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The Lone Ranger Finds His Nephew - Dan Reid
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The mysterious masked rider of the plains, The Lone Ranger, was featured in more than 3,000 radio episodes from 1933 until 1956, and a television series running from 1949 to 1957. Fans are familiar with the Lone Ranger's faithful Indian companion, Tonto; his fiery horse, Silver; his identification with the silver bullet, and his signature cry, "Hi-Yo, Silver."

Less familiar among fans is his nephew, Dan Reid, who appeared in occasional Lone Ranger episodes. How did the Lone Ranger unite with his nephew?

The answer to this question is found in "The Lone Ranger Rides North," published in 1946. This is the 9th volume of the eighteen volume series dating from 1936 to 1956, written by Fran Striker, published by Grosset and Dunlap.

A long trail took the masked man and Tonto across the breadth of the nation. It had started in Texas where the Lone Ranger had smashed Bart Gregg's marauding band. Gregg had escaped, but not before he had shot a Texas Ranger in the back.

Over the dying Ranger, the masked man pledged to make Gregg pay in full. It was days before the Lone Ranger learned the direction Gregg had taken to escape. Lost trails, temporary setbacks, and finally a slender clue led to Dodge City.

Gregg had been there and gone. More lost trails and wrong trails - then Kearney, Nebraska, only to find Gregg far ahead and traveling north. Then across Nebraska to the unknown lands of Wyoming stretching endlessly ahead. Scorching sun and bitter cold nights that sapped the strength of the men and horses, and always the possibility that Gregg would learn of pursuit and wait with cocked rifle.

Across Wyoming and into the mountains of western Montana. The onset of winter and blizzards, and finally to the copper town of Martinsville, the last settlement before the Canadian border.

Gregg had already thrown in with a trio of ne'er do wells, Snake Arnold and two henchmen of marginal intelligence. They concocted a scheme to cheat Mason Martin out of some copper mining property. The scheme involved the unwitting cooperation of a fourteen-year-old lad, Dan Frisby, who was being raised by his aging grandmother.

To get to the point, we give short shrift to how the Lone Ranger foiled the scheme. The net result was that, realizing they had been double crossed, the two dimwitted henchmen killed Gregg, only to be arrested for murder. The Lone Ranger conspired with Canadian authorities to trick Snake Arnold into crossing the border where he was arrested by the Mounted Police for a previous murder.

This brings us to the conclusion where Grandma Frisby is on her deathbed and has a story to tell the Lone Ranger.

Some fourteen years back, she and her husband, Jim, had wanted to go west to start a new life. Jim went on ahead and found the spot, here in Martinsville, Montana. He sent back word for his wife to join the next wagon train west.

At Council Bluffs, Mrs. Frisby joined a wagon driven by a trusted friend. Also joining that wagon was a woman with a southern accent, Linda Reid, and her six-month-old baby, Dan. Linda's husband was a Texas Ranger and was to meet Linda and Dan at Ft. Laramie.

As the wagon train neared Ft. Laramie, it was attacked by Indians. Nearly every one was killed including the wagon's driver and Linda Reid. Mrs. Frisby and baby Dan escaped death.

When Mrs. Frisby with baby Dan finally reached Ft. Laramie, the fort's commandant handed her two letters. The first was crudely written by a man who had worked with husband Jim, telling of his death in a mine accident - the premature explosion of some blasting powder.

The second was to Linda Reid, written by a captain of the Texas Rangers, stating that Linda's husband had been killed from ambush while on duty. Mrs. Frisby pledged to raise baby Dan as if he were her own grandson.

The signature on the letter to Linda was Captain Hargraves. Hargraves - with that the Lone Ranger asked Mrs. Frisby if she had more details on Reid's death. She explained that she wrote letters of inquiry but Hargraves had no further details.

With that the Lone Ranger replied, "Let me tell you a story of six Texas Rangers."

The masked man explained how his older brother had migrated from the East to Texas and had joined the Rangers. He, the younger brother, followed the elder Reid's footsteps and eventually joined the Rangers to serve with his brother.

Captain Hargraves called a band of six rangers together and outlined a dangerous mission to go to Bryant's Gap where some outlaws were known to hang out. He then called the elder Reid aside. "You're the only one of the six whose married, aren't you, Reid?"

"I guess that's right, sir."

"Isn't your wife on her way out here?"

Reid nodded. "She left the East on a wagon train some time ago. I'm going to meet her at Ft. Laramie."

"You have a son?"

"Yes, sir, a boy six months old. He's named Dan."

"Is he coming with your wife?"

The Ranger nodded. Hargraves replied, "In that case, I'll send another man in your place."

Reid refused to be replaced and was among the six Rangers ambushed by the Butch Cavendish gang.

The masked man then revealed to Grandma Frisby and Dan the story of the ambush and how he, the younger Reid brother, had survived and concealed his identity to become the Lone Ranger. (See my column of August 3, 2012.)

With Dan's real name revealed, and Grandma Frisby on her deathbed, the Lone Ranger pledged to raise fourteen-year-old nephew Dan to adulthood. And that's how The Lone Ranger got united with nephew, Dan Reid.

Next week: The Lone Ranger: loose ends and unfinished business.

- John Waelti's column appears every Friday in the Times. He can be reached at