Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Why The Lone Ranger's Anachronisms Make Its History Lessons Hard to Swallow

Photo of Sam Adams By Sam Adams | Criticwire July 5, 2013 at 2:32PM

There's an old joke, apparently drawn from a 1958 issue of MAD magazine, that goes something like this: The Lone Ranger and Tonto are riding across the plains when they see a group of Indians in full warpaint galloping toward them, tomahawks at the ready. The Lone Ranger digs in his heels and says to his faithful companion, "Well, Tonto old friend, looks like they've got us surrounded." Tonto replies, "What do you mean 'we,' white man?"

They slaughter an entire tribe of Natives, and there is no discussion. Just an awkward joke and a cut to the next scene. What?

Over and above Depp's performance, which the critic Tom Carson unfavorably compared to the notoriously racist caricatures of Stepin Fetchit, it's the way The Lone Ranger deals with its actual Indians that’s the most troubling, and the hardest to swallow.

Read more: I saw The Lone Ranger so you don't have to

This article is related to: The Lone Ranger, Johnny Depp, Gore Verbinski, Armie Hammer, Reviews

E-Mail Updates