Some years ago I made an intensive study of the Lone Ranger, watching probably hundreds of hours of the series. At the time I was too young to realise what I was watching.
In hundreds of hours of viewing I never saw the Lone Ranger appear romantically interested in any female, despite many of the females being interested in him. It is not a question of delicacy or subtlety - which frankly was absent from the entire series - he was simply not interested.
His catamite Tonto was never seen in a heterosexual relationship. Given Tonto's Native American upbringing, and the social pressures on Native American men to marry, the fact that he never referred to a wife or sweetheart is clear evidence that Tonto's interests were elsewhere. So much so, that Tonto had to leave the tribe.
It is noteworthy that when The Lone Ranger and Tonto met Native American chiefs it was the Lone Ranger whom the chiefs wanted to talk to. Although Native Americans did and do tolerate homosexuality, this does not mean that they want to shake hands with a homosexual - and that was before Aids.
White America was not as tolerant of homosexuality, which is why the couple had to wander through the West, looking for somewhere where they could live together publicly.
They never got as far as the Bay area of San Francisco. In one episode they did come across someone who appears to be an ancestor of the famous Harvey Milk. The programme was made before Harvey Milk was involved in politics.
The Lone Ranger and Friend
The relationship between the Lone Ranger and Tonto was clearly exploitative. Tonto was never allowed to handle money, make purchase decisions, or even decide where they slept.
Tonto's horse was always inferior to the Lone Ranger's horse.
In every conversation between them the Lone Ranger was clearly the boss, even on the rare occasions when the Lone Ranger sought advice.
This reflected their relative social and economic realities. A gay Native American would have difficulty finding another available gay Native American outside the tribe structure, or even within it. Finding a white gay who was willing to delve across racial lines would also be difficult. The Lone Ranger, as part of the master race, could have his pick of white, black, and Native American sexual partners.
Tonto was always in a weak position. If Tonto was not interested in a berdache relationship within the tribe, his options were very restricted. It was the Lone Ranger or nothing.
The series featured two men of an age to be engaging in sexual activity who are never seen to be involved with women, or indeed with other men (this is 50s America TV don't forget). On the other hand, they spent a lot of nights out on the lonely prairie...
The Counter Argument
It could be argued that a series made for children would not contain sexual content. On the other hand, many series shown to children at that time did show married couples, and sometimes even courting couples. The ability of the series to go years without a touch of licit romance suggests there was illicit romance behind the scenes.How very odd that neither of them even mentioned an "old flame" or ever suggested any interest in heterosexual relationships.
I can understand that a series involving a homosexual mixed race couple would not have been aired in 50s America. It was obviously another example of the pink Liberal dishonest conspiracy against the morals of America. Don't forget that Tonto was a RED Indian.
Since writing the above, I have been asked to explain "berdache".
Several commentators noted across a number of tribes a man living with a wife or wives, one of whom was biologically a man. This biological man was socially a woman. The word for this relationship was "berdache". If Tonto was not willing to enter a berdache relationship, he might have had difficulty as straightforward gay relationships appear not to have happened.
A Feast of Lone Ranger
Also By Charles James
- Running A Children's Chess Club
How I came to be running a children's chess club. Adventures of running a chess club including an outing where I gained a child!
- Running A High Schools Debating Competition
Running a High Schools Debating Competition is fun. It has its challenges too. Advice from a college lecturer who set up a high schools debating competition.
Anne from Spain on June 17, 2012:
Hope you have an easy move to Portugal, and enjoy every moment when you land. Living in the sun is fantastic. Do make sure you take all the heavy duvets though as I´m sure you know winters can be cold and harsh even in the Med. Hasta Luego love !!
Charles James (author) from Portugal on June 17, 2012:
Great minds think alike. I am preparing to retire to the sun, Portugal in my case.
Batman and Robin? I think Batman is interested in ladies. He might be catholic in his tastes. I would hesitate to say.
Anne from Spain on June 16, 2012:
Na then Charles. I came across your hub quite by accident after publishing one where I mention cowboys and Indians quite a lot, and also the Lone Ranger. I am also from Yorkshire , hence the greeting. You hub had such an engaging title I just had to read on. Very dry and well stated it was too. The thing that always strikes me about this series is that TONTO means idiot in spanish. I know that because I have lived here in Spain for the last 10 years. There must have been someone related in some way to the making of this series who knew this..but the name remains unchanged, I wonder if that was by design ? Anyway...What about Batman and Robin ? now there´s a question mark for sure . Great hub , voted up and funny...gonna follow you too :)
Charles James (author) from Portugal on October 25, 2011:
I have severe doubts whether even today Hollywood would make a series for children about a mixed race homosexual couple. Sesame Street pushes the envelope.
sean kinn from Key West and Budapest on September 11, 2011:
He might have just been a bit overly mission-oriented. There's a lot of evil out there. :-) (Great Hub, by the way)
Charles James (author) from Portugal on November 14, 2010:
drbj - From my limited experience of horses, if a horse does not want to do something it leaves you in no doubt of its views!
James A Watkins from Chicago on November 13, 2010:
Very funny! I enjoyed your wit here. Well done! :D
Susan Reid from Where Left is Right, CA on October 19, 2010:
Excellent hub Charles James! It's amazing the insights we get as adults into shows we thought were perfectly innocent at the time. Of course, the Lone Ranger was on long before I knew the meaning of "sexual innuendo."
BTW, is it true Tonto means bend over in Potawatomi?
drbj and sherry from south Florida on October 19, 2010:
Thank you for the edification, Charles, it is much appreciated. One question though: how do we know when a horse has consented? :)
Charles James (author) from Portugal on October 19, 2010:
drjb - consensual sex with a horse was not illegal in Oregon until recently. But I do not recall the Lone Ranger ranging that far West.
ltfawkes from NE Ohio on October 18, 2010:
Nice hub, Charles and, is it me or does the Lone Ranger's "jumpsuit" look a lot like Spandex. Just sayin'.
Stan Fletcher from Nashville, TN on October 18, 2010:
This is well-written and very thought provoking. Between you and Wayne, we have enough mind fodder on this subject to think long and hard. Perhaps that was a poor choice of words. At any rate, a great addition to the Hub Contest, which can be found at https://hubpages.com/entertainment/Killer-Ideas-fo...
Thanks for playing along and for this excellent entry from across the pond. You've represented the UK well.
Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 18, 2010:
How about The Cisco Kid and Poncho? Great writing, btw. Rated Up.
drbj and sherry from south Florida on October 18, 2010:
You set forth a persuasive argument, Charles. I'm also starting to question the relationship the Lone Ranger had with his horse, Silver. Much too friendly, methinks!
Charles James (author) from Portugal on October 18, 2010:
As I said on your site, your piece about the Gay Lone Ranger is excellent.
Wayne Brown from Texas on October 18, 2010:
Charles...This is truly a complex look at the question and will certainly open the doors wide on follow up research to define the interworkings of this potentially gay relationship. We may have unleashed a monster! LOL! Good Write! WB
ralwus on October 18, 2010:
Yes, it one needed to be intuitive to see all the real action that never was. Even given these fact, they were pretty cool. Shyt! I never even knew what gay or homosexual was back then let alone straight or swingers. Good job here.
Charles James (author) from Portugal on October 18, 2010:
Andria on October 18, 2010:
PMSL Charles, how very clever! I think you have perfectly dissected a rather touchy if not puzzling aspect of the Lone Ranger, and consequently delivered a very persuasive argument.
Rated up, laughed at and 'awesomed' :)