end.” Butch sneaks from behind to disarm the masked man but before the vigilante can be unmasked, the Sheriff and his posse arrive. A member of the posse shoots and wounds Beasley while down into the steep ravine the great horse Silver charged. He led the way for Tonto, the Sheriff and the posse. Into the midst of the outlaws he lashed with hard shod hooves and struck down the leader, Beasley! The lawman closed in and the fight was short and hard, but the outlaws had no chance. They were roped and disarmed and then Tonto helped the masked man to a sitting posture. The law takes the gang members back to town, leaving The Lone Ranger in good hands to heal from his wounds.

About the Author

Martin Grams Jr. is the author and co-author of more than 40 books including one about THE GREEN HORNET, and is co-author of the up-coming THE LONE RANGER: THE EARLY YEARS, 1933-1937.

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