Tonto and the lone ranger.

Tonto and the lone ranger (formally the Lone ranger, with his comedy relief sidekick Tonto, whose name means “silly” in Spanish) have recently been rebooted, with the no longer silly Tonto as main character and the lone ranger as his sidekick.  Since the audience is largely white, and Tonto is authentically alien (covered in warpaint and wears a dead bird on his head at all times) this, of course, went over like a lead balloon.  Even genuine native Americans are unlikely to identify with this authentically alien representative of culture that was already dead and mythical a century ago.

Even in its original form, when Tonto (Silly) was merely a comedy relief sidekick, the Lone Ranger was already left wing propaganda, being absurdly non violent, and having lovable injuns. But, as the overton window moves ever leftwards, has to become even more left wing.

The real wild west really was a place for heroes, for men who became legend.  Bad guys were generally hunted down and killed by heroes, not the state, thus the classic western:  Bad guy does something horribly bad, victimizing elderly widows, little girls, and at least one pretty girl.  Hero does something about it.

It really happened that way, happened a lot.  Evil bad guys does evil things, good guy takes care of it.  Plus, Cowboys, horses, hostile injuns, a prairie, a campfire, a saloon, and you have a western.

The ruling morality that the good guys acted out was that found in the bible, with a fair bit of the old testament, plus that found in Blackstone’s commentaries – a profoundly reactionary morality, in which, for example, good women got special protection and privilege, but only good women got special protection and privilege.  It was a morality that is not only profoundly and shockingly reactionary by our standards, but also profoundly and shockingly reactionary by the standards of London, New York back in the day.  An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth was not good enough.  Rather, the penalty for stealing a horse was hanging, the penalty for “insulting” a woman was hanging, the penalty for just about everything was hanging.  The civilized urban contemporaries of the heroes of the old west found the real life heroes of the old West disturbingly right wing.

And, of course, there were the injuns, which for the purposes of a rattling good yarn were depicted as ever ready to kill any white person they could get their hands on in the most horrible possible fashion, and in real life really were frequently apt to kill any white person they could get their hands on in the most horrible possible fashion.

What typically happened in real life was that the injun tribe would sell some substantial part of their hunting grounds.  They would use the money partly to buy food, but mostly to buy rotgut whisky.  One day, the money would run out, they would wake up with a horrible hangover, no food, and no hunting grounds.  Some of the young hotheads among the injuns would then go to their former hunting grounds and attack some settler family, preferably one with several cute young children, and perform some incredibly horrifying over the top atrocity of torture and mutilation upon those children.

They would then return to the tribe, and say “OK, now it is war.  Who are you going to back?  Your fellow tribesmen fighting for your lands, or these evil whites whose evil rotgut whiskey gave you this incredibly blinding headache?” The tribe would, quite unwisely, choose war.

This backstory tended to be left out of the Westerns, not so much because it discredited the whites as destroying the injuns with whiskey in order to obtain their land, but because it discredited the injuns as destroying themselves with whiskey.

41 Responses to “Tonto and the lone ranger.”

  1. […] Jim is giving us lessons from popular culture this week. Here he identifies movement in the Overton Window as witnessed in the evolution of Tonto & the Lone Ranger: […]

  2. […] reactionary look at the Lone […]

  3. thinkingabout it says:

    The Indians in North America brought it upon themselves, the Mayans brought it upon themselves, the Aztec brought it upon themselves, the Inca brought it upon themselves, the Australian Aborigines brought it upon themselves, the Maori brought it upon themselves, the Tasmanians brought it upon themselves, the Zulu brought it upon themselves, the list seems endless.
    Native people seem to have some curse upon them that causes them to self destruct and eradicate themselves every time Europeans enter their territory.
    Christian reaction is disgusting because it willfully shuns the truth to keep its belief system intact. I thought secular reaction would be different, but it seems like it has its own belief system, its own articles of faith.

    • josh says:

      Shuns what truth?

      All native peoples have been replaced by other groups except the one that haven’t. White often behave terribly. Christians often behave terribly. Native groups often behave terribly. What exactly do you think is being left out here? Could you be at least a little bit specific.

      • Contaminated NEET says:

        The truth that Europeans are an especially wicked race, and more importantly, the truth that thinkingabout it is superior to you because he is holier than you are. He’s not angry with you, just… disappointed.

        • thinkingabout it says:

          Of course not. There is nothing uniquely wicked about Europeans, and if anything Euros were more gentle with conquered people than Mongols and Turks have been (for which Christianity may have been responsible – as it most certainly was in outlawing slavery). But that doesnt mean you pat yourselves on the back for civilizing all dem savages in the New World. That’s the mindset that encourages invasions to expand “gay rights”. “trans rights” and all other kinds of weirdness.

          And Christian reaction shuns the truth that Christianity, like every other faith, is a bizarre construct that requires incredible amounts of mental gymnastics and gullibility to take seriously. A Virgin birth, a “triune God” with all its attendant complications, a Corpse that is brought back to life.. Though I guess wise Christians like Pope Benedict probably just use the stories as a pretext to push their reactionary message.

    • jim says:

      Evolution in action.

      The Indian position frequently resembled the Palestinian position: Instead of saying

      “Give us what we say is rightfully ours, or we will make war on you”

      their position usually was

      “Give us what we say is rightfully ours, and we will make war on you”

      That some survived indicates remarkable tolerance and civilization on the part of whites.

      Savages tend to be savage. Consider, for example, Detroit. Should civilized people have to put up with this?

      Of course civilized people should refrain from genocide if it can be avoided without too much loss of life among the civilized people, but there are intermediate courses between genocide and letting them run feral – you can put them in zoos and parks, you can domesticate them by taking the worst behaved permanently out of circulation, you can cautiously assimilate the best, eliminate the worst, and herd the rest into zoos and parks.

      • SMERSH says:

        California going from 90% white in 1950 to majority Mestizo in 2014 is also evolution in action.


  4. thinkingabout it says:

    man i can’t believe the extent white people go to to blind themselves to the fact that their ancestors basically ethnically cleansed entire continents of their native inhabitants. Bizarre rationalizations like this one about the Indians killing themselves. Or other moralising about how indians were slaveowners who mistreated their women (often heard from otherwise reactionary whites). Or that Indians weren’t really native to the land (often heard from people who then say immigrants shouldn’t be allowed into America).
    I’m fairly supportive of Pat Buchanan and reactionaries everywhere, but a reality based community needs to acknowledge that european colonization was an unmitigated catastrophe for the native people of the Americas, Australia and subsaharan africa. Western europeans vie with the Mongols for the title of most genocidal ethnic group in the last 1000 years.

    • josh says:

      “european colonization was an unmitigated catastrophe for the native people of the Americas”

      Well, duh. But this doesn’t tell us much about the justice of the thing or about what actually happened and why.

      “Western europeans vie with the Mongols for the title of most genocidal ethnic group in the last 1000 years.”

      A) Does genocide require intent? Injuns died out from diseases and resource competition more than violent conflict (which the Injuns started as often as the whites).

      2) There are a hell of a lot more people of African dissent both in an out of Africa as a direct result of white colonization, so I don’t think genocide is the right word in this case.

    • jim says:

      Clearly European colonization of subsaharan Africa was a gigantic benefit to to the natives, and the same is arguably true of European colonization of South America.

      That European colonization of North America was clearly to the disadvantage of the natives has a lot to do with their propensity to break peace treaties, usually by torturing children to death.

      • thinkingabout it says:

        How do you possibly think European colonization of South America and Subsaharan Africa was a gigantic benefit to the natives? It’s like saying the USA invading the Brazilian rainforest and plopping all the uncontacted tribesmen there into Montessori schools in LA is the best thing that could happen to aforementioned tribesmen.
        Or attacking a pride of lions and shipping them off to zoos in San Francisco is really to the lions’ benefit, because life expectancy is higher for lions in zoos, they never have to work for their living, they get healthcare, etc etc.
        Reverse the situation – if Japan invaded and colonized Alabama pr Portugal, setting themselves up as a ruling class to impart their superior culture, would you consider that a “gigantic benefit” to the natives?

        • jim says:

          if Japan invaded and colonized Alabama pr Portugal, setting themselves up as a ruling class to impart their superior culture, would you consider that a “gigantic benefit” to the natives?

          The difference between Japan and Alabama is not much. The difference between subsaharan Africa before European contact, and subsaharan Africa under European rule is gigantic.

  5. josh says:

    I did some genealogical research not long ago on just one line of decent (my mother’s father’s father’s father’s…). By the time I reached 1700 I had discovered two ancestors that had been kidnapped by Indians. Both were ransomed after a few years by white strangers from a different town. Both had brothers killed by the Injuns. One gets the feeling this happened quite a bit. Certain tribes did quite a business in kidnapping, not to mention, in the later west, horse thievery.

  6. […] Tonto and the lone ranger. « Jim’s Blog […]

  7. SMERSH says:

    “This backstory tended to be left out of the Westerns, not so much because it discredited the whites as destroying the injuns with whiskey in order to obtain their land, but because it discredited the injuns as destroying themselves with whiskey.”

    Nowadays though, we know better, thanks to the Dark Enlightenment of human biodiversity.

    Alcohol tolerance is genetic and those groups more recently descended from hunter gatherers are worse at handling their liquor.

    It wasn’t the moral weakness of the Injuns that made them vulnerable to drink, it was their genes.

    • jim says:

      Races that have long had alcohol have superior ability metabolize alcohol, and superior resistance to its harmful effects, but this resistance is not entirely physical, it is also mental.

      Races that have long had alcohol are also less harmed by recently discovered or invented drugs. So, exposure to alcohol eliminated not only those with lesser ability to metabolize alcohol, it also eliminated those with lesser self control.

      The short time preference of the native americans was notorious and well known. Strangely, we have now forgotten it.

      • SMERSH says:

        Their short time preference is… also genetic.

        Short time preference, poor resistance to alcohol, exceedingly poor resistance to Eurasian diseases.

        They were doomed I guess. Well, except for the other kind of native Americans whose descendants who just re-took California.

  8. outsider says:

    Apparently most “serious” films and many Oscar contenders are supposed to have a progressive propaganda element. There are probably more “Philadelphias” than “Bravehearts”.

  9. Ursus Maritimus says:

    Most tribes were socially totally unable to live up to a peace treaty. Mainly because they had absolutely no formal lines of authority, nobody that could order everyone “I’ve signed a treaty with those people, so don’t go and steal their cattle/horses/women or kill them” and expect to be obeyed.

    You get authority by doing daring deeds in raids. Daring deeds defined as stealing the most and best cattle/horses/women and killing the most enemies/strangers in the most torturous manners possible.

    When you got authority you still can’t command anyone except your women/children (because they know you will beat them otherwise).

    You can tell other warriors what to do but they are not bound to obey.

    They will probably obey if the orders seems like a good idea and you have proven to be better at raiding than them, since that is a suggestion that you know what you are doing.

    But if they disagree strongly enough not to mind possibly getting a reputation for being a quitter, they’ll just piss off and do their own thing. Maybe they’ll go back to the village. Maybe they’ll try to form a raid of their own that will do it their way.

    So now you’re the big man in the tribe, with the most women. Life is good for you. But life is not good for the young men in the tribe. They want women of their own. To get women they must get authority of their own. To get that authority they must do their own daring deeds in raids.
    So they go out and harass your neighbours, stealing their livestock and women and torturing to death their men, children and elderly.

    That is all well and good as long as your neighbours are other indians. In fact that has been the main industry on the whole continent for thousands of years. Fun and games for the whole family.

    But if those neighbours can call on the State Militia or the US Cavalry… oops: Outside Context Problem.

    And it doesn’t matter if you sign a peace treaty with them, since you have no binding authority over the young braves, especially not since “honoring a peace treaty” means ordering them to never grow up and become men…

  10. AWC says:

    The Injuns were also committing genocide against each other prior to the arrival of the white man:


  11. J says:

    I had the almost complete collection of the comics, fifty years ago in Buenos Aires. I knew that deep down he was evil, but I like him. The Lone Ranger was a pacifist left-winger, sure, but Marxist analysis maintained that he was a typical colonialist, ordering his colored sidekick about. Even in the episodes where Tonto was the hero, the tone was condescending. In fact, objectively, the Lone Ranger was something like the cultural support of American imperialism, pretending that those savage Indian-killer Yanquis were – or may have been – white-hat Justicieros.

    • jim says:

      If cultural support of American imperialism, why are Injuns nice guys, and frequently saints, and villains usually white racist bigots and (worst of all) southerners.

      Realistic Indian behavior would be: rape the women, mutilate the children, torture male prisoners to death. A bit of realistic depiction of Indian warfare would really support American imperialism.

  12. […] politically-incorrect short history of the Wild West. (Jim at his rough realist […]

  13. Sam says:

    There’s a book about this based on newspaper stories called “Scalp Dance”. It’s a good read and follows the line of what you posted. The Cherokee were screwed for sure though.

    • Red says:

      The Cherokee like the Hawaiian’s believed the bullshit about pacifism coming out of Harvard. Reality repeatedly beats the shit out of people who decided to show weakness in the face of strength.

  14. Ron says:

    I’ve heard this before. That the Indians were actually savage and brought their ruin on themselves (Mark Twain in “Roughing It” gets very blunt) I’ve also heard the reverse, and I do not know who to beleive in this matter.

    However, my understanding of the record is that the Cherokee were settled in, had ranches, homes, churches, etc. had basically adopted not just the means but the morality of the White man and were doing quite well before they were illegally thrown off their land.

    If someone can show me that the history I cited above is not true, then I would be obliged to that person, as I prefer to know the truth of things. If not, then perhaps there is a reason so many fell to alcohol that goes beyond a simple natural weakness to the same. Maybe in some situations being blind stinking drunk is the only decent thing left to do.

    • jim says:

      The removal of the cherokee was unprovoked white aggression, but this was not typical, and, due to arrangements to compensate them at the expense of other Indians, did not lead to war. What did lead to war is when some Cherokee murdered other Cherokee for selling land to whites.

      • Ron says:

        OK, but that implies that in at least one instance it isn’t the fault of the Indian which implies their social problems may be more circumstantial rather than intrinsic. If it turns out the Cherokee have been doing far better than other native Americans, then it would imply the social problems of other Indians are more intrinsic than circumstantial.

        Btw, I want you to know that I didn’t bring this up to bash White Christians. I’m trying to genuinely understand what is going on.

        I’m tired of seeing people hijack past wrongs just to create new ones.

        • RiverC says:

          The Indian did not have a homogenous culture like white man now pretends himself to have. The Cherokee were different than the others and in many ways an outlier. The idea that the Iroquoi and others such as them needed any aggression against them to be provoked is silly; the rule of differences that prevails among African tribes as well as say, the primeval peoples of the British Isles prevailed among them as well. Indeed, it is probable that white aggression against some tribes that would have worked with whites (rather than against them) was due in part to atrocities committed by either hotheaded youngsters or tribes who would brook nothing other than submission. As I hear it, some of these tribes did not distinguish between skin colors for murdering.

          I’m not amused by people imputing all of the blame to the white man when history makes clear the blame lies on both sides, if not often much more often on the lack of wisdom shown by the natives themselves. This of course is part of the new slavery; to deny a people the real lessons of their history so they will stay on the dole.

          • josh says:

            Its worth remembering that the political ecology of North America was completely disrupted by diseases and pigs before English settlement even began. The groups that the English encountered were the result of 100+ years of growth by formerly backwoods disconnected tribes gradually expanding to fill thousands of square miles of land . One should expect this to result in cultures that are barbarous and probably polygamous, and extremely sexual. They had not the time or experience with the malthusian effect of limited amounts of land in order to form a modus vivendi with respect to neighboring political communities or their own social structures.

      • Phil Sheridan says:

        Well, we did let the Cherokee keep their Negro slaves.

        They took their slaves with them on the Trail of Tears.

        Good pack animals, apparently.

  15. […] Tonto and the lone ranger. « Jim’s Blog […]

  16. Glenfilthie says:

    Yes and no, Jim. There is no morality in gulling ignorant savages out of their land. No one can question the ethics of a trade involving acres of fertile land for a few gallons of rotgut fire water. You can’t defend that.

    Having said that, though – it is the way of our species. Empires rise and fall. New rulers arise, the old ones are exterminated along with their supporters and the human animals changes with the times. Today the Indians victimize us; they get free food, free medical, free housing, free education, tax concessions – and still wallow and rot in a bottle of booze in spite of it. AND – the liberals make excuses for that and blame Whitey.

    I never liked the Lone Ranger and this last re-make was utterly contemptible. But what else can be expected of the mental and moral cripples of Hollywood?

    • Alrenous says:


      No one can question the ethics of a trade involving acres of fertile land for a few gallons of rotgut fire water. You can’t defend that.

      You just called injuns subhuman. Trade is one of the fundamental human abilities. Injuns can’t work out their own self-interest, according to you. They’re totally at the mercy of whites, who can.

      Why bother pretending? Might as well just enchattel them and be honest about it.

      • Glenfilthie says:

        I suppose I did.

        Injuns live by law of the jungle, Al. Would you have us enlightened superior species live by it too?

        That is what worries me about the so-called ‘Dark Enlightenment’. The men that struck those deals with the injuns did so because their conscience forbade them from blatantly killing the warriors and enslaving the rest. How better to soothe those troubling voices from your subconscious than to strike up a sham of a deal with a simpleton too drunk and uncivilized to understand the deal he is making?

        I am not arguing any of this, nor am I defending the niggardly behaviour of our injuns. This is a clash of cultures we won – and for some reason Hollywood is unhappy with the victory as are our pasty faced lefties.

        I have no problem waging war on those that woud do the same to me; but it is important that we do so for the right reasons. We must be sure we are the ‘good guys’ and not the injuns in any given conflict.

        • Alrenous says:

          Law of the jungle?

          Whites have or at least had total power over injuns. There is but to either deny or accept it.

          Denying it is what causes these cruel perversities. Denying merely allows the owners to abuse them without having to admit it, and simultaneously prevents less harmful yet more profitable exploitations.

          That goes for emancipation too. The blacks were never freed. The owner changed, it’s true, but the new one doesn’t acknowledge it.

          Heh. Neither side can call a spade a spade. The new owner can’t admit they substituted direct ownership for bankshot ownership. The slaves’ pride forbids them to admit they’re beholden.

          The new owners aren’t held responsible for their mismanagement or for the crimes of their chattel. That, of course, being the point.

          • Glenfilthie says:

            Good points. I guess we DO live by the law of the jungle whether we want to or not.

            I would argue your point that we are in control of the blacks and natives: they are hardly slaves. One only needs to look at the legions of reservation and ghetto trash. Slaves are productive, The vast majority of natives and a healthy portion of blacks are entitled parasites.

            Perhaps the way of it is that if we don’t live by the law of the jungle the natives and ever more militant blacks will force us to.

          • Alrenous says:

            Slaves are productive of what their masters force them to produce. American masters want victims so they can justify their sadistic altruism and therefore the depredations needed to feed it. They also wanted blacks to be the Mutt in a Mutt and Jeff act, but between their unruliness when unleashed and underclass apathy, it hasn’t been working out.

    • peppermint says:

      I watched a few Lone Ranger episodes a while ago. In one of them, I think it may have been the first one, Tonto says “Maybe this is like the White man says, Providence”.

      When have social messages not been stuffed into the mouths of diversities? The last time a diversity was portrayed as an entirely bad person was in Shakespeare; a play people love to put on today because they can positively portray miscegination and make the diversity into a tragic, human character, driven to his crimes by racism.

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