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The Lone Ranger is a film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer that reunites Johnny Depp with his Pirates of the Caribbean and Rango director Gore Verbinski. It is the latest adaptation of The Lone Ranger franchise. It was released on July 3, 2013.

In the film Armie Hammer (The Social Network) plays the title character, while Johnny Depp portrays Tonto.

The trailers can be viewed here and here.


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This film provides examples of:

  • Accidental Aiming Skills: The traditional Improbable Aiming Skills are replaced with this, giving the Ranger a reputation for being a crack shot when he kills two guys with one bullet.
    Tonto: Great shot!
    Ranger: [horrified] That was supposed to be a warning shot!
    Tonto: In that case, not so good.
  • Action Dress Rip: Rebecca tears the bottom off her dress before crawling along the outside of the train.
  • Action Survivor: Rebecca Reid is a woman in the Marion Ravenwood mold: While she's no brawler, she doesn't panic and handles a shotgun like a pro when the "Comanches" are attacking her farm, takes every available opportunity to defy or evade her captors, and, when possible, picks up a weapon to defend herself.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adaptational Villainy: This movie contains probably the most evil version of Butch Cavendish to date.
  • Adaptational Wimp: John Reid is somewhat less of a badass compared to his radio and TV versions. Justified as most versions of him are a Texas Ranger before donning the mask while this one is a City Mouse lawyer.
  • Advertised Extra: Helena Bonham-Carter is in the film for about 10 minutes tops (in a 150 minute film). The marketing made her out to be the lead female.
  • Advertising by Association: The reboot had trailers boasting that it was from producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski, the people behind Pirates of the Caribbean. But instead of stating that outright, they just show the Pirates logo.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Tonto's pocket watch was a superficial reward he got in exchange for leading Cavendish and Cole to the silver and the extermination of his tribe, leading to a life of extreme regret and exile as he hunted down the two all his adult life to return the watch and kill them. None of this experience stops him from stealing yet another pocket watch in the end.
  • Always Someone Better: Everyone believes Dan is the better brother than John.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Tonto vanishes from the sideshow after the conclusion of his story, and the only sign of his presence left is a live crow that flies past the young boy who was listening. Did Tonto die, and the crow represents his spirit flying off? Was he already a ghost, who has now passed on after telling the boy his story? Or was he never alive at all, and the boy, being a fan of the Lone Ranger, was just daydreaming the whole thing? Further confused by the mid-credits scene, where we see the aged Tonto walking off away from the modern city into the freedom and beauty of a wide-open Western landscape...that's identical to the one painted on the wall in his enclosure, leaving it up for debate whether this represents him dying and his spirit returning to the wilderness, or simply an old man who's lived far too long returning to the comfort of a West that still exists only in his memories.
  • Anachronism Stew: Countless anachronisms, justified by Unreliable Narrator and Rule of Funny.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Tonto and Reid have differing opinions when it comes to justice.
  • Arc Symbol:
  • Arc Words: Numerous.
    • The phrases "Never take off the mask" and "Spirit Walker" appear prominently throughout Tonto's narration, always in reference to John Reid. "Spirit Walker" is spoken for the last time (and the first time by John himself) when he saves Tonto's life by shooting Cole's gun away from across a canyon, with a handgun, while on horseback, aiming at a moving train.
    • "Where the river begins." Tonto's village was located at the mouth of a river next to a massive silver deposit, and Cavendish and Cole wiped them all out to keep its location a secret. Later, Tonto and Reid find Cavendish back at that same silver mine.
    • "He's coming for you." Spoken by Rebecca to her captors three times, once to Cavendish and twice to Cole. The final time, when Reid appears to rescue her from onboard Cole's train, she smiles and tells him "I told him he was coming for you." Notably, this last example is the first time she's knowingly referring to John and not to Dan.
    • "Make trade." At first it just seems like Tonto's Catch Phrase and another sign of his eccentricity, but then you learn that he accidentally got his entire tribe wiped out as a boy in exchange for a broken silver pocket watch. At the climax of the film, he inverts it by tossing Cole the watch and telling him "Bad trade", before leaving him to die as his train goes over the broken bridge.
  • Artifact of Doom: Tonto considers silver to be this, considering how it got his people killed. He wants to take all the silver and send it back to the river where it came from.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Regardless of how "out of balance" nature is, desert hares could never eat meat. They lack the teeth and internal structures to chew and digest protein, which is why they are herbivores. The canine teeth seen on the pack of carnivorous rabbits, while scary, are simply impossible. Of course, given the Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane nature of the film's settings, one could argue that nature is supernaturally out of balance as well, to the point of completely changing the biology of established creatures.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Real-life Texas does not have the the rugged, pine-forested mountains seen in the climax. Also, Promontory Point (where the transcontinental railroad was completed) is in Utah.
    • There is a real mountain shaped like a face...but it's called Cochise Head and it's in Chiricahua National Monument in Arizona.
  • Audience Surrogate: The boy in the Lone Ranger costume that is listening to an aged Tonto tell the story.
  • Ax-Crazy: Butch Cavendish.
  • Badass Boast: Butch Cavendish takes it in stride when he finds out that one of the Rangers survived the canyon massacre.
    Butch: Already killed him once. Won't have to answer for it when I kill him again.
  • Behind the Black: A minor example in the climax, when Butch Cavendish doesn't notice that Silver is running alongside the train, despite dangling Rebecca over the side, until he drops Rebecca right into Silver's saddle.
  • Berserk Button: Tonto does not react well to being called a "savage."
    Tonto: (holding a knife to Reid's throat) Indian kill like Coyote. Leave nothing to waste. Tell me, kemo sabe, what does the white man kill for?
  • Best Served Cold: Emphasis on "served".
    Cavendish: You take something from me, you better be damn sure I'm gonna take something from you.
  • BFG: Red's ivory leg gun.
  • Big Bad: Latham Cole.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Cavendish does most of the dirty work for Cole, but they seem to otherwise be on fairly even ground and Cole doesn't order him around much. Cemented by the fact that Tonto found both of them in the desert when he was a child and helped nurse them back to health, and holds them both equally responsible for the destruction of his village accordingly.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Tonto is a Spanish word meaning "fool". Lampshaded at the end of the movie.
    John Reid: You know what "Tonto" means in Spanish, don't you?
    • Maybe that meaning is why the character was renamed Toro ("bull") in the Spanish dub.
  • Black Comedy: For a Disney movie, this film has a remarkably mean-spirited sense of humor.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Rebecca's black farmhand Joe is the only casualty of the first "Comanche" raid on her farm.
  • Blatant Lies: When the crowd gathered to celebrate the opening of the transcontinental railroad is distracted by a loud explosion and plume of smoke in the distance, Cole brushes it off.
    Cole: Tunnel digging! No reason for concern!
    • Played for Laughs earlier when John Reid questions how Tonto knows so much about Red's dance hall. Tonto smoothly replies "A vision said it would be so", but immediately after Reid wanders off, one of the passing girls greets him with a grin and a lascivious "Hiiiii, Tonto".
  • Board to Death: "For the position of chairman, I nominate Mr. Cole."
  • Bond One-Liner: A Chinese Laborer and a group of his fellows tell Butch Cavendish they're not going to go back into the silver mines. Butch shoots the leader.
    Butch's goon: Boss, they don't even speak English!
    Butch: I think they understood.
  • Born Lucky: Whether it's blind luck or Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane (Tonto is under the impression he can't be killed, but Tonto is crazy), John Reid is exceedingly lucky: he survived the initial ambush, had every single bullet miss him while he was essentially a human shooting gallery, killed two men with one bullet, survives an execution and then a cave-in, and then makes another improbable shot to disarm the Big Bad.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Particularly during the climax. They're using six-shooters while fighting on top of trains, riding horses etc, and we never see a single one of them reload until the climax. Before that point many of the smaller action sequences averted the trope, notably a double-barreled shotgun with only 2 shots per load.
  • Brownface: The desire to avert this was more than likely a major reason why we never see the adult Tonto without a thick coating of bone white warpaint over his entire face.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: A more justifiable variation than most, when Cavendish grabs a US Army soldier to block Comanche arrows.
  • Buried Alive: The "sand necktie" version happens to the Lone Ranger and Tonto in the Comanche camp. And, just when they think things can't get any worse, scorpions starts crawling out of the ground.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Butch Cavendish doesn't recognize Tonto after slaughtering the latter's village when he was just a boy.
    Butch: I know you, Injun?
  • But Now I Must Go: The Lone Ranger turns down joining the community he's saved and settling down with the woman he loves in favor of being the Lone Ranger.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Lone Ranger himself throughout a massive portion of the film, until he finally becomes the badass we know and love.
  • By-the-Book Cop: John Reid starts out as a By-The-Book Prosecutor (The Book in this case being John Locke's Two Treatises On Government), going so far as to insist on taking Tonto back into custody after he saves his life and helps him escape from a derailed train. His struggle through the film with whether To Be Lawful or Good inevitably turns him into a Cowboy Cop (ha!), albeit a scrupulously moral one.
    • One might say that the script kind of turns the simple "lawful or good" yarn on its head. In contrast with regular and even revisionist Westerns, here the evil, cynical and scheming villains turn out to be not some sociopathic deviation or even excess; they're portrayed as an inevitable societal norm in the implied future. The reveal of the villain's morbid arrangement before the finale is quite familiar and feasible for a modern viewer, and wouldn't look out of place in a much more dark and serious film about corporations and political corruption; it's the cartoonish, fairy-tale finale that reverses everything - and again, only in Tonto's retelling! In this context, Lone Ranger himself turns from an unruly helper of the government that's ultimately good and just to a desperate rebel vigilante who keeps on fighting despite the all-permeating corruption. Ditto the "never take off the mask" slogan and Tontonote  walking away directly from the heart of the City into the freedom and integrity of an empty canyon... painted on a wall.
  • Canary in a Coal Mine: Tonto scares all the men out of the silver mine by walking around disguised as a Chinese Laborer working the mine and carrying a cage containing his dead crow.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Red lost her leg and her career as a ballerina with it, ending up as brothel madam in a Wretched Hive instead. Not surprisingly, she's bitter about it.
  • Catch Phrase: Tonto has two: "Make trade" and "Something very wrong with that horse", the latter always aimed at Silver. He subverts the first one near the end with "Bad trade" as he confronts Cole.
  • Cavalry Officer: He and his regiment are called in to take care of the Comanche thinking they broke the treaty and raided settlements. He later joins forces with the villains after learning he spilled innocent blood.
  • Chained Heat: John Reid and Tonto spend their first fight against Cavendish shackled together.
  • Character Tics: Cole has a distinctive way of twirling his pocketwatch, which Tonto can be seen trying to emulate before he's apparently even met the man. This hints at the fact that they've met before; Cole being the man who gave Tonto the watch when he was a child in response for being guided to a silver prospect, shortly before wiping out Tonto's entire tribe.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The dead bird that Tonto wears as a hat actually proves its worth near the end of the second act when he uses it to fake a Canary in a Coal Mine situation.
  • Chekhov's Gun: An entire trainful.
    • The silver bullet. Fired by Reid to knock Cole's gun out of his hands.
    • Danny's slingshot. Used to distract Fuller at a crucial moment, saving Tonto's life.
    • The grapes. Fired from the aforementioned slingshot.
    • Red's Leg Cannon. Used to blow up a wagon full of explosives as a distraction.
    • Dan's Comanche necklace shows the location of the mountain range where Cavendish's silver mine is located.
    • The pamphlet to Red's bordello that Collins gives Reid is later used by Tonto and Reid to track down where Cavendish took Rebecca and Danny after Reid realizes that Collins betrayed them.
    • Cole's nitroglycerin. Dan and Tonto use half to blow up the bridge, and hide the other half in Red's pickle jars.
    • The bird cage Tonto steals from Red's office. Used to hold his dead crow to scare the workers out of the silver mine, causing the train to back up and shield Dan from the firing squad.
    • The raw silver rocks. When Cole is shooting at Tonto in the climax, Tonto picks up the rocks and throws them back at him as projectiles.
    • Even the jar of pickles on Red's bar comes back in the climax, when those same jars are used to hide explosives.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The church congregation singing "We shall gather round the river" on the train is the same temperance mob that bursts into Red's bordello looking for Tonto. Noticeably, the preacher (and leader of the mob) is walking on crutches from where Butch's goon shot him in the leg.
    • Red and her black bouncer. The latter parks the wagon full of "pickles" where Red needs it, the former blows it up with her Leg Cannon as a diversion for the heroes.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Why yes, John Reid did indeed practice boxing while he was in law school.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Tonto's dead bird hat seems like just a particularly bizarre costume choice for most of the movie, until we get a flashback to his backstory and learn that it was his pet crow as a child, and presumably killed by Cavendish and Cole when they slaughtered Tonto's entire village. Tonto found its body and held onto it because it was the only reminder of his former village that he had left.
  • City Mouse: John Reid starts off as a bookish lawyer who is out of place in the frontier.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Tonto is crazy even by the standards of other Comanches.
  • Cool Horse: Silver. Related tropes include Horseback Heroism, Sapient Steed, Rearing Horse, and White Stallion.
  • Cool Mask: Cut from his dead brother's leather vest, with the eyeholes formed by the bullet holes that killed him.
  • Cool Old Guy: Collins, the tracker who's known the Reid brothers since they were kids. Or not.
  • Cool Train: The 'Constitution' and 'Jupiter', both locomotives were specially scratchbuilt for the film along with all of the rolling stock and track too.
  • Dangerously Close Shave: One of Cavendish's men is giving him a shave when a loud noise distracts him. As the terrified mook stammers an apology, instead of killing him, the uber-creepy Cavendish grabs the razor and licks it.
  • Damsel out of Distress: While she ultimately needs the Lone Ranger to save her, Rebecca Reid is not helpless. She knows how to handle a gun, refuses to be cowed by her captors, and repeatedly attempts to rescue herself. She even climbs on the outside of a moving train at several points.
  • Dead-Hand Shot: As Cole dies, we see his hand open to release the watch into the river.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tonto.
    Dan Reid: (after the train where Tonto was imprisoned has crashed) What's your crime, mister?
    Tonto: (blithely) Am Indian.
  • Death by Materialism: Latham Cole perishes at the bottom of the river, pinned beneath the tons of silver ore he was attempting to hijack.
  • Deconstruction: Of Westerns in general, and the Ranger in particular. One could make a very strong argument that nobody has a more cynical opinion of the franchises than this particular portrayal of the Ranger.
    • Far from the square-jawed, morally upstanding, fearless Ideal Hero with Improbable Aiming Skills of the original film serials and radio series, this film's John Reid is a buffoonish City Mouse lawyer who is wildly out of his depth in the Wild West, and even after becoming the Ranger, spends most of his time as the Butt-Monkey of his own movie. Tonto initially rejects the idea of him becoming the Ranger in favor of his dead brother Dan, neither his allies nor his antagonists have any respect for him (constantly questioning the necessity of him wearing a mask) and while he does eventually level up over the course of the movie, it's debatable how much of this is due to his own action and how much of it is just him being improbably lucky, chosen by spirits, or whether any of that ever happened at all.
    • Instead of fulfilling the Noble Savage or Magical Native American archetypes that the original character pioneered, Tonto is a semi-deranged outcast, not only from white society but also from his own people, haunted by the guilt of inadvertantly getting his tribe massacred. And as the Framing Device proves, he ends up as a literal sideshow attraction, rotting in the back room of a carnival for white customers to gawk at. The only person who's interested in hearing the stories of his adventures is a little kid, and again, it's debatable whether any of them ever actually occurred.
    • The antagonists of this film are far nastier than any previous Ranger media, both in terms of being driven by more recognizably human sins than just "generic Black Hat bad guys" and in terms of the actual villainy they commit. Instead of being a mere bandit chief, Butch Cavendish is a horrifying cannibalistic psychopath, more recognizable as a wild animal than as a human, who Tonto believes to be a Wendigo in human form. And most chillingly of all, even someone as evil as Butch is still a slave to the true power in the West, wealthy white businessmen like Cole who will stop at nothing to "civilize" the West according to the ideals of Manifest Destiny.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: At the start, John is a violence-adverse city-slicker law student. Tonto is admittedly crazy. The idea of wearing a mask is lampshaded. Yet, by the end of the film, Tonto's moral fortitude, combined with John's idealism and faith in the law come together to create the Ideal Hero duo. John also takes a few levels.
  • Decoy Antagonist: Butch Cavendish proves himself to be a monstrous human, to the point where Tonto's belief that he's a Wendigo becomes more and more plausible. The true Big Bad is actually Latham Cole, who doesn't have as much blood (in the literal sense) on his hands, but all the pain and misery he's caused might as well make him the true Wendigo.
  • Defiant Captive: Rebecca to Cavendish and later, Latham Cole.
    Rebecca: My husband will kill you for this.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The treatment of Native Americans, including calling them savages, reflects the time period the film takes place in.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Butch was the Big Bad in the 1981 film The Legend of the Lone Ranger, but here, he's Cole's right-hand man.
  • Disney Villain Death: Tonto leaves Latham Cole to fall to his death along with all the silver his plan revolved around mining.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Men get terribly curious about Red's ivory leg.
  • Does Not Like Guns: John, ironically, considering his role in the movie and the gunslinging setting.
  • Domino Mask: Made from the vest of the Lone Ranger's brother. The eye holes were made from the bullet holes.
  • The Dragon: Butch Cavendish turns out to be working for Cole, the Big Bad.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Justified, since they're all using single-action revolvers.
  • Dub Name Change: In Spanish versions, Tonto is called Toro because “tonto” is Spanish for “idiot”.
  • Dying Race: The Comanche play this up.
    "We are already ghosts."
  • Enemy Mine: A meta example—the legalese on the publicity material and the film gives the owner of The Lone Ranger property as "Classic Media", which is currently also known as DreamWorks Classics, a unit of DreamWorks Animation. (DWA bought Classic Media well after the film went into its original development.)
  • Eunuchs Are Evil: Cole is hinted to have become a eunuch during the Civil War.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • In his first scene, John Reid kindly picks up a little girl's dropped doll and tries to toss it back to her, only to accidentally throw it out the window. When her mother invites John to pray with them, he politely declines by saying "[This book]'s my Bible right here", and holds up a copy of John Locke's Treatises of Government. Good-hearted, bumbling, and highly educated, that's John Reid right there. Notably, the camera also shows us that his "Bible" is opened to a page where he's using a photo of Rebecca as a bookmark.
    • Rebecca's character is established quite subtly, without her saying a word, when we see her eyeing an expensive silk shawl with longing, but gives it back (even after the merchant offers it to her for free) because she knows she doesn't have the kind of lifestyle that can afford such luxuries.
    • Butch Cavendish is first seen slumped against the wall in a shadowy corner of the train car, looking half-unconscious and with his face hidden from view. When one of the train guards taunts him about his upcoming hanging, Butch sloooowly tilts his head up to stare at the guy and smiles, telling us everything we need to know about this guy without him saying a word. The guys in Dan's posse swapping grisly stories of Butch's supposed cannibalism while waiting for his arrival almost seems like an afterthought by comparison.
    • Dan establishes himself as an ultra-competent badass when he notices that something is wrong because the train isn't slowing down to reach the station, and then lassos a goon off the roof of the train while riding below it on horseback.
    • Latham Cole's is masterfully subtle, in that it reads two completely different ways on a first and second viewing. The first time, you notice him as a kindly but slightly out-of-touch businessman, offering Rebecca the expensive shawl for free and showing Danny the proper way to play with a birdcage toy. The second time, you notice he has the broken watch from Tonto's backstory and notice how he's carefully grooming Rebecca and Danny to become his wife and adopted son, respectively, by subtly insulting Dan and offering to buy them expensive gifts to show how much better Cole would be at providing for them.
  • Exact Words: After John was shot with an arrow.
    John: "I thought I couldn't be shot?"
    Tonto: "I said you couldn't be killed."
  • Face–Heel Turn: Captain Fuller gets blackmailed into going along with Cole and Cavendish's scheme after he found out the Comanche he killed were innocent.
  • Failure Hero: The Lone Ranger may kill the bad guy, but he utterly failed to save the Comanches from being massacred.
  • False Flag Operation: Butch Cavendish and his gang disguise themselves as Comanches and attack white settlements in order to make it look like the Comanche have violated the treaty.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The Lone Ranger's brother has his heart cut out and eaten by Cavendish. It's seen through the eyes of John in almost complete silhouette.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: The film is quite violent at times, but for the most part it's Bloodless Carnage with a Gory Discretion Shot or two.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Tonto's backstory involves him finding and rescuing Cole and Cavendish from the desert. After being nursed back to health, they proceeded to slaughter his tribe for silver.
  • Forced Friendly Fire: Tonto hijacks a train and a cavalry soldier opens fire on him with a Gatling gun. The Ranger lassos the gun barrel and redirects it towards the soldiers that are trying to apprehend Tonto, forcing them into retreat.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Sharp-eyed viewers will notice that John is using a photo of Rebecca as a bookmark while reading on the train, establishing the connection between them well before they first actually interact.
    • Tonto says silver made Cavendish, and it would kill him. While this seems to be foreshadowing the silver bullet, it's ultimately how Cole meets his end; crushed under the very silver he spent all this time mining that made him and Cavendish the people they are. Though that silver bullet does end up saving Tonto's life.
    • Also a hint that the story being told about the kid who got his tribe killed was indeed Tonto.
    • The fact the chief mentions two white men that Tonto lead to the silver.
    • When you first see Cole, he flips his pocket watch before reading it. You later see that watch flip again during the story of Tonto's backstory. It's not only your first clue to who one of those men are, but it also hints slightly later at Cole's connection to Cavendish. Tonto is also seen attempting to imitate it when we first meet him, an early hint that the two have met before.
    • The first thing seen in the film is a half-finished Golden Gate Bridge, which is a large nod to how the story ends.
    • While playing with the model train set in Cole's car, Danny accidentally derails it, causing it to fall off the table.
    Cole: Remember what I told you? Take it easy on the corners and press down on the straightaways.
    • The church group in Reid's train car at the beginning are singing the hymn "Shall we Gather at the River?" A critical part of Tonto's backstory involves him discovering a vast silver deposit at the mouth of the river, and it's at that same mine where Reid and Tonto find Cavendish and his goons.
    • In Reid's first scene, he tries to toss her (female) doll back to to a young girl sitting across from him on the train, only for the doll to get sucked out the window out of sight. In the climax, the same thing nearly happens to Rebecca, but Reid makes sure that Silver is there to catch her.]
    • In his first scene, Cole tells Rebecca, "I just hate to see a bird in a cage." His attempt at having John killed via firing squad is indirectly foiled by Tonto...and a bird in a cage.
    • On a second viewing, it will immediately leap out as very suspiciously convenient how easy it was for Collins and Cole to find Cavendish. The real reason, of course, is because they're working together.
    • When Cole rescues Rebecca and Danny from Cavendish, he shoots Collins after Collins had just refused to kill Rebecca and Danny and urged them to escape. This is a pretty clear indicator that Cole isn't really a good guy.
  • Framing Device: A young boy listens to the story of the Lone Ranger being told by an aged Tonto.
  • Gainax Ending: Most of the film is told in a fairly conventional fashion for a Western, but the ending gets a bit...weird. After the conclusion of his tale, Tonto takes off his dead crow hat, puts on a modern (for the 1930s) business suit and starts packing up his things as if to leave. The young boy starts to ask him where he's going, only to look up and see that Tonto has vanished, from a display case with only a teepee and a rock that he could not possibly be hiding behind. A LIVE crow suddenly appears from behind the rock out of nowhere, caws at the boy, and then flies past him out of the exhibit. The boy looks down at his lone ranger mask, then puts it on, declaring "Never take off the mask." Roll credits.
    • Further confused by the mid-credits scene, where we see the aged Tonto walking off into a Western landscape...the same landscape that's just a painting on the wall in his enclosure.
  • Gatling Good: The original models used by the U.S. Calvary to kill the charging Comanches.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: A maid dresses Rebecca in a fancy black gown and lipstick after she and Danny are "rescued" by Cole, who intends to marry her so that her son can become his heir. Based on her reaction to seeing the lipstick on her wine glass, she is not comfortable in the outfit.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Cavendish eating Dan's heart. All we get is a very artsy Reaction Shot of John watching it happen, frozen and unable to stop it, with the gruesome act itself reflected in his eyes.
    • Although, while the audience doesn't get to see what Cavendish does to Dan, we do get to see the reaction of his gang, including one that is being messily sick. The movie manages to turn a Gory Discretion Shot into a Vomit Indiscretion Shot. Well done?
  • Greed: The main villains' primary motivation is silver.
  • Handcar Pursuit: Tonto and a bound and blindfolded Lone Ranger attempt to escape from a train on a handcar at the silver mine.
  • Hat Damage: Tonto
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Collins is shot dead by Cole mere moments after dry-firing his gun into the air to fake Rebecca and Danny's deaths and begging them to run.
  • He Knows Too Much: The real reason Dan and the posse were killed: they discovered that Cole, who was claiming to be respecting the treaty with the Comanches, had already' laid down railroad track in Indian territory.
  • Heroic BSoD: Tonto has two, one as a young boy when he finds his people slaughtered because of his actions, and another when he sees the bodies of the remaining Comanche floating downriver after the cavalry massacred them.
    • Reid has one around the same time when he realizes Cavendish and his goons are working for Cole and the railroad company.
    Reid: If men like him represent the law, I'd rather be an outlaw.
  • Horseback Heroism: Especially when the Lone Ranger and Silver appear on top of the building just before the climatic train chase.
  • How We Got Here: Tonto starts his story with him and John robbing a bank. It's where Cole hid his nitroglycerin.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: For most of the film, Tonto is far more effective than Reid, even though the latter has a much better command of his wits.
  • I Have the High Ground: Silver likes high places.
    Tonto: "Something very wrong with that horse."
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Both Cavendish and Cole pull this on Rebecca, though in Cole's case nothing can actually happen, since he's implied to be a eunuch. His real reason for wanting to marry her is because she has a son that he can leave his railroad empire to.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Red was a famous ballerina before losing her leg (at Cavendish's hands) and ending up as a brothel madam in a filthy rathole called Hell on Wheels. Notably, it's never spelled out in dialogue, Red just tells Tonto and Reid to "make [Cavendish] pay for what he took from me" and then the camera pans up to a painting of Red as a ballerina with two good legs.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Butch Cavendish who eats the flesh of his victims. He eats the heart of the title character's brother, and it is implied that he ate the right leg of the brothel madam, Red. It's another reason Tonto thinks he's a Wendigo.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Tonto believes Butch is a wendigo in human form. He is never confirmed nor denied to be so.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Butch Cavendish orders The Mole to shoot Rebecca and Danny to prove his loyalty. He can't do it, but is shot anyway immediately afterwards.
    Cavendish: Know what the Injuns call this place? The Valley of Tears.
  • Imminent Danger Clue: The posse realizes that they've been Lured into a Trap when they find themselves at a dead end, and notice that the tracker who led them there has vanished.
    Tonto: (to Reid afterwards) Eight men ride into canyon. I dug seven graves.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • The first time it's purely an accident, but for the second example John makes an impossible shot across a ravine, from one moving train to another, to blast a gun out of another man's hand.
    • Also, during the first flashback, he shoots a bottle of something or other out of a man's hand from a moving horse.
  • Instant Knots:
    • During his final fight with Cavendish, the Lone Ranger wraps his whip around a tree and uses it to get yanked off the runaway railway car.
    • Dan uses this to pull Frank off the roof of the railway car.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Tonto is the one who has real personal enmity with Cole. Reid's nemesis is Butch Cavendish, who killed his brother and ate his heart.
  • I've Come Too Far: The reason the captain leading the American forces joins the villains; by the time he finds out what's going on, he's already killed too many innocent Native Americans and would be held responsible for their deaths.
  • Just Train Wrong: Even though the filmmakers showed that their trains matched the time period, they still got many things wrong similar to the problems in Wild Wild West.
    • When the trains are stationary before the climax, most noticeably when Tonto climbs aboard to steal the train, the characteristic "chug-chug" of a steam locomotive can be heard. In reality you wouldn't hear that while the locomotive is stationary, as the noise is created by the steam being exhausted from the cylinders up through the smokestack while the engine is moving. There IS a similar noise when the locomotive is stationary, caused by the compressor recharging the air pressure used to operate the brakes. So it's possible the sound effects department DID realise this, in which case they get an A for effort, but they've used the wrong sound for whatever reason and anyone familiar with a steam locomotive can immediately tell the difference between the two.
    • A steam locomotive like those would not be able to travel the distance covered in the chase scene - especially at that speed - with nobody adding fresh fuel to the firebox.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Latham Cole falls to his death, along with the several tons of silver and a locomotive, both of which his plan revolved around, which crush him to death.
    • Butch Cavendish and the Captain are killed when they're caught in a train collision. To paraphrase the Captain, they were with the railroad company.
  • Kick the Dog: Cole ordering his men to shoot Reid was one thing, but slapping Danny is the moment where we really lose all sympathy for him whatsoever.
    • Cavendish taunting Rebecca and Danny about Dan's death.
    Rebecca: My husband will kill you for this.
    Cavendish: (smirking) That'd be a trick. Last time I saw him, he was choking on his own blood.
  • Killer Rabbit: Played straight, and pretty scary.
  • Land in the Saddle:
    • John pulls off a variation incorporating a Banister Slide.
    • When Rebecca is pushed off the roof of the train by Cavendish, she lands backwards in Silver's saddle as he gallops beside the train. John follows her and lands facing forward.
  • Leg Cannon: Red has a shotgun built into her ivory artificial leg.
  • Licking the Blade: See Dangerously Close Shave.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: When Rebecca is climbing the train, one of her shoes falls off.
  • Magical Native American: Tonto appears to be this in his manner of dress, his plot exposition, and his presenting himself as a Scarily Competent Tracker who Speaks Fluent Animal. It's subverted and deconstructed later on when John meets the rest of the Comanche, who inform him that Tonto is insane and the Native American myths that he's been reciting throughout the film are considered by the rest of them to be just that, myths; his skills as a tracker are also revealed to be hopeless.
  • Manchild: John accuses Tonto of being this after hearing his back story from the Comanche tribe. While arguing the pros and cons of killing Cavendish and proceeding to insult one another John accuses of Tonto of being "a screwed up little kid" who never learned how to live with the guilt of getting his entire tribe wiped out by telling the film's villains the location of the silver mine.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • The Lone Ranger somehow survives the attack on his team. The horse tells Tonto that the Ranger died and came back to life. Tonto tries to convince the 'spirit horse' to bring his brother back instead.
    • Tonto also believes Cavendish isn't an ordinary criminal, but a Wendigo. This is the explanation for why the Lone Ranger uses silver bullets. Cavendish being a cannibal doesn't help things...
    • Tonto at one point trades an item he took off a Ranger's corpse with the peanut bag he received from the boy at the beginning of the movie. You know, the boy he is telling the Lone Ranger's story to 64 years later.
    • The Lone Ranger not only gets a psychic vision from picking up a piece of Cavendish's silver, but despite not having fired a gun in eight years prior to his "death", he repeatedly pulls off ridiculous trick shots. He finally just goes with it.
      The Lone Ranger: "Spirit-walker." ... I can do this.(Shoots gun out of Cole's hand with his last bullet - saving Tonto with the bullet Tonto forged to kill the "Wendigo".)
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • The carnival barkers at both Hell on Wheels and San Francisco 1933 both introduce their wares to passing guests with the line "Fun and educational for you, sir!" with the same gesture, intonation and delivery. Given that the one in 1869 appears fairly young and the one in 1933 is elderly, it's quite possible they're actually meant to be the exact same man.
    • " A lawyer and a crazy Injun." Spoken by Cavendish once before and once after Tonto and Reid have become an effective team.
    • "It's my home." Spoken by Reid to Rebecca in their first scene together, and by Rebecca to Reid in their last.
  • Mickey Mousing: Briefly during the climax, there is a section where the gunfire taking out the glass of a window matches the beats of the William Tell Overture.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The vultures seen briefly in the film are African Griffin Vultures, not Turkey Vultures as would be more appropriate for the setting. This is an especially odd case, considering how iconic, and readily obtainable real Turkey Vultures are.
  • Miss Kitty: Red (Helena Bonham-Carter), who runs the brothel in Hell on Wheels.
  • The Mole:Collins, Dan's tracker.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The movie follows up a scene where Butch Cavendish cuts out a man's heart and eating it with a slapstick comedy scene involving horse excrement. Also, the brutally violent gunfights alternate with almost comic book-ish stunt sequences.
    • Even worse is Tonto's farcical jailbreak of the Lone Ranger segueing immediately into a blood-drenched no-quarter battle between the Comanche and US Cavalry before their eyes. This is in turn followed by Tonto's Heroic BSoD upon seeing the bodies of the slaughtered Comanche floating down the river... and then that crazy horse standing in a tree wearing the Lone Ranger's hat.
  • Mook Horror Show: John and Tonto hide in a railroad tunnel and take out Cavendish's men one by one.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The Captain suffers two of them. The first one is when he realizes he was duped into leading his men to killing innocent Native Americans... but subverted when he's talked into burying the whole thing in denial. The second one comes after he stabs the Comanche Chief and sees his blood on his hands, calling back to the Big Bad claiming he had blood on his hands from the first incident.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya
    Tonto: "See the face of my people as you die!"
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The carnival barker and the banner on Tonto's exhibit hearkens to "The Thrilling Days of Yesteryear", the introductory line used in most versions of the property.
    • There's also a ContinuityNod/TakeThat to the ending of the TV series.
    Ranger: Hi ho, Silver, away!
    Tonto: [beat] Don't ever do that again.
  • Never Say That Again: Tonto's reaction to "Hi ho, Silver, away!"
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Captain Fuller is General George Armstrong Custer in all but rank.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Latham Cole's death. He falls several hundred feet, is crushed under several tons of silver ore, and presumably drowned if all that didn't kill him.
  • Noodle Incident:
  • Noodle Implements: "He wuz gonna violate me wit' a duck foot!"
  • Nostalgic Narrator: Tonto in 1933.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: Cole nudges Captain Fuller to stop talking in front of Danny when he notes "what manner of violations" Rebecca might have been subjected by Cavendish and his gang had Cole not rescued them in time.
  • Not So Different: Cavendish says this word for word when He discovers the Ranger is actually John. He says they're both men that have to wear masks, implying that he's had to maintain the secrecy of things he's done.
  • Not What It Looks Like: "I just like 'em perty thangs."
  • Oh, Crap!: Butch and The captain get this when they realize they're going to run right into each other. The former on the boxcar that's been turned to its side on the track. When he notices the Ranger leaving, he see the oncoming train about to nail him with the captain standing at the front of it.
  • Out, Damned Spot!: Captain Fuller stares in horror at the blood on his (formerly) spotless white gloves after running the Indian chief through. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite manage to change his mind.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Butch throws kerosene and dynamite down a tunnel, and our heroes must outrun the result.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: As Tonto tells it, "Justice is what a man must take for himself."
  • Phrase Catcher: When people see the Lone Ranger for the first time they almost always ask, "What's with the mask?"
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Bad trade."
  • Psycho for Hire: Butch is an outlaw gang leader hired by Cole to do the dirty work and clearly enjoys killing and slaughter.
  • Railroad Baron: Cole seems like a rare positive portrayal at first, but nope.
  • Rain of Arrows: How the Comanche got the initial drop on the U.S. Calvary that just came under the control of Latham Cole.
  • Rangers: The eight rangers of whom the Lone Ranger was the last surviving member.
  • Robbing the Dead: Tonto pays for information at Red's bordello, and Reid's not happy to find out where Tonto got it.
    Reid: Where'd you get that?
    Reid: From a dead man?
  • Romancing the Widow: It's pretty clear that Rebecca was always in love with John, even though she married Dan after he moved away. As a result she gets over Dan's death surprisingly quickly, but John thinks it's immoral to move in on his brother's widow, despite clearly returning her feelings.
  • Runaway Train: Both major Traintop Battles end up involving runaway trains.
  • Running Gag:
    • Men just can't resist the urge to touch Red's ivory prosthetic leg.
    • Tonto's "trades", which always seem to work out in his favor.
    • Everybody, from the bad guys to the Natives, are all bemused by John wearing a mask.
  • Rule of Symbolism: It's probably not a coincidence that, in a film all about the exploitation of Native populations in the search for priceless luxury resources by white colonials, the brothel madam's prosthetic leg is made of ivory.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: The Wendigo is identified as a Comanche myth, but it is actually Algonquian, who were prominent in what is now the northern US and Canada, and the Atlantic coast - it's indicative of long winters and desperation.
  • Sapient Steed: There is something very wrong with that horse.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: John gets shot in the shoulder in Indian territory, and goes down with a very high pitched scream.
  • Serial Killer: Butch Cavendish, who's stated to be an Indian killer and have murdered and eaten people, is a Hedonistic version.
  • Settle for Sibling: How Rebecca married Dan in the first place. Dan seems pretty resigned to the fact.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Rough and rugged frontier lawman Dan and big city educated lawyer John.
  • Shipper on Deck: Tonto for Rebecca and John.
  • Shout-Out: Just as Pirates contained numerous references to old-fashioned pirate movies, Lone Ranger features quite a few homages to classic Westerns:
    • The ending train chase/crash recalls Buster Keaton's The General;
    • The plot of the "false Indians" being used to trigger a range war comes from Fritz Lang's Western Union.
    • The Searchers with the "Comanche" raid on Rebecca's farmhouse and the heavy use of Monument Valley.
    • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance inspires John's introduction as a gun-shy, Eastern educated lawyer.
    • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly inspires Tonto looting the corpses of Dan's posse, he and John riding through the desert with an umbrella and the bridge detonation.
    • Once Upon a Time in the West gets quite a workout: the railroad plot, the intro of Dan and his posse wearing dusters, the squeaky windmill featuring in one scene, and Tonto revealing his past identity to Cole "at the point of dying." Hans Zimmer's music sounds like a conscious homage to Ennio Morricone, too.
    • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid inspires the standoff between John, Tonto and two of Butch's henchmen, with the heroes arguing over who should kill whom, and John admitting he's not fired a gun in years.
    • The train robbery features one of Butch's men forcing hostages to sing "Shall We Gather at the River?", in a nod to The Wild Bunch.
    • The Comanche scenes, flashbacks to the massacre in Tonto's backstory and the line "it's a good day to die" all originate from Little Big Man.
    • At one point, the Big Bad tells Tonto "Pretty soon no one will even know you people were here." A very similar line popped up in the director's previous film Rango, which was also a Western starring Johnny Depp.
    • Tonto calls John a "Stupid white man." In Dead Man, which stars Johnny Depp, the Native American character repeatedly calls people "Stupid fucking white man."
  • Shovel Strike: When Tonto is about to finish off Butch, Reid knocks him out with a shovel to do things by the book and let the court handle things.
  • Show, Don't Tell: When asked why she has quarrel with Cavendish, Red's response is juxtaposed against a painting of herself...as a ballet dancer with two legs.
  • Show Some Leg: Red manages to do this with her ivory leg to distract the Captain at Promontory Point.
  • Sibling Triangle: Implied with Dan and John with Rebecca before John left to learn law. Dan married Rebecca and have a son, Danny Reid (Jr.). It is implied that Dan knows John and Rebecca still loves each other.
  • Silver Bullet: Tonto made one for the Lone Ranger to shoot the Wendigo.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: John and Rebecca have a lover's quarrel on horseback!
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Rebecca's attempt at a Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind on the bad guy is interrupted when Tonto accidentally beans her on the head with a big hunk of silver.
  • The Sociopath: Butch Cavendish's primary motivation is to fulfill his own selfish desires and murders anyone who so much as annoys him.
  • Spiritual Successor: invoked The film's trailers emphasizes it as one to the Pirates of the Caribbean films, bringing special attention to how it's made by the same people. The film itself shares a cast of quirky Refuges In Audacity, cartoonish slapstick humor, and wild stuntwork that's enough to just call it "Pirates of the Caribbean but it's a western".
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: For most of the runtime, Reid is actually the Supporting Protagonist to Tonto's story.
  • Tap on the Head: John Reid knocks out Tonto with a shovel so he can bring Cavendish in for justice, instead of just blowing Cavendish's brains out.
  • Take Care of the Kids: Dan, after being fatally shot, asked his brother to take care of his family.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: When the classic Lone Ranger theme starts to play, you know things are about to get real!
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Cavendish's solution for killing Tonto and Reid is to throw dynamite and kerosene down the mine shaft they're hiding in.
    Soldier: Are you crazy? You wanna blow up the whole damn mountain?
  • This Means Warpaint: What we initially assume is Tribal Face Paint on Tonto is revealed to be this. He first painted it on with ashes in the midst of a Heroic BSoD after his tribe was slaughtered, and has kept it up ever since.
  • Thou Shall Not Kill: As in the original series, the Lone Ranger wants the justice system to deal with the villains rather than take revenge himself, and enforces this trope on Tonto, despite the fact Tonto wants vengeance on Cavendish and Cole. In the end, Tonto passes up killing Cole... but has no qualms about leaving Cole to his Karmic Death. Ironically, Reid's first attempt at A-Team Firing ends up killing the bad guys even more gruesomely than a gunshot would have done.
  • Thrown from the Zeppelin: A non-lethal example. When Cole announces his hostile takeover of the railway, the chairman of the board strenuously objects. Cole shoots him in the backside (said to be an extremely painful location to be shot in), and asks who the other shareholders think should be the next chairman... The guy shows up later with Just a Flesh Wound.
  • Tonto Talk: Yup but Tonto is crazy. The Comanche chief speaks English somewhat more fluently.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Lone Ranger himself, from city mouse lawyer to heroic cowboy cape.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Anyone who's seen the trailer knows the climax involves the Ranger and Tonto fighting the antagonists on board a moving train.
  • Train Escape: The 'unhook the carriages' variety.
  • Train Job: Butch Cavendish's gang stages a raid on a train in order to free their boss. Later Tonto steals an entire train full of silver ore from one of the villains.
  • Traintop Battle: More than one. Notably, they all end in train wrecks.
  • Tribal Facepaint: Tonto, but he's the only one and the others think he's crazy.
  • Underside Ride: Tonto, several times. The villain tells his Mooks to double-check the undercarriage.
  • Unhand Them, Villain!: Butch Cavendish grabs Rebecca as a hostage during the final battle. When the Ranger orders him to let her go, Cavendish threatens to drop her off the side of the moving train. Then the Ranger tells him to do it as she always seems to land on her feet.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Tonto is telling this story to a kid, and Tonto is crazy.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: As a child, [[spoiler:Tonto rescued Cole and Cavendish from the desert and then told them where they could find the silver mine in exchange for Cole's pocket watch, and in return the two men slaughtered Tonto's entire tribe and village to keep the location of the silver deposits to themselves.
  • Visionary Villain: Latham Cole has a vision for the railroad network. It's interesting that unlike usual train baron villains he doesn't simply gloat or revel in the expected personal profit from his schemes (even though he's a regular dog-kicking asshole in all other respects); it seems that the sheer enormity of the business opportunities that a nation-wide transportation and communication system could bring, and the whole resulting consumerist lifestyle it could sustain, - this vision seems to genuinely mesmerize him. The difference is subtle, but unnerving.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Collins pukes onscreen when Cavendish cuts Dan's heart out and eats it.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Latham Cole seems to genuinely believe he's doing the right thing with his actions.
  • Wendigo: What Tonto believes that Butch Cavendish to be. It's understandable, as he has a habit of eating human flesh. This belief becomes more symbolic when Tonto later decides that the more monstrous of the Cavendish/Cole duo is the more hands-off Cole, who metaphorically fed off the lives of other men to achieve his goals and is the one killed by the silver in the end.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Cole is the only villain who dies on-screen. Cavendish takes a speeding train to the face off-screen, so unless he really was a Wendigo (or at least Robert Carlyle's character from Ravenous) it's pretty safe to assume he's dead too. However, Captain Fuller is last seen jumping from said train into the woods (a feat repeatedly shown to be survivable in the film), and is never seen or mentioned again. That said, given that he was in the speeding train at the time, if he wasn't killed then it's safe to say he was very badly injured.
    • Also notable in the older woman being menaced by one of Butch's men, Frank, in the barn (the mook dressed in women's clothes). The barn gets lit on fire, the duo fight their way out, and the woman simply disappears. Did they leave her to burn to death?
    • Frank (the aforementioned Creepy Crossdresser), Ray, and Skinny, Butch's goons who Reid and John take out in the darkened mine. All we hear is the goons screaming, we never find out whether the duo actually killed them or just incapacitated them, and if the latter is the case, whether they died when Cavendish threw dynamite down the mine shaft.
  • Wham Shot: Red is initially uninterested in allying with John and Tonto, but practically jumps to the call when she finds out their enemy is Butch Cavendish. When asked why, she notes she has business with Cavendish as we see behind her a painting of herself with both legs still intact and as a dancer.
    • Two at around the same time, when Dan sees Cole with the silver watch and Rebecca discovers Butch Cavendish, unchained and freed, in Cole's car, revealing to the audience that Cole was working with Cavendish all along.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    • Characters spend a massive amount of time simply pointing guns at each other and gloating/arguing when really they should just get on with it (this always ends with the intended victim escaping).
    • Tonto's attitude towards Cavendish. However, whenever he actually gets a chance, he tends to stray into My Name Is Inigo Montoya territory.
  • Why Won't You Die?: By the end of the film, Cavendish (and Cole) become very frustrated about the Lone Ranger and Tonto's refusal to die.
    Butch Cavendish: These two have a hard time stayin' dead!
    Latham Cole: How many times do I have to tell you to kill that ranger?
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Silver isn't worth much until it gets loaded into a train.
  • Wretched Hive: Hell on Wheels is a horrid place to live, hence the name.

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