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The Lone Ranger (1949–1957)

TV Series  |   |  Western
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The adventures of the masked hero and his Native American partner.

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1957   1956   1955   1954   1953   1952   … See all »
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete series cast summary:
 Tonto (217 episodes, 1949-1957)
 The Lone Ranger / ... (169 episodes, 1949-1957)


The lone surviving Texas Ranger who was nursed back to health by the Indian Tonto rides with him, on Silver and Scout, throughout the West, doing good while living off a silver mine which supplies him with income and bullets. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Official Sites:



Release Date:

15 September 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El llanero solitario  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(221 episodes)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)


(1949-1956)| (1956-1957)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Uniquely, "The Lone Ranger," as televised on ABC, offered 4 seasons of a new episode each week for at least a year without a rerun. From 1949-1951, the first 78 episodes were aired and then rerun in the same order. For the subsequent seasons beginning on Sept. 1952, Sept. 1954, and Sept. 1956, the same format was followed with 52 consecutive new episodes which were aired and then rerun in the following 12 month period. The young viewers would have to wait "until the same time next year", often coinciding with their school year or summer vacation, to see a rerun of a favorite or "missed" episode. See more »


Silver is described as "a fiery horse with the speed of light". According to Special Relativity, an object with mass cannot achieve the speed of light, as this would require an infinite amount of energy. See more »


[first lines for each episode]
Narrator: The Lone Ranger!
[gunshots are fired]
The Lone Ranger: Hi-yo, Silver!
Narrator: A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty "Hi-yo Silver" - the Lone Ranger!
The Lone Ranger: Hi-yo, Silver, away!
Narrator: With his faithful Indian companion, Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early West. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again!
See more »


Referenced in Summer of '72 (1987) See more »


Finale from 'William Tell Overture'
from the opera "William Tell"
by Gioachino Rossini
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the Grandfathers of Network Westerns.
23 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Lone Ranger appeared on the ABC network on September 15, 1949 in the first of a three part episode that told the history of the famous masked man of the West.

Along with William Boyd's Hopalong Cassidy TV series, which was first telecast on NBC on June 24, 1949, it was among the earliest TV western series. Hopalong Cassidy actually debuted in 1948, when Boyd syndicated his films to NBC. (In 1947, Boyd had bought to the rights to his Hoppy films.)

Fran Stiker and George W. Trendle created the Lone Ranger as a local radio program in 1933. It quickly went nationwide and was the cornerstone of the old Mutual Radio network. Ironically, Hopalong Cassidy was also a Mutual radio program.

When The Lone Ranger was brought to TV in 1949, many of the radio plays were adapted to the younger medium. As a consequence, many of the earliest episodes show their radio origins with the use of a narrator who links the different scenes together. The Lone Ranger was the biggest hit on the new ABC network in its early years.

The first three episodes told the the familiar story of how the Lone Ranger came to be, his connection to Tonto, and the origins of his prize horse Silver. Glenn Strange played the villain Butch Cavandish in these episodes.

The Lone Ranger was also one of the earliest shows to film mostly outdoors. Starting in 1956, the Wrather Company began filming the program in color.

The Cisco Kid, starring Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo had been filmed in color since its first aired in 1950. Jack Wrather, however, was more concerned about the competition to his kid's show from the new adult westerns that had began to appear on TV.

When the Lone Ranger appeared, The New York Times critic Jack Gould ripped the show, as "just another Western, and not a notably good one at that." Gould considered the first three episodes manipulative, mostly because of the cliffhanger endings of the first two episodes. The New York Times writer accused everyone associated with the program of keeping children "emotionally hopped upped." As a result of his criticisms, the cliffhanger type endings were never used after the first two episodes. Gould, however, had been suffering from a misunderstanding. The show had never intended to be broadcast as a serial despite the serial background of its star Clayton Moore.

In 1952, B-film actor John Hart replaced Clayton Moore. Moore had threatened to quit after 1950. He was being paid only $500 an episode for his hit show, and wanted a substantial raise. Audiences rejected Hart in the role, and after 36 episodes Moore was back atop Silver.

The Lone Ranger was the first Western Hit on TV.

The series was filmed in both Utah and in California.

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