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Tonto Kemosabe


My Favorite Superhero!

Maybe it's the smidgen of Indian blood running through my veins, the bit of my heritage that has always eluded me in my genealogical research, but I've always been fond of the American Indian. The elusive "true" history of America remains so much a mystery to me. I know, deep in my bones, that the American Indian gave us so much more than they are given credit for. For so many years, and really, in the beginning of the Lone Ranger series, Indians were treated as second class. But my introduction to Tonto was when I was in high school, at an impressionable age, was with the movie "The Legend of the Lone Ranger", where I totally fell in love with Tonto from then on. He was so strong, yet gentle. I knew he was a hero I could trust.

Don't get me wrong, the Lone Ranger is pretty awesome too, but it was Tonto who sent me home thinking I could fly on a horse and all things were possible to those with an honorable heart. Those were the days when even a kid could afford to go to the movies simply on allowance money. I went with my best friend, who loved the movie too, but was more enamored with the hero than with his sidekick.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto, while representing a short time in American History, share a story that never really grows old. It's part old west, part lawman justice, and partly just the purity of a true heart who wants to do the right thing. Welcome to my page honoring the first American Indian hero as depicted for the good man he was... a true friend and faithful scout - Kemosabe!

Image: Jay Silverheels, the original Tonto, rides Scout

Trusty Scout

Trusty Scout

It's Not Always Easy Playing Second Fiddle

But Tonto as the "Trusty Scout" was a Hero to Me

Some people are born to lead, other are born to follow. Our hero's sidekick really does not fall into either category. He's a leader who is willing to let another take the spotlight, while they do all the background work to help them get there. It's not always a pretty job, but it is vital to the cause. The sidekick gets that. Not every leader necessarily needs to be in the limelight, and sometimes, that is a good thing!

Tonto, a strong man, has honor and pride, but no desire for glory. He even brings the Lone Ranger down a notch or two when he needs it. For him, as with other sidekicks, it is about getting it done no matter what it takes, and being willing to take the fall if it comes to it. Knowing his sacrifice, I had to love Tonto from the very beginning. Can you relate? I had to acknowledge early on that I would never be a star, but that is okay, because I have helped others get there along the way. That is a special feeling, and it does not matter if I have a fan club or not. This is the heart of our sidekick.

Silver & Scout! The non-human Sidekicks!

Silver & Scout! The non-human Sidekicks!

Silver & Scout! The non-human Sidekicks!

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Tonto's Name

In Spanish, "Tonto" means stupid. What? That's right! So, when dubbed for Spanish viewers, his name was changed to "Toro", meaning "bull".

Tonto in Comics - His own Series

Tonto's Comic Book Series

Tonto's Comic Book Series

The comic book series explored Tonto's Character more in depth. The series was titled Tonto: Companion to the Lone Ranger.

It began in 1951 and ran for 32 issues. The full list with cover photos can be found here

More on Tonto and the Lone Ranger

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Do you Root for the Sidekick as much as the Hero? - Why or Why not?

sierradawn lm on August 30, 2013:

What a delicious treat it was finding this lens! I watched the Legand of the Lone Ranger when it first came out too. But I was thinking that Jay Silverheels played Tonto in it. I cried when they were getting ready to hang Tonto and was totally in love with him. My cousin and I had the action figure dolls at the time, beautiful plastic figures of Silver and Scout. Tonto and the Lone Ranger were plastic figures that could ride them. We had the little yellow record narration of the story of the Lone Ranger and played it til we knew and could recite it by heart. When the William Tell Overture played it was time to drop everything and race to sit in front of the T.V. And also I adore Johnny Depp! How could one not? So getting to see the new trailer for the movie I am waiting breathlessly to watch was just too delicious! Thank you for this treat!

WriterJanis2 on June 22, 2013:

I always root for both of them and I can't wait to see Johnny Depp as Tonto.

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