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

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by Sam Adams
July 5, 2013 2:32 PM
8 Comments
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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

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8 Comments

  • cadavra | July 9, 2013 12:35 AMReply

    You really weren't paying attention, were you? It's a tale being told in flashback to a little boy by an elderly Indian whose life is almost over and whose people and land have been taken away. So he would naturally alter the story to make himself the hero and the white man the goofball. As long as you keep that in mind, everything makes perfect sense, and anachronisms don't matter.

  • J Horton | July 7, 2013 12:08 AMReply

    Excuse me, Mr. Adams, but there's nothing about this movie that's supposed to be a history lesson. It's entertainment, that's it. I've read alot of history and I've never read anything about someone called The Lone Ranger or Tonto, or Butch Cavendish, etc. There are no historical events portrayed in this movie, other than the meeting of the two railroads at Promontory Point and that was at a different location in real life. This takes place in Texas. So, get off your soapbox and go find something else to complain about. You wouldn't know a good movie if you were in it.

  • Gerry Kachmarski | July 6, 2013 10:55 PMReply

    Svetlana,

    I agree 100%. The author of this risible article is a cretin who knows nothing about history, including the alliances the competing European colonial powers (France, England, Spain, and of course, the USA and Canada) made with various tribes in the Americas, which had their own shifting relationships of conflict and cooperation long before the arrival of these colonial powers. Of course, this history, i.e. interpretations of the past, are themselves the subject of debate, and change over time, the point being that to understand them you have to work up a considerable amount of intellectual sweat, something the cretin in question is clearly not interested in doing.

  • JEFTCG | July 7, 2013 7:28 AM

    Hmm. Another somewhat romantic viewpoint, although there is sly (and most probably unintentional) redemption in your statement "interpretations of the past, are themselves the subject of debate, and change over time".

    Regardless of the politics embedded within a Hollywood movie and the above article, I can tell you (and the unusually similar-themed "Svetlana" below) with a certain degree of accuracy (and understatement), that anyone who attempts to re-write the intense injustices which unilaterally befell the indigenous populous of this country does so with great disrespect to ancestral struggle and native achievement.

    Trust me, though: I will still smile real friendly-like at you in the casino.

  • Svetlana Stepanova | July 6, 2013 4:12 AMReply

    it is fallacious to assume that Native Americans had a united purpose against White Men - groups were in constant warfare with each other and each group who had contact with the White Man chose their own direction in terms of their relationships - some assimilated - some co-operated - some resisted

  • Fred | July 7, 2013 7:26 AM

    They were united at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, where they wiped out Custer and his
    Army out on June 25,1876

  • Fred | July 7, 2013 7:26 AM

    They were united at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, where they wiped out Custer and his
    Army out on June 25,1876

  • JEFTCG | July 7, 2013 7:14 AM

    Svetlana, that sounds romantic, but I'm not entirely certain that's accurate. Whether assimilation, co-operation or resistance, our relationship with white men was (and still is) uniformly strained at best, violent at its worst.

    Notice I said "our" as opposed to your "their".

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