I saw The Lone Ranger so you don’t have to

In Uncategorized by Adrienne K.197 Comments


It’s been 12 hours since I saw The Lone Ranger, and I still have the darn William Tell Overture stuck in my head. I wonder how long that lasts. It’s like waking up with a Tonto hangover, I guess. I have so many thoughts on this film, and only maybe one of them is good. But I think we need to start off with this: The Lone Ranger is just a bad movie. It’s 2.5 hours of a film with an identity crisis, not knowing if it’s supposed to be funny, campy, dramatic, “authentic,” or what. At points it was very hard to separate the stereotypical and hurtful from the bad script, bad editing, and bad character development of the movie itself.

So, if it even needs to be said: SPOILER ALERT–I’m about to give away everything. But you’re not going to see the movie anyway, so it shouldn’t really matter. But you know how the internet is. Here’s my review, in only 6 parts. I restrained myself.

Some quick overall thoughts: Like I mentioned above, this movie didn’t know what it was, and that was a problem. It was also so. incredibly. long. By the time we got to the final big train chase scene at the end where the pair saves the day (accompanied by the aforementioned William Tell) I wrote in my notes: FINALLY! I AM SO BORED! and then that scene drug on for another 15 minutes and I just wanted it to end. I forgot what we were even fighting for. Which I think was the problem all along.

This is also the most violent movie I’ve seen in awhile, and I’m a fan of Game of Thrones. Don’t take your kids, despite the Disney label and PG-13 rating. There is so much shooting and stabbing, and they show the aftermath.  Early on in the film the bad guy even cuts out and eats the Lone Ranger’s brother’s heart (yes, eats it). They have no qualms about shooting someone for the sake of shooting someone, and there are blood and guts and barn beams smashing people’s heads. It’s not something I would want to expose my kids to, at all.

And for those of you new to the blog or need a refresher, here’s all my Tonto coverage over the last year or so, which covers the casting, the costume, and a whole bunch of other things: my initial reactionswhy you should care about Tonto when there are “bigger issues” out theretearing apart Depp’s reasoning over his costume choicesthe controversy I dealt with for writing about Tonto, and Armie Hammer’s comments about Indians loving the movie.

Part 1: The Opening Scene–Indians are so backward and funny, y’all!

The movie opens with a Buffalo Bill-style Wild West Show, set up like a museum of Natural History, and a little kid wanders in dressed like the Lone Ranger, eatin’ some peanuts, lookin’ at the buffalo, then, oh hey! “The Noble Savage in his natural habitat.” Guess who that is??

Spoiler! It’s Johnny Depp. In some scary-ass old person makeup. Like seriously crypt keeper style. Then OMG he moves! and reaches out! and says in a croaky old person voice, the first words of the whole film: “Kemooosabeeeh.” Then there’s this whole bit where Tonto asks the little boy to “traaaade” (sounding like zombies and “braaains”) and points to his peanuts, which Tonto exchanges for a dead mouse. Then he proceeds to eat the peanuts with the shells on, crunching through them to the boy’s disgust and wonderment, while feeding the crumbs to the bird on his head.

I won’t go this in-depth with the rest of the film, but I wanted to set the stage. The very first scene we are presented with an image of a Native person, in a museum–which presumably we’re supposed to critique, but there’s no questioning of Tonto’s position there. To me it reinforces the idea that all the Indians are dead, relics of the past, which is actually a theme throughout. This Indian is so silly and backward he trades a dead mouse for a bag of peanuts, doesn’t even know how to eat peanuts, and is feeding a bird, but it’s dead. Even the child knows that’s wrong. So this is the “new” Tonto? Definitely an improvement, amiright? (that was sarcasm. In case you missed it.)

Anyway, Tonto launches into the story of the Lone Ranger for the kid in the museum. So the whole movie is in flashback.

Tonto speak summary: Tonto in museum. Tonto old. Tonto silly and backward. You listen to story now.

Part 2: The Indians–Let’s combine ALL the stereotypes!

Here’s the part you wanted to hear about, and I’m trying to think of the best way to frame it. Despite the Comanche involvement in the film, there’s still a lot of problems with conflating all Indians together. First off, we’re in “Texas,” except Texas is set in the iconic Monument Valley–Navajoland. Tonto from the start talks about being a “Wendigo hunter” and that the bad guys are “Wendigos” and that “nature is out of balance.” Wendigos are a Eastern Woodlands (Algonquian/Cree/Ojibwe) thing. Though they did get the stories kinda right, despite it being the completely wrong region/tribe. I’m not trying to argue that the movie should have been 100% “authentic”–whatever that means–but to tout your Native involvement and have a central plot point be totally wrong just felt weird to me.

Also general Tonto comments: Depp’s “accent” is hilariously inconsistent, and whenever he has more than a few words to say, it would veer into an almost stereotypical Italian-sounding thing, and for not speaking English, his vocab is great. He’s also very much the mystical-magical-Indian, an early scene shows him in jail making his bird come alive by singing and flapping his arms, he talks to the horse (and the horse talks back), he talks about LR being a “spirit walker,” etc.

Tonto speak summary: Indians during this time wild and dangerous. Indians all the same, kemosabe. Indians especially magical. Squint eyes and you will see, Utah can be Texas.

Part 3: The Comanche–Wait, is that Gil Birmingham?

After a false start where we see Rebecca (Lone Ranger’s love interest and his brother’s widow) protecting her homestead from raiding Comanches complete with war whoops and flaming arrows–but wait, they weren’t really Indians, it was Cavenish’s (the bad guy) men just playing Indian, we finally get to meet the Comanche camp after they capture the LR and Tonto. Here’s where we get to see the Native actors involved in the film, and the first glimpse of any Indians besides Tonto. Guess what they’re doing? Preparing for war, dancing around a fire, of course. Lots of yelping, lots of drumming, lots of masked, painted, and darkened Native faces.

Then the LR is pulled into a Tipi, and we meet Saginaw Grant’s character, who, low and behold, speaks in complete sentences! Makes jokes! He gives us Tonto’s back story (more on that in a minute). I don’t really remember the rest of the scene because I was distracted by the fact that Gil Birmingham, who actually *is* Comanche was sitting there with face and body paint on and doesn’t. have. any. lines. My dad compared it to Civil War movies where they have the Black regiment march by in a scene as a “oh, see, we thought about the POC!” moment. I feel like his cameo was an attempt to show they had Native actor involvement  despite the lack of any depth of character.

Throughout the film, besides the tipi exchange, the only scenes we see of the Comanche are them preparing for war, leaving for war, fighting in war, or dead.

Edit: I should add that there is use of Comanche language throughout, for commands, greetings, and small exchanges. Tonto speaks it a bit too when talking to the horse. So that’s important to note. I also failed to mention that I’ve read the tipis in the film are done Comanche-style, and I can only assume the other details like the drums, dancing, etc. are “true” to Comanche culture.

Tonto speak summary: Comanche just like hollywood western Indians. We war whoop around fire. Get ready for war. You see? Gil Birmingham and Saginaw Grant. Indians watching film should be happy now.

Part 4: Tonto’s Backstory–He’s off his rocker, so don’t get mad!

I think this was the “twist” everyone kept telling me would “explain everything.” Saginaw’s character tells the LR about how, as a child, Tonto showed the bad guys where all the silver was, in exchange from a pocketwatch from “Sears and Roebuck” (a weird detail that stuck out–product placement? ha). The bad guys come back and murder his entire village to keep the location a secret–of which they show the aftermath. They show the village burnt to the ground, dead women and men everywhere, and then Tonto picks up his dead raven from the rubble and stripes his face with the soot. Saginaw tells us all this (starting with “many moons ago”–I kid you not) and that now Tonto is a “man apart (or departed? I can’t read my notes. It was dark.)” and has basically gone crazy and taken on this “Wendigo hunter” thing as a means to cope with what he did. So, I think this whole thing was supposed to excuse his crazy antics and look, because his own people don’t endorse it. But I’m pretty sure most movie audiences aren’t going to pick up on that nuance.

There was also this almost sacred clown thing going on with Tonto too–where he does the opposite of what is accepted by his tribe. For example, in one scene he grabs the LR’s whiskey glass and drinks it in a single gulp (problematic for a couple reasons), but says its a “Comanche welcome ritual.” Later, the LR tries to repeat the same gesture to Saginaw, and the whole tipi reacts as if he’s committed a huge social taboo. Again, probably way more nuance than anyone is going to pick up on, and a tradition from another community anyway.

Tonto speak summary: Tonto sold out his community for pocketwatch. He watch them all die. He take on Wendigo hunter role to get justice. See, Tonto crazy, not stereotypical! Tell Adrienne K. she no can be mad.

Part 5: The Genocide–We killed them all…now look at the horse in a tree!

This, to me, was the worst part of the movie in terms of the portrayals of Natives, and a lot of it was due to the jumpy nature of the film, the editing, and what-not, but still. After the scene at the Comanche camp, we watch the Comanche ride off to war, leaving Tonto and the LR buried up to their necks in scorpion-infested dirt. As Saginaw and Gil ride off, the LR shouts after them, “There doesn’t need to be a war!” and Saginaw answers, “It doesn’t matter, we are already ghosts.” Indians are so brave. ::swoon:: Skipping forward, we watch the Comanche attack come over a hillside in the shadows, you know what it looks like, and there’s a moment as a viewer of “ohhh damn, watch out you silly railroad and calvary dudes, you’re about to get owned by some Comanches!” because they look so intimidating and like there are far more of them then the white guys. But no, the Calvary mows them down with an early machine gun, and we watch as all of the Comanches are slaughtered, including a close up of Saginaw getting stabbed.

It’s very much a Guns, Germs, and Steel type moment–even though the Indians outnumber the whites, they’re not technologically advanced enough to win, and they are too dumb (or full of backward “honor”) to realize they’re headed for a death trap.

While all this is happening, Tonto is busy saving the LR from the firing squad, with plenty of jokes and quips, and he looks over his shoulder, watching the massacre happen, as he pumps away on one of those railroad hand cart things. He’s definitely too busy making jokes and saving his white friend to try and help his people.

After it all happens, and we’re to understand all the Comanche are dead, Tonto picks up his bird from the river full of floating feathers, shields, and bodies. I braced myself for the emotional realization that his entire tribe had just been slaughtered. Again. But no. Instead the camera pans up and we are shown Silver, the horse, standing in a tree holding the LR’s hat in his mouth. To which Tonto quips, “Yes. Something definitely wrong with that horse.” The scene then quickly cuts to a loud brass band and celebration at the unveiling of the railroad line back in town.

Let me reiterate that, not in Tonto speak, because it’s important: They slaughter an entire tribe of Natives, and there is no discussion. Just an awkward joke and a cut to the next scene. What?

Part 6: The End–Tonto wanders off into the sunset

Finally we come to the end of the story. Tonto finishes telling it all to the little boy in the museum, and we see that he has put on a suit, holds a suitcase, and places a bowler hat over his crow (which he has continued to “feed” throughout the film). The boy gets momentarily distracted, turns back, and OMG again, Tonto’s gone! In return, a (live) crow flies out of the exhibit and at the screen. Then we cut to credits. Then, a few minutes later, we see Tonto wandering off into the vastness of Monument Valley, hobbling along, carrying his suitcase. He continues to walk, back to the camera, for the next 10 minutes as the credits go on, and on, and on. I guess we’re to assume his time as a “Noble Savage” has passed, and he’s returning to his unbridled wilderness, alone–but dressed as a white guy this time? This, like most of the movie, didn’t make any sense.

Tonto speak summary: Tonto still magical and mystical. Tonto wander off alone. Just like Edward Curtis “The Vanishing Race”.

Bonus: The other stuff–The womenz, the Chinese, and other POC 

The Lone Ranger fails the Bechdel test. There are not two (named) women, who speak to each other, about something other than a man. The portrayals of the Chinese laborers who built the railroad are super problematic too, they have them in rice paddy hats, and the only time they speak is to tell the bad guys they won’t go in the tunnel because there are “Indian spirits” in there. Then that guy gets shot. The only Black characters are one of Rebecca’s employees (who gets shot defending the house), and the driver/bouncer of the “House of Sin” where Helena Bonham-Carter works. This is also supposed to be Texas, but I can’t actually think of any Latino characters, besides a “Spaniard” (bad guy), and another of Rebecca’s employees.

Still with me? Nice work. So clearly I went into this with a critical lens, but you wouldn’t expect anything less. This film has come under a lot of harsh criticism, and for the most part, it deserves it. As a piece of cinema, it’s just a bad movie. On top of a bad movie, we have layers of stereotypes and harmful representations that are going to keep haunting us as Native peoples for years to come.

My theater had a bunch of kids in it. I kept thinking about what images they were leaving the theater with–and that left me upset and worried. Now an entire new generation is going to play the Lone Ranger and Tonto at recess, thinking Indians talk in incomplete and inconsistent pidgin English, think all Indians are dead, and that it’s ok to dress as an “Indian” for Halloween. While this might be a flash-in-the-pan film, it solidifies the continuing views of Native peoples as lesser, as relics of the past, as disappearing, as roadblocks to “progress.” Tonto might have been less of a sidekick and running the show, but in the end, the LR gets the girl and the glory, and Tonto ends up in a museum. Hows that for a re-imagining.

I have a lot more to say (of course), and can only imagine there might be a follow up post (or two, or three) as I think through some of the bigger issues of white supremacy and messaging and how this has all played out in the media. But I do have to say, as backward as it sounds, thank you to Johnny Depp. Because all of a sudden everyone cares about Indians in hollywood, everyone cares about stereotypes in the media. He might have thought it was his Tonto character that would fix things in Hollywood, but in fact the huge mistakes of this film have opened up the door for a conversation that needed some publicity. So thanks for that, I guess. Let’s hope this signals a turning point.

Bottom line: Don’t go see the Lone Ranger. Just don’t.

Previous Native Approps Lone Ranger coverage:

Johnny Depp as Cultural Appropriation Jack Sparrow…I mean Tonto
Why Tonto Matters
Johnny Depp as Tonto: I’m still not feeling “honored”
Real Indians don’t care about Tonto
Armie Hammer talked to some Natives who love Lone Ranger
Johnny Depp tells Rolling Stone more about Tonto

  • archefemme

    Sorry… and not to split hairs, but isn’t Monument Valley in Arizona/Utah, and not New Mexico? (still reading, just wanted to mention that before I forgot. Keep fighting the good fight!)

    • Adrienne_K

      Right you are. I was just thinking 4 corners area.

    • Codewizard

      > Not that I was going to see this movie anyway,

      translation: I’m smarter than you guys.

      > I’m a little shocked at the “many moons ago” thing

      So should white people stop saying “many days ago?” You do realize that at one time most people relied upon the moon to track time? No, and yet you speak as if you are an expert. Hmm

      • archefemme

        I can choose not to see a movie (or not to do all kinds of other things) with a well-thought-out and intentioned decision without it being a reflection on you. You are obviously free to make whatever decisions you’d like to make with your time and money. Talking about what I’ve done has no bearing on you, and I’d really appreciate it if you’d not attempt to “translate” my comments for me. I don’t need a translator, and I don’t need anyone to speak on my behalf.

      • liz4horses

        We have had a program for decades called “Dragonmasters” it is a lead in name, making fun of the white people who thought Native Americans were “awed” by horses in the eighteen hundreds after they had been stealing them from europeans as far back as Columbus, and the Spanish Nazis known as the Conquistadores. I still do not understand why Mexicans love Spanish, it is an abusive, murderous gang language forced on them. Most Native Americans were forced to English in BIA schools that burned their tongues with hot fireplace pokers for speaking their native languages……and they had no language to pass along. That aside, Magic Dog is what the europeans say Natives called horses, in fact many nations called them something similar to caballo…….probably from the SPANISH they were being stolen from when the Native Nations realized without their horses the spanish were not so powerful an enemy. Got that from history show on television about the real zorro, a Native Californian, not a spaniard.

        Most Native languages, similar to Hebrew, had root words. Such as four legged animals, two legged animals, feathered animals. The europeans, trying to learn learned wrong and interpreted wrong.

        It is time for us all to stop being so mean, and learn history in all different languages and syntax, and not put one ahead of others. While I believe business american is a universal language that includes many other languages, like blintz, taco, lasagne, etc….and MF and other cool movie terms made famous by media, it might be a good choice for a global language.

        If we as humans spent time learning real history, and learning from real history, we all might be better off………….the chinese are at this moment dealing with the movement of industrial revolution to their country, they will end up with cities filled with poverty ridden sweat shop slaves, and a country that is decimated by pollution and environmental destruction. Oh, that sounds like the four hundred years it took the europeans to ruin America…….and before that all those other continents……….we just refuse to learn.

        The Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence gave us, the human race, a chance to stop the stupidity and begin to learn. Unlike computers, we do not learn. We just keep doing the same stupid thing over and over and over, in bigger ways.

  • UnderINK

    I could have been okay with Depp playing Tonto if they had gotten everything else right, from giving women proper speaking roles and giving natives proper speaking roles, to being more authentic in the culture they were supposed to be representing, to Tonto’s characterisation itself. Like, I would have no problem with Johnny Depp playing this character if they had done it right, but alas, they did not. And it makes me wonder if the Comanche nation involved in making this will be upset by the final product. I promised I would see it to give my own review on it to those that follow me, but I will definitely wait until it’s no longer in theatres and either borrow it from someone that already has it or stream it because I wouldn’t want to support an effectively racist and sexist project monetarily.

    • Codewizard

      So had he played to your PC requirements that push YOUR agenda, you would have approved of the film. Wow. No doubt Johnny Depp is crushed.

      You mean the Comanche TRIBE, there are no Indian nations; except India.

      • Susan White

        Actually, many of us don’t use the word “tribe”. We are from Native American Nations. You don’t know that many Indigenous groups that are federally recognized are considered sovereign nations? We are recognized as sovereign nations by the US federal government. Therefore, we have the right to use the word nation.



      • Rob Schmidt

        No, I’m pretty sure Adrienne meant the Comanche Nation:


      • liz4horses

        Even though Native Nations call themselves NDN Tribes, Native Nations are not Indians, thank you Codewizard for pointing that out. I just got the idea to make my students go over this movie and rewrite it as a documentary of the old west…………..just to make them deal with that movies are not real, just made to sell……….to whom? teen age guys and old farts who will waste money and have some to waste.

  • Aurelas

    The only reason I even thought of going to see this was because I am a huge Helena Bonham Carter fan. Some of her movies in the past I have had to skip, though, because of the content, and it looks like this is most certainly another. I was already very offended by Johnny Depp’s Tonto and his bizarre statements (anyone else think he sounded completely drugged out?) in the magazines and such about Native Americans, but figured I might check the movie out when it inevitably turns up at the local library. Now, I think not. Racist, incredibly bad, and now really gory too? Wow…no thanks! I’ve warned my mama too. Despite her own heritage she didn’t care about the rest (irony!) but she doesn’t like gore. I have a feeling she may end up going to see it and then complaining to me afterwards though. :(

  • Eva

    “It’s very much a Guns, Germs, and Steel type moment–even though the
    Indians outnumber the whites, they’re not technologically advanced
    enough to win, and they are too dumb (or full of backward “honor”) to
    they’re headed for a death trap.” I assume you do know Comache history? Did you study about Second Battle of Adobe Walls, 700 Native
    Americans against 28 white buffalo hunters ? It’s a part of
    Comache history, and , unfortunately, it’s very similar to this movie

    As for “Guess what they’re doing? Preparing for war, dancing around a fire, of
    course. Lots of yelping, lots of drumming, lots of masked, painted, and
    Native faces.” – I recommend you to read an autobiography of Plenty
    Coups, he describes tribe’s life very well – a lot of wars, preparing
    for wars, being attaced, revange attacs. He even mentioned warrior could
    predict his own death, and that Medicine Man could only with prayers
    and touch of his fingers heal a wound which seemed mortal, until it
    became a scar, and it only took him a maybe an hour. I guess you would
    find it too stereotypical and maybe too fictional, mystical or whatever,
    if such situation would be shown in The Lone ranger for example.

    Thankyou for this report, you made me REALLY want to see this movie, even if
    not showing current Indians, but those from the past – brave ones, too desperate to save families to care about own life, those steretypical ones who were
    like this for real.

    You must REALLY hate the fact that Not Native
    played Tonto if you see everything as an insult to Native Americans.
    Maybe decide it’s a movie about a totaly different nation from the one
    you’re from, and don’t feel so offended anymore? I know that current
    Indians are believing in One Nation, One Tribe, but in the past every
    tribe fought very hard to stay separated from the rest and would do
    litteraly everything to make problems to enemy, they could even help
    white people to win just to make sure their enemies will lose. Maybe
    this one time you should feel Cherokee and not Native American.

    • Wow. While I get the whole drawing parallels to selected portions of actual history thing, portrayals do still matter. It’s less a question of authenticity than of choice. Maybe those particular scenes really did happen at one point. But Hollywood, in this fictional story, still chose to focus on and depict those aspects that perpetuate really shitty assumptions and stereotypes.

      Also, your points can be made without lecturing the author about how she should feel.

      • Eva

        Maybe is she would learn a bit about history of other nations such as Comanches, she wouldn’t call them dumb.
        I was just suggesting her some way to feel more relaxed about this movie. It’s not about her, her nation, etc, it’s about Comanches. So why Cherokee woman should feel offended about it? Johnny was adopted to Comanche family, so at least some Comanches are totaly OK with The Lone Ranger. Also, I’ve read possitive review from certain Comanches point of view.

        If there are ‘shitty assumptions and stereotypes”, how should it look to make it more real and less stereotypical? How should look XIX century warrior, how should he speak, what should he wear?What should be movie about, what kind of story? I asked this question many times on many different sites, but never got any answer on it.

        • Rob Schmidt

          He should dress and speak like a person of his time. If he’s a Comanche, then like a Comanche person of his time.

          Which is radically different from Johnny Depp’s Tonto. I looked through hundreds of old photos of Comanches and didn’t see one who looked like Tonto.

          • Eva

            Don’t compare Tonto clothes to Comanche every day clothes, but to their war ones.Pefect example of Comanche from that time is Quanah Parker, not typical Native American. He could speak broken english and spanish, was a friend with white rancher (and with black ex.soldier too). If you read description of Quanah war look you see he was with a bare hast, painted black (paint color, painted place and paint design were up to person), and with loose hair.

            Also, for example Crazy Horse was known for dressing in a different way than other Lakotas. He disliked and never wore any jewelry, more fancy clothes, any hair decor, even braids. Would you tell him to dress like a proper Lakota? He also didn’t participate in Lakotas activtes, such as singing and dancing, also, he was a loner and didn’t like to spent his free time with the rest of the tribe, so was often ridding away.Very not typical Native man, that’s why he is known as a Strange Man of Oglala.

            • Rob Schmidt

              One, Tonto was pursuing an evil individual, not an enemy tribe or nation. That doesn’t qualify as “war.”

              Two, post a description of Parker’s “war look” and I’ll consider it. Given how you misstated the relevance of the Second Battle of Adobe Walls, I’m not inclined to take your word for it.

              Three, Quanah Parker was a chief and Tonto wasn’t. That alone disqualifies him a role model for a mere “warrior.”

              Four, neither Parker nor any other Comanche had a bird on his head. End of story there. The most important element of Tonto’s costume is a fabrication and a lie.

    • Rob Schmidt


      Your claims about the Second Battle of Adobe Wells are false. Some 700 Comanches besieged 28 hunters in a group of buildings. The hunters held them off with their long-range rifles until reinforcements arrived, whereupon the Indians gave up and left. Total dead: about 30, mostly Indians.

      How is this remotely similar to Indians riding to their deaths against Army troops armed with Gatling guns? Not caring if they were massacred because “we are already ghosts”? Other than the idea of a battle involving a superior numbers of Comanches, the situations are totally different.

      • Eva

        I never said that all Comanches, Shoshone and Kiowas died in this attact, but that whole situation was similar.And, it wasn’t SOME Comanches. Anyway, those Comanches, Shoshone and Kiowas failed even if there was so many of them and only a few of whites.

        “Not caring if they were massacred because “we are already ghosts”?” – Comanches, Kiowas and Shoshone were very desperated at that time, and it was thei last big try to remove white hunters from their territory. How do you know what they felt? Accordding to Plenty Coups, the warrior could predict his own death, and even when he knew he will die, he was fighting anyway. Here we have “already ghosts”. Also, those movie ghosts could be simply description of a real situation, doesn’t matter if they will fight or not, they’are not existing (as a free nation) anymore.

        • Rob Schmidt

          None of this verbiage changes my opinion that you misstated the relevance of the battle. Key differences: It wasn’t a suicidal attack against superior firepower; it was an ill-considered attack against a well-defended position. Most of the Comanches didn’t die, they lived.

  • Sean White Buffalo Chief

    Ha ha! :-) I just saw this movie and everything stated here is about right, it was jam packed full of stereotypes. I’d be mad if my tribe was associated with this movie. My sister and I didn’t care for Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Natives, we were disappointed with this movie. It’s a Disney movie, go figure. Wasn’t Walt Disney anti-Jewish?

    • merchantfan

      He was *anti-Semitic*. Not to be a jerk. That’s totally right; the proper terminology is just anti-Semitic.

  • chanceofrainne

    Uggh. I was afraid it would be like this when I saw the previews.

  • 1Living_Jack

    I don’t like that fact they hired Depp to play a Native…but then again they hired an Englishman to play Abe Lincoln. I guess White people just don’t care as long as they are entertained. I will wait for the video. Thanks

    • Bright Morning Star

      White people also hired a mixed man (his mother was of Aztec ancestry
      and father was Irish-Mexican) to play Greek in “Zorba the Greek” movie.
      You know why? Because he was a good actor. When you act it doesn’t mean
      you have to BE who you play, for example if you’re good you don’t have
      to be mentally ill to play such person, also in Ancient Greece men
      played female roles, in Japanese kabuki theatre they still do that.
      Baron Cohen (he’s a Jew so for some of you here NOT a white man) played
      a Kazakh journalist while NOT BEING from Kazakhstan, then he played
      Bruno, gay Austrain man (needless to say he isn’t any of it), then
      Admiral General Haffaz Aladeen – for sure that wasn’t a Jewish man
      either. Let me assure you that “Borat”, while being a really funny
      movie, was thousands times more offending to Kazakhs than “The Lone
      Ranger” is to Native Americans. Also, if you see an Englishman playing
      Lincoln so inacurrate you would probably wish an actor from an exact
      tribe as Tonto was to play him, seems ethnic accuracy isn’t enough, has
      to be same nationality (I know Tonto is a fictional character, before
      any of you will hurry to inform me).

      “I guess White people just
      don’t care as long as they are entertained.” – And what do you expect
      from a movie? Isn’t it’s purpose an entertainment? Or do you mean Whites
      are so dumb they can’t see any difference, don’t know that Daniel
      Day-Lewis isn’t American, haha, moviemakers tricked them, they put an
      Englishman in role of American and stupid white men didn’t notice. Was
      that the point you wanted to make? Now I wait for someone to say that
      only Lincoln could play himself, etc. because how dare anyone get an
      actor to play someone else. OMG, it’s cheating!! It’s not real, now
      everyone will see Abraham Lincoln as an Englishman!

      • Mosqitoe

        jew is not a skin colour friend
        you can b white and jewish

        • Chris Buchheit

          The Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group. While a white person may be Jewish in religious belief, they are not of Jewish (Hebrew) ancestry.

          • Bright Morning Star

            Chris, I wrote “for some of you here”. I know Jews are white. I see so many comments like “white people did this”, “white people did that”, “there’s not enough Natives to teach all the white people how stupid they are”, blahblahblah, lot of racial bs like this. Someone above commented “wasn’t Disney anti-Jews?” – as I already learned from Natives and Blacks you can’t be a racist toward Whites nor they can be discriminated – they’re too priviledged so every comment said to them that could sound racial is in fact teaching them the truth. Therefore, if Disney (a white man) was anti-Jews and you admit that fact, Jews aren’t white for you. It’s not my fault that the more comments from Natives I see the less expectations I have. Or more, if I see often enough that white people are stupid, they stole someones land, they can’t understand how it is to be opressed, discriminated, things like that, it will make me more and more immune for their complains. If you think I’m so stupid, racial, stole your land (even though I’m not American nor I’ve ever been there) then don’t expect me to kiss your ass. I didn’t do anything to you so if you can insult me I can insult you as well, if you think it’s fine to say whatever you wish about my ethnicity then so be it, but same goes to you. And btw, Whites are not one big group who arrived to America, invaded indigenous people, killed them and stole their land – there is actually a lot of nations of people with white skin (you know, not white per se, I’m speaking about ethnic group).

            • Shayne Gryn

              That’s pretty demonstrative of how race is a social construct. To some, Jews are white. To white supremacist groups, they are not.

              • Eva

                Don’t tell me you find Sean White Buffalo Chief a white supremacist. It’s him who find Jews apart of white people.
                I have to admit, every race supremacists piss me of as hell, doesn’t matter if they’re White, Native Amercian or Black.

                • Shayne Gryn

                  No, of course I don’t. It wasn’t an exclusive statement. Some people consider Jews to be white, some people don’t. Of the people who don’t, some of them are white supremacists. I have Jewish heritage and my family history is steeped in genocide. I grew up identifying as white. It took many years before I realized that the typical “white” experience had little resemblance to my own life. Now, I no longer identify as white, but acknowledge that I benefit from a significant amount of white privilege, as I am socially constructed by many as white.

                  • merchantfan

                    I think Jews are maybe in a situation similar to members of ethnic groups like Latinos and blacks (would have used African-American, but it applies outside the U.S. too) who appear white enough that they can ‘pass’, which is a privilege that others don’t have. Jews can pass and light-skinned or mixed race people can pass, but they still face prejudice and can live in fear of showing their whole identity. So the whole white/non-white thing. White, but ethnic. Probably also applies to the Irish, Italians, etc. at different point of time. I think it’s a caveat to white privilege. You still have it because you appear white, but you can still be discriminated against because of your ethnicity.

              • Bright Morning Star

                Ok. To me Native Americans are equal Blacks equal Whites, equal any other ehtnic group. I refuse to agrre that I’m inferior because I’m white, not that I’m superior to anyone, I like to see myself as equal to any other person.

                I see Jews are white, even though I’ve read some comments from a young Jew woman who was wondering if it’s right that they are called white – she feels they’re something different. Lots of people stating their ethnic background say they’re “Jew and Black”, “Jew and Native American”, etc. Not white, just Jew. That’s why I said for some people here Jews are not Whites, they’re something else.

                • Shayne Gryn

                  Who is accusing you of being inferior because you’re white? I have not seen this happen.

                  • Bright Morning Star

                    Because you see only one side, I read quite a lot of comments made by people of color where they insinuate or say it straight that white people are worse, they should be ashamed of what they did to minorities, etc. On one Native American oriented fb group someone answered to a white woman “after reading this part >>as a white person I(…)<< I stopped to read" and "you're white, no one here cares about your opinion". Also there's a group about mixed people, once there was described a situation when a small mixed girl sees herself as White, her mother saw it as a problem and everyone commenting agreed and hoped some day she will see herself as Black. Then maybe two weeks ago similar problem was presented, only this time child saw herself as Black only – people cheered, were advicing concerned parent that she should accept her child choosing this ethnicity that she wants, it's child's right to be who she wants, etc. Everything is fine and people are happy as long as someone is not white. Chosing this, let me say, quite shameful ethnicity, is a big faux pas these days. Also, there is one Native American journalist who, in a very elaborated blog entry, explained that he would never date a white girl. Imagine this being said by a white guy about any other ethnic group. Oh right, there was such situation, Paris Hilton said she likes Whites only, I still remember this uproar about her being SUCH A RACIST!
                    Here you have a comment by some Native lady written to some opponent who, as we can see, happened to be white (wasn't me): "A delusional white woman who I could care less about what it is you think of me, or what you want to say about me publicly, privately, whatever. Because the thing is…my community is my Indian community – that's what matters to me. I'm surrounded by my Indian people because unlike your little boy toy – I am the real deal and not a simpleton wannabe but aint never gonna be.". Sounds pretty offending, no? Why did she even add this "white" to "delusional"? Was it stronger insult in her "Indian(…)the real deal" eyes?

                    • Shayne Gryn

                      Calling someone “white” isn’t much of an insult. I understand it can be uncomfortable when people make dismissive comments based on your race (if that race is “white”) however, it’s not quite the same. Here, this says it better than I can: http://blackgirldangerous.org/new-blog/2013/6/11/qtpoc-chat-episode-1-reverse-racism

                    • Bright Morning Star

                      I’m not saying it’s an insult. What I was trying to say was that it’s insulting when someone adds “white” to make an insult stronger – like “delusional white woman who blahblahblah”. Why did she add this white? Did this real deal Indian thought her opponent doesn’t know she’s white? I’m sure she did very well. From the rest of Native lady words you can clearly get the message why she added it – because that woman is just some White, nothing to care about, no one whos words have any meaning. This I’m finiding insulting, this contempt toward white person just because she’s white.

                      I checked this article you linked here and I can agree with this – there is no such thing as reverse racism. But that’s all. Both ladies speaking there seem to think that it’s racism only when Whites are discriminating Blacks, when it’s opposite it’s as simple as telling someone “I don’t like you”, no big deal.
                      “But it is to say that even in
                      doing that, you’re not contributing to a system that is oppressive to white
                      people, because there isn’t a system that is oppressive to white people.”

                      ” None of that is feeding into a system that’s built up to
                      oppress white folks.” <—– Which system is built to oppress Black people or Natives? I don't know much about that, can you tell me something more?

                      "I mean, some people’s definitions of what racism is are
                      just so shockingly simple: “It’s not liking people because of their race.” No.
                      That’s not racism. You need to read and you need to—you know, there’s Google. There’s
                      this thing, there’s Google, did you ever heard of it?! Do some research. Go to
                      the library. That is not a definition of racism, that is not what racism is. Go
                      get caught up on what racism is and how it operates, because if you don’t even
                      understand that then you’re not going to be able to have a conversation about racism
                      and how it operates at all."

                      Oxford dictionary definitions:
                      – the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics,
                      abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to
                      distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races:

                      – prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

                      I can't see there anything about any certain race, only you're a racist when you think your race is superior. Oh, and this first definition fits perfectly to this Native lady I mentioned before, the "real deal Indian".

                      Another definition of racism, from thefreedictionary.com:

                      1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.

                      2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

                      See, still nothing about this that white people shouldn't be offended and claim they were victims of racism.

                    • Jade

                      I really wish that people of any ethnicity or “race” could understand that when the generalisation of “white people” is thrown around, it’s not pinpointing specific individuals or even white people at all sometimes. White people is just another way of saying white *culture*. What it also shows is how sensitive white people are about being called out on their lack of empathy for other people by dismissing that white people are responsible for most of the issues in the world today. Yeah, sure, YOU didn’t personally enslave people in the 1600s, your ancestors might not have even done this, but you still support the institution of racism by trying to wave away any potential that white people currently have in changing the way that we all deal with race. You’re freaking out because a Native American is speaking their opinion? That doesn’t mean she speaks for all Native Americans, just as one white person does not speak for all white people. Denying and distancing yourself from an issue and finding the combination of “white” and “delusional” doesn’t bode very well.

                    • Bright Morning Star

                      List me at least one nation or one ethnic group that isn’t responsible of any crimes against others. Do you really think that only white people had slaves? Only Whites fought against others? Only they invaded others? Did you know that Native Americans owned slaves? Or that, according to Wikipedia, “90 percent of those shipped to the New World were enslaved by Africans and then sold to European traders”. About Trail of Tears: “Many Native Americans suffered from exposure, disease and starvation on
                      the route to their destinations. Many died, including 60,000 of the
                      130,000 relocated Cherokee, intermarried and accompanying
                      European-Americans, and the 2,000 African-American free blacks and slaves owned by the Cherokee they took with them. European Americans and African American freedmen and slaves also
                      participated in the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek and Seminole
                      forced relocations.”, “A limited number of non-native Americans (including African-Americans –
                      usually as slaves) also accompanied the Native American nations on the
                      trek westward.” (source: Wikipedia)
                      Do you see what I see? They had slaves. Black ones. I’m afraid slavery exists as long as humankind, Whites didn’t invent it, nor they invented wars.

                      I know this Native American woman didn’t speak for all Natives, but this is example of racism toward white person. I didn’t quote it here to show you “this is how all Native American think”. Though I’ve seen a lot of such comments – when there was a fuss around one Navajo religious ceremony that involved campfire, Forest Service interrupted and extinguished it (very small one, probably not dangerous at all) – the problem is at the same time there were those big fires in US and they were expecting strong wind in Arizona, in close interval to this ceremony. It was not allowed to burn a campfire near any wood, this ban was for everyone, not for Natives only. After this action of Forest Service I have read some comments on one Native supporting group, one white lady wrote that they should understand this ban wasn’t against them, it was to protect people, their lives, etc. Then she recollected one situation when a big fire started from someone’s small campfire + a strong wnid. In a result some children died when their home burned. Response from one person was quite shocking, it was something like “and it’s good, all while people should burn to death”. Come on, all white people? If some White would say that it would be called blunt racism, nothing else.

                    • Jade

                      Yes. I know all of that. I’m focusing on one issue here which is racism in AMERICA. Of course white people weren’t the first to “invent” slavery (although they did have the feudal system for the longest time in Europe as well as predecessors in Rome and Greece etc., which could arguably be a form of slavery); of course white people aren’t the only ones that have committed crimes against others (hello Genghis Khan), *but* it was white people that began to differentiate between white/nonwhite *and* Christian/non-Christian in America and everywhere else they colonized up until the 20th century (and don’t forget about the Crusades but again that was about religion mostly). Slavery has happened for very explicit reasons: one being to maintain order (a.k.a. the control of resources) within the hierarchy that they had lived by for centuries (white/Christian).

                      Also, slavery wasn’t the same as we know it as now. I’m not excusing any other form of slavery outside of America but I think it’s important to know the history behind this word. “Slavery” is a word that is quite similar to how Slavic people identified themselves. Before English as we know now, the word was used in various old languages (Greek, Medieval English and French). Slavs, people from Eastern Europe today, is a word and wouldn’t have been used by Indigenous peoples. Slavery is actually a white word, so…I think you can infer what importance that implies in terms of slavery as we are talking about here. This form of slavery was not the same as slavery of the Americas. My main point really is that “slavery” is a blanket term, just like “white people” (which is funny because white people actually made this a huge category by breaking down ethnic cultures who appeared white as well), The word and the concept and the history is broad and complicated but still important to understand and be open to discussion. We’re never going to get anywhere if we can’t talk about this in any real way. Is there still slavery today? Definitely, but it isn’t the same as slavery was 300 years ago.

                      Like I said about complicated, your comment really illustrates how complicated the idea of “race” is and its history in human history. No one understands it perfectly or in the same way, which is both cultural, historical, and educational even. Racism as we know it did not exist prior to the late 1400s. There were Christians and non-Christians. That was the “group” that most people identified with. People didn’t even start differentiating themselves by region/country until the late Renaissance period and even then it was brand new. The “discovery” of the “new world” was one of the events that has led us up to this moment. Christian navigators/explorers encountered people that didn’t look like them and didn’t believed in what they believed in. Rather than re-evaluate their beliefs, these people from Europe decided that nonwhites were inferior because that was more convenient for them.

                      Finally, racism against white people does not exist. I’m sorry but it really doesn’t. Citing reverse racism is something that immediately shuts down progressive conversation because 1) white people kind of did create racism and 2) white people aren’t listening to the needs of others (or as some people like to call it “complaining”, “using the race card”, etc etc.; naturally, this case in every racial incident, there are levels of unnecessary contention, but that’s beside the point and would take up more space). Racism involves real political and social power. People can be prejudice against white people, but the world is dominated by whiteness, which wouldn’t be such an issue if people weren’t assholes about it. Have black people ever been allowed to hide their faces and terrorize white people in America, let alone legally? Have white people had to function within a oppressive set of laws that put them in sub-par facilities and residences until the late 1960s? Are white people being ostracized as “illegal immigrants” regardless of the fact that white people immigrated here too and actually annexed part of Mexico (the Southwest)? No. PoC can call white people “crackers” or whatever they want, but there’s no legal repercussion. There is no system behind these words that will effect the rights of white people. It’s no single individual’s fault that the world works this way, but everyone in that “superior” group still benefits from the label in some way (again this is complicated but I’m staying on point). That’s what keeps racism and discrimination of any kind alive.

                      And I just want to point out that you kind of exemplify the issues with nonwhite people living in a white dominated culture–their ways of life are subjected to the same rules that “everyone else is” because they’re assumed to be under the same cultural understanding. They’re not; in fact, Native Americans were left to their own devices really once relocated to reservations. The “help” that the U.S. government has liked to allocate to themselves is nothing to brag about. I know that some of nonwhite customs and traditions are not the best or acceptable in terms of how we see things, but that’s very ethnocentric. If Native Americans and others aren’t allowed to continue traditions that they’ve most likely been doing for hundreds of years then their identity is being taken away once again. White people tried to assimilate and take away Native American traditions and culture. That’s a fact. I know that laws are laws, but this is assimilation again just in a less drastic form.

                      What’s sad is that PoC are rarely ever allowed to express their identity without someone trying to tell them they can’t (like the “n” word for example–another problematic issue). The people who are “in power” are the ones who can label people–savages, heathens, slaves, etc. I’m not saying wildfires are anything to take lightly (especially given recent events) but either is something that is meaningful and important to a group of people. I’m not talking down to you. I really wish that I could communicate effectively and I wish that we were open to changing out points of views. I’ll just continue to hope that things get better.

                    • Eva

                      Wow, you wrote a really long pseudoacademic comment. Rarely I can see so many wrong informations in one place.

                      “Slavery” is a word that is quite similar to how Slavic people
                      identified themselves. Before English as we know now, the word was used
                      in various old languages (Greek, Medieval English and French). Slavs,
                      people from Eastern Europe today, is a word and wouldn’t have been used
                      by Indigenous peoples.” excapt they are not. “Slavic” people never are calling themselves like that, they are using country names for it, never “Slavic”. Maybe in english those two words sound a bit similar (I don’t see it) but it’s english version of this word. When Slavic people are using this word, it sound totaly different, like for example Słowianie (polish). Slavic people don’t consider themselves as a nation.If slavery is “english” word, how you, Native Americans were calling your slaves? I’ve studied a lot about Native Americans , so know pretty well there was a problem with slaves too. Of course not as big as in Africa for example, but still. Were it white people who were killing slaves in Aztec Nation? How about slaves in ancient Egypt? They had really a lot of it. Africa ancient major trans-Saharan kingdoms were selling slaves to Rome. Between the 16th and 19th centuries between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans (WHITE PEOPLE) were captured by Barbary pirates and sold as slaves to North Africa and the Ottoman Empire. Your informations seems a little bit not complete.

                      “Are white people being ostracized as “illegal immigrants” regardless of
                      the fact that white people immigrated here too and actually annexed part
                      of Mexico (the Southwest)” – They do. What do you think, that being white automatically makes you
                      legal in America. People from some ‘white” countries need visa to enter
                      US, and it’s not that easy to get it. Without said visa they can’t enter
                      US, and if they would they would be totally illegal.

                      Also, a part of WHAT? You mean this brand new country established on Aztec territory? Oh, big deal, English and French stole Spanish people lands they stole from Aztec. If you want to know Lakota annexed Apsaalooke lands, Navajo Anasazi’s, Comanche of a few smaller tribes. Looks like whole America is one big society of Illegal Immigrants.

                      “Racism as we know it did not exist prior to the late 1400s. There were Christians and non-Christians. That was the “group” that most people identified with.” – And before Christians there was nothing… Which country were you studying about? United States ? Racism was and will be everywhere where is human kind, same with homophobia, sexism.,murders, abortion, etc.

                      “and don’t forget about the Crusades but again that was about religion mostly” – Yes, sure, definitely. It was about money.Also because of money, money and some more money too.

                      “That was the “group” that most people identified with. People didn’t even start differentiating themselves by region/country until the late
                      Renaissance period and even then it was brand new.” Seriously? Poland and Czech Republic were established about 870-930 AD, Germany at the similar time. Those countries are so very young comparing to countries like Egypt (3500 BC). People since the most ancient times were recognizing own countries and call themselves their citizens.

                      “Finally, racism against white people does not exist. I’m sorry but it really doesn’t.” – here, here, I see racist comment toward white people! You do realize that such comments as your are making (white) people angry and provoking them to say the same to people of color? Before I thought that Native Amaericans are nations (full of intelligent people, with dignity and common sense) currently oppresed by white people, but such people like you prove me wrong. You’re showing me how naive I was.You see, I was financially supporting ( many hundreds of US) certain social community runned by Native Americans for Native Americans, but now I’m thinking that it’s runned by racists for racists. Who would like to support such people?

            • Chris Buchheit

              Uh…cool? I was just responding to Mosqitoe who didn’t seem to understand the difference.

            • cahier3

              Did you step out of our KKK meeting just to write that? Moron get out. Why don’t you go to the fucking NAACP and deny your privilege some more.

              • Bright Morning Star

                Moron, I’m not going to waste my time on you. Consider this an answer.

          • There are many kinds of Jews who are of Hebrew ancestry. Ashenazi Jews are often white, but Arab Jews are, of course, Arab, for example. The Diaspora was two thousand years ago, of course there’s racial variety since.

      • Eva

        I can think about even worse misunderstanding those stupid white people can make. For example Schindler’s List – now EVERYONE most surely believe that Oskar Schindler was, in fact, Irish! I haven’t seen any German actor playing there Nazi too, only Polish actors, who, most definitely weren’t ones.

        I wonder what is the most offensive in The Lone ranger, this “stereotypical” portet of Wild West (and not only Tonto, keep it in mind), or the fact that Johnny Depp, Not Native actor (what a blashemy!) DARED to play Native American. When I see how Native Americans are reacting I feel big dissapointment and secondhand embarrassment. Racists are racists, doesn’t matter what skin color. they have.

      • Rob Schmidt

        Since most Americans believe Indians are primitive people of the past…yes, they are that stupid. And this movie reinforces their stupidity–especially with Disney, Depp, and company claiming it’s authentic.

    • Eva

      which Potawatomi actor would you like to play Tonto?

    • Shayne Gryn

      The difference is that Abe Lincoln is not a member of a marginalized group beset by genocide and living under Colonialist oppression.

      • Bright Morning Star

        I don’t care about Lincoln to be honest, wrote about him, Day-Lewis and this movie only because someone before me wrote about another stupidity made by Whites – “but then again they hired an Englishman to play Abe Lincoln. I guess
        White people just don’t care as long as they are entertained. I will
        wait for the video.” See, they hired an Englishman to play Abe Lincoln. Also “White people just don’t care as long as they are entertained” – generalizing much? How can he see that Whites don’t care and stereotype Natives while he’s doing exactly the same? Because all Whites are one big group, without any diversity, right?

        • Shayne Gryn

          Yeah, I was replying to 1Living_Jack

  • penguin_boy

    Wow. From the first preview I thought was going to be a train wreck (no pun intended) and I was especially leery of Depp as Tonto. Seems things were worse than I thought.

    I guess you have to give them some credit for at least trying to get the Comanche right, but if the whole movie falls on a walking stereotype, what’s the point?

  • Matthew

    the fact is, the film, whether you like it or not, would not have even been given the green light had Depp not pushed to have it made. Given that, it was a no brainer to cast Depp in order to link the film to the popularity of the Pirates franchise. And really, what “Native American” actor has the name recognition and star power of Depp? ::crickets:: Yeah. Sure you could have cast a Graham Greene or Wes Studi or….hmmm. Guess that’s it. And we all saw how adept at comedy Studi was in Mystery Men, didn’t we? Oh wait, that’s right. He was horrible. Greene would have been funny. He’s talented. He was decent in Maverick. But even in Maverick he played a stereotype. Wait…a Native American actor playing a stereotype of a Native American? IMPOSSIBLE!

    It’s a silly action comedy based on a character that current movie goers don’t even really know anything about other than the famous theme song. Even when Silverheels played the part it was a stereotype. There was no getting around the fact that a comedy about Dudley Do-Right on a horse with an Indian sidekick was NOT going to be a stereotype. I didn’t see anything in the press about angry Native Americans talking about how they were lobbying for the part. Most likely because they felt the part was inherently stereotypical in spite of who was cast. Depp wanted to make this movie and wanted to play Tonto. Since no one else wanted to, or had the power to get it done, seems fair that Depp had every right to play the part.
    Also, all the actual Native Americans in the film would not have had a job if not for Depp. I suppose that doesn’t matter to some obscure blogger but I imagine it matters greatly to those Native Americans who made money. Why not ask them if they’re cool with this film being made. No, I suppose their answer would contradict everything you’ve been saying about the film and Tonto and whitewashing and that wouldn’t look good for your little blog having a Native American say they enjoyed working on a film that was such a blight on the good name of Native Americans(insert eyeroll here).
    This is an action comedy by the people who did movies based on a Disneyland ride. It’s not a documentary on Wounded Knee and it’s not Dances With Wolves. Pick your battles more carefully next time.

    • Shayne Gryn

      Depp could have just as easily played The Lone Ranger and the film could have been a successful platform to boost an actual Native American to stardom.

      And I would never take not seeing something in the press as a sign of it not happening.

      • Bright Morning Star

        Would it be less insulting, stereotypical, etc. then? Is that the only problem, wrong ethnicity of an actor? It’s bad because race is incorrect?

        • Shayne Gryn

          No, that’s far from the only issue. There are a lot of things that needed to be corrected. Perhaps having a Native American in a starring role would have pushed them to correct more of these things. Then again, perhaps not.

    • Brenda A.

      In Maverick, Greene played an Indian who was having to pretend to be a stereotypical Indian for a Russian tourist who wanted the “real American experience” – and was pretty disgusted by the whole thing but needed the money. Not the same thing at all.

    • Jade

      1) Native Americans have little to no star recognition because mainstream Hollywood doesn’t give them anything outside of stereotypical parts.

      2) A handful of Native Americans getting paid for being in a film does not negate the fact that OVERALL nothing will really change for them. This movie is simply a representation of how invisible and cast aside Native Americans have been since they were “relocated” to reservations.

      3) Citing Dances with Wolves? Really? That’s like saying Japanese people ought to like/take seriously The Last Samurai. Just another white dude coming into an ethnic culture that is not their own and seeing how wonderful/great/amazing it is blahblahblah.

      • Eva

        Personaly I know many Japanese people who indeed like The Last Samurai. Funny that you listed this movie, I was just thinking about how NOT insulting Japanese media found that movie.

        • Jade

          Well Japan doesn’t have the same racial issues we have here in America, so I suppose it would be received differently.

  • Kristin Hocker

    I feel the need to start with gratitude to you for sitting through this movie with your critical lens, and breaking it down for the rest of us. Between this and Django Unchained, I’ve felt a visceral repulsion for Hollywood. What comes to mind for me is that there are thousands of different stories begging to be portrayed in film that could make prevalent the experiences of POC, women, people of difference, in their own voices, yet are continuously passed over (or under supported) for those that reiterate problematic stories like the Lone Ranger and Django. I refuse to spend my money, time, and mental energy on films that simply continue to perpetrate how we’re seen, rather than how we see ourselves and hire POC, women, people of difference to simply fill the backdrop to those warped visions. But, like you say at the end, the blessing of that hot mess is that it is inspiring other critical discussions about why these films and their characters are problematic, and hopefully will fuel other cinematic counter-narratives. So I end my comment with even more gratitude to you for speaking out and informing the rest of us along the way.

    • Shayne Gryn

      I’m 100% in agreement about Lone Ranger. Just from the trailer, I could tell that it was both a terrible movie and was built on terrible representations. But have you seen Django? I can’t imagine both these films being on the same playing field.

      • merchantfan

        I finally saw Django and I thought it had a much bigger problem with it’s female characters than black male characters or violence. I still thought it was pretty good though. It certainly wasn’t as cathartic as Inglorious Basterds, but I had a harder time seeing the racial dubiousness that I had read about and I am usually the first to note problematic features, even in things I like. But there was a woman problem, for sure. I will have to reread some of those articles at some point to examine the points.
        I thought the n-word issue was overblown since I’m pretty sure that was the most common term for them at the time (look at Huckleberry Finn, and Twain was being enlightened for the time) and if I ever want to quote it I will use my usual tact of just awkwardly putting in ‘n-word’ for the real thing. I sound super white, but I’d sound super white the other way *and* racist, so I prefer to just sound like a dork.
        It seemed like Tarantino did a good job of painting the picture, at least for the men, of people that had been born into this situation and were somewhat resigned to at least some aspects of it, but still saw it as a horrible and desperate situation. I liked how Django and King sort of played off each other and even switched by the end as each was knowledgeable in their own particular fields coming into it.

        • cgthegeek

          I’m curious to know what your “woman problem” with Django was…

          • merchantfan

            Well, if you’ve seen the movie you’ll notice that Kerry Washington doesn’t get much of a part besides standing there looking pretty and screaming. And the other female slaves seem to act a lot less soulful and more clueless than the male slaves like the girl Django talks to to find the brothers that tortured him and his wife who just sort of stares at him when he asks her, along with the girl who is just swinging on a swing while they are whipping another girl nearby. One or two I wouldn’t care since you can have personality variety, but it seemed a pretty common trend.

            Which *does* go with the whole blaxsploitation thing which I think was the genre of the original, since there was a lot of sexism in those movies, but as with the ‘homage’ of the stereotypical Indian in Lone Ranger, it isn’t subverted enough to not still be actually sexist.

            • cgthegeek

              I saw the movie several times. True, Broomhilde is a damsel in distress with very little agency. But I would argue that in cinema, Black women are never considered valuable enough to be rescued, so they never get to play a damsel in distress. Unlike White women/girls, who almost always get to play love interests and be rescued. As a Black woman, I found her being placed on a pedestal as the most beautiful woman, the most worthy of risking life and limb for, to be quite refreshing. Her rescue moment actually made me tear up. And it is counter to the Strong Black Woman stereotype we are accustomed to seeing. Kerry explains this better here: http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2012/11/kerry-washington-on-black-actresses-we-arent-afforded-the-luxury-of-playing-damsel-in-distress/

              As as to the agency of Broomhilde and the other slave women, I have to wonder what kind of agency you think a slave woman may have had during those times. If you guessed anything other than “none” you’d be very wrong. And you are right, they do “act” clueless, but have you considered that it may just have been an act. It was common for slaves to pretend to be simple-minded, because if Master though you thought you were smarted than he, you might get whipped or sold (or worse).

              It’s very easy to view the women in Django through a modern feminist lens, but it’s not that simple. There are many inter-sectional things at play here, things that modern feminism tends to ignore.

              • merchantfan

                It was nice she had value, but it was just as different object than normal– the typical problem with the damsel in distress (she’s just a quest object). The female slaves seemed to have in general less agency compared to the male slaves, not just compared to the white people. Hildy apparently tried to run off screen, but generally they just look scared or take orders. Again, not saying I didn’t like the movie, I just thought the female characters were more decorative than human. Which in a movie about slavery probably isn’t a good thing.

                • cgthegeek

                  “…but generally they just look scared or take orders.”

                  Because. They. Were. Slaves.

                  Hidly tried to run away… and got locked in a metal box. A slave girl broke an egg… anf got whipped.

                  The point is… slaves do not have ANY agency. That is the main component of slavery! Agency was completely stripped away from slaves. It may have been GIVEN back in small doses, like we see with Stephen (who was initially seen as non-threatening and simple to Candie) and Django (by King).

                  Slaves, especially slave women, were NOT considered human. They were PROPERTY. How can you ask a movie set during slavery to make the women more than mere objects/decorative, when it’s historically accurate that they were not?

                  • merchantfan

                    Yes, but the *characters* shouldn’t be objects, the slaveowners should views them that way. Django wasn’t an object. Even D’Artagnan wasn’t an object.

                    • cgthegeek

                      Keep missing my point.

                    • merchantfan

                      I get your point, but I disagree with it. There is a line between portraying a character appropriately and portraying them stereotypically and I think Tarantino crossed it this time. And believe me, I’m a fan of his work.

  • Geena PsyStudent

    I don’t think Burton had anything to do with this one =)

    • Superlegend Frankie Delmane

      thanks for the correction- sorry about the mistake

    • But it might as well have been. 😉

  • Geena PsyStudent

    Haven’t seen the movie though I can relate to your sentiment. I’m from Mexico, and I’ve often found myself cringing at some of the Mexican stereotypes in movies – even if it a funny movie like Fools Rush In, which I enjoyed despite its stereotypes =)

  • Kiva

    I worried that as a white woman with no Native blood that I was overreacting, but you know what? It’s offensive. It is totally offensive, and it would be great if maybe Hollywood could give us some non-white characters that don’t feel like caricatures. I mean, seriously.

    Keep up the awesome work. Don’t let anybody tell you that you don’t have the right to speak out about these things. You are not disrespecting your elders. You’re trying to assure that when you’re older, this shit isn’t still going on.

    • Matthew

      Lord save us from good intentioned white people looking out for the best interests of minorities.

      • Kiva

        I’m not looking out for anyone’s best interests. I’m reading the opinions and trying to understand the experiences of someone else, and saying that as a writer, I think it would be great to see more thoughtfully written characters. But thanks for being a fucking prick about it.

        • RapidDescent

          The characters are thoughtfully written. Tonto is loyal, courageous and honest through and through who stresses the importance of doing the right thing. The Natives in the movie are portrayed with immense respect, shown as people fighting for their rightful land, getting trampled by the approach of greed and deadly technology. There is no mockery there or anywhere in the film. So all the uppity business of people “understanding the experiences of others”, especially when even the reaction of the Native population (who are as vast and diverse as anything in America) has been split to those that really, really like the movie, those that don’t care and those that are upset.

          In short, blanket statements are nobody’s friend. Especially when speaking of a movie that you haven’t seen.

          • Codewizard

            “their rightful land?”

            you mean the land THEY TOOK? Really?

            • RapidDescent

              Wait, I’m confused, are you saying that the Natives took the land or that the white folks did?

              • Eva

                I don’t know what he means, but I do know that for example lands that Lakota were crying about and sueing Goverment over it, the Black Hills belonged for a long time to Apsáalooke nation, until Lakota simply attacked Apsáalooke, and stole their land. Same with Navajo, first they arrived and killed natives to “their” land, Anasazi, then they were crying that white people did the same.

          • Rob Schmidt

            I think you’re the first person to use the word “mockery.” Where did Adrienne say that was one of the film’s problems?

        • Codewizard

          You can’t understand someone’s experience by reading opinions. You can get a clue as to THEIR BIAS, and AGENDA.

    • Codewizard

      > I worried that as a white woman with no Native
      > blood that I was overreacting

      Translation: I’m ashamed to be white and want everyone to know that. Please don’t hate me; love me, I’m enlightened.


      • Eva

        I got the same message from this sentence

      • Jon Ayon

        You have a lot of comments, yet 0 followers. Perhaps the internet has yet to teach you a valuable lesson, but trolling blog sites to get reactions from people by being an asshole is a senseless act that in the end will provide you with nothing. Your standing on twitter could easily be an analogy for how you have chosen to live and what you have chosen to represent. Lonely. Desperate. Sad. 0 Followers and 0 Following. Just a sad, little troll with 471 (and climbing) useless things to say. Hopefully, someday you can be better than what you are today. Good luck.

        • Eva

          Lonely, desperate life without followers.That’s too much to stand, I just had to follow Codewizard, can’t let him live such a non perspective life.
          Your comment is so funny that I even liked it!

          • red

            If one has many hundreds of followers, one has worth.

            Thanks for your analysis of the film and your excellent writing. So much gobbledegook on the netz, it’s a pleasure to read this blog.

  • L_Mariachi

    What’s the problem with “rice paddy hats” aka coolie hats? That’s what Chinese agricultural workers wore/wear. Just because something real has been used as a stereotype in racist cartoons doesn’t make the thing itself racist. Feathered headdresses and tomahawks have long been used in offensive portrayals of Indians, but that doesn’t make every headdress or tomahawk inherently offensive.

    That said, this movie had “BAD IDEA” written all over it from the get-go. I can’t wait for the Farrelly Bros’ slapstick remake of Birth Of A Nation.

    • Sarah T.

      I haven’t seen the movie, but I think it would be incorrect to portray all chinese railroad laborers in “rice paddy” hats. Looking at contemporaneous photographs, some did wear those hats, while others wore different hats. Using the hat as a costume and as a marker of identity would be buying in to stereotypical narratives. I don’t know whether The Lone Ranger did this or not.

      • Codewizard

        You do realize that people in that time tried to look their best in Photos, right? They were always staged.

        • Sarah T.

          I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make. Yes, some of the photos are staged. In those photos, you can see some men with the stereotypical wide-brimmed hats and others with slightly narrower-brimmed hats that are still clearly sun-hats and not dress-hats. Is the assertion that some men changed from one sun hat to another for the photo, and others didn’t?

  • BrittanyLouis

    While I appreciate him trying to change the story from laughing stock to something of substance… it sounds like he really wrecked it. Wow.

  • RapidDescent

    So much misrepresentation and hyperbole in the first few paragraphs alone. More violent than Game of Thrones? Pfft. None of the violence is shown, not even the heart eating – it’s merely implied. All the other action is bloodless and on the same level as any old western action comedy.

    It’s such a shame that any real conversation is lost under these kinds of lies and sensationalist statements because they’re so much easier than any kind of communication. As with this review, I can’t help but believe that the writer went in wanting to find things to hate and even if they didn’t find them – they could just twist them into whatever they wanted to for the sake of being irate.

  • Ian Auld

    I’m Native American and people go to movies to be entertained. Nitpicking over a film of fiction when it is not a documentary nor a movie based on true events is really stupid. If people don’t like a film based on what they watch in the previews, have the intelligence to avoid watching it all together and not go into the theater to waste money on it.

    • Rob Schmidt

      No, thinking that movies and other forms of entertainment don’t influence our perceptions of Indians is really stupid. In fact, these are the PRIMARY sources of our perceptions of Indians. If you disagree, tell us what OTHER sources have more influence.

  • Michael Watson

    Thanks for the deeply thoughtful post, and the NPR comments. Clearly better is not anywhere near good enough. Most people simply don’t get it. Maybe worse, the conversation about blood quantum re Depp plays the all or nothing card – deeply colonial and racist. The entire process around this film enrages.

  • John McAndrew

    Valuable commentary, thank you. You articulated some things, especially about the tribe’s slaughter, that really bothered me.

    But, if I may, it is Cavalry, not Calvary – unless you mean there is Christian symbolism that I missed.

  • HonestMoonYow

    Which is longer? The movie or this review?

  • karen

    I’m really thoughtful of the Indigenous kids in my kids’ elementary school in Coast Salish territory (Vancouver), about what they now have to combat at ages 5 through 13, both externally (what other kids take from the film) and internally (what this says about them) because of this film. in 2013.

    “My theater had a bunch of kids in it. I kept thinking about what images they were leaving the theater with–and that left me upset and worried. Now an entire new generation is going to play the Lone Ranger and Tonto at recess, thinking Indians talk in incomplete and inconsistent pidgin English, think all Indians are dead, and that it’s ok to dress as an “Indian” for Halloween. While this might be a flash-in-the-pan film, it solidifies the continuing views of Native peoples as lesser, as relics of the past, as disappearing, as roadblocks to “progress.””

    • RapidDescent

      Except none of that is true in the film. Tonto speaks the way he does because he is traumatized and has made an effort to be unapproachable – the other Native Americans in the story speak English just fine. The film never states that all Native Americans are dead, just Tonto’s tribe. It also wasn’t any more violent than your average Disney film.

      • Shayne Gryn

        Did you read this review? I think it addresses your comment quite nicely.

        • RapidDescent

          I did read the review, but it is so filled with hyperbole and twisting the truth to such a degree that it’s hard to take seriously as a conversation starter – since it all it wants is to bury the movie, not actually understand anything.

      • karen

        In Thomas King’s Inconvenient Indian he discusses the portrayal of “dead Indians” (preferred) and the avoidance of any decent, realistic representation of live, modern-day Indians. This is the reference I am making in the above comment. I stand by my comment.

        • RapidDescent

          Why on earth would the movie have any representation of modern-day natives when the movie itself doesn’t take place anywhere near present day? The framing device, that is decidedly locked in place in the 1930’s fair – in a tent, no less – isn’t exactly the best place to feature anything of the sort.

          It is your peragotive to be offended, if you want, but I hope you realize that it’s not because of the movie – it’s because you’re looking for excuses to be offended.

          • Terrie_S

            And you seem to be looking for reasons to excuse the problems with the movie. You can’t defend writer choices with the in-story justification, because the writers CREATED that justification. Maybe they came up with trauma reason after they decided that Tonto would speak broken English (problematic), or maybe they decided to have Tonto speak broken English because they wanted a way to show he was traumatized (not as problematic, though, psychologically, that doesn’t make any sense), but either way, they made the CHOICE to have the main Indian character speak broken English when there was no objective reason to do so.

            • Eva

              Isn’t reason enough the fact that real Native Americans from XIX centrury spoke broken english or non english at all?

              • Terrie_S

                If you’re going to pull out that reasoning, then where are the Spanish speakers? Even today, 1 in 6 households in that part of the country speaks Spanish as their primary language. Not to mention, if you want to play the “historical fact” card, there were plenty of Natives who spoke limited, but unbroken, English, thanks to things like missionary schools. So, no, that’s not reason enough.

                • RapidDescent

                  And out of all the Native Americans in the film, only Tonto speaks in broken English. Yet this seems to be major, everything-is-ruined concern that people are complaining about.

                  • Terrie_S

                    How many lines do all the other Native characters have compared to Tonto? Also, if you think the broken English is the main complaint, you’re missing much of the discussion.

                    • RapidDescent

                      It seems to be one that you’re clinging to. Considering the following: Depp has been cast, let’s skip that, it’s just there. But how is Tonto portrayed in the movie?


                      He literally has only good things to amount to his name. The role has been lifted from a sidekick that was there only for the Lone Ranger to talk at into a full blown partner. Yet people complain. Worse, they complain with the full knowledge that they’d rather have a Native American actor – ANY Native American actor – playing that role, right? But herein lies the problem, if ANY actor is good enough, that means that you’re willing to overlook the vast cultural, physical and locational differences between tribes for having red for the sake of red. Just as insensitive and culturally obtuse as anything Disney did in casting Depp.

                    • Terrie_S

                      Since I was replying to your comments on his speech, that’s why I focused on his speech. It’s not my main concern, its simply the topic of the discussion. And I’d say Tonto’s still a sidekick. Maybe not as low ranking, but still a sidekick. I would argue that, in some ways, this is worse, because Tonto is the one telling the story, yet is not the focus of the movie. He casts himself in the supporting role. This is not the story of how Tonto, with the help of a white guy, got justice for the slaughter of his people. It’s the story of how John Reid, with the help of a crazy Indian guy with a bird on his head, became the Lone Ranger. Which would be fine, except that, again, this is apparently how Tonto himself thinks of his own story — thsat it’s the story of someone else.

                    • RapidDescent

                      No, that is not fact, that is how you want to view the story – which is simply inaccurate. Tonto tells the story exactly how it happened in his view. He is never a sidekick – he even has a big scene where he SMACKS DOWN Reid and calls him out for being a coward. He SAVES Reid not once, not twice, but three times in the story. He has his own story of vengeance come to a close because he managed to work together with a person he initially didn’t want to work with.

                      To call him a sidekick is to knowingly tear down the character to make a point in an argument that is only created by you.

                    • Terrie_S

                      He can do all those things and still be a sidekick. After all, DC gave Robin leadership of the Titans, with his own stories and moments of awesomeness but he was still Batman’s sidekick. Understand, I’m looking at this from a meta, narrative level, not the level of character actions. The story starts with John Reid on a train, setting in motion the events which will result in him meeting Tonto. From a narrative perspective, this places Tonto’s story subordinate to his. This is something that (again, narratively) is very hard to avoid. The movie Rush Hour is a good example of how writers might try to avoid this in the buddy movie — start with one character, but have the story take places on the other character’s home territory. But that’s not an option here, so one story must be given more weight than the other and the writers chose to give more weight to Reid. And, by using the framing device they did, they gave that view to Tonto. Ironically, it would have not been an issue had they dropped the framing, but they didn’t make that choice, so that’s simply a case of what might have been. Which leads me back to what you said.

                      Tonto does not tell the story as how it happened in his view, because Tonto does not exist. The writers and actors and directors made all those choices. They are the ones who made the choice to have a movie where a Native character tells a story that follows the arc of someone else. They made the choice to make Tonto, narratively, the sidekick and to combine that with the choice to make him the “narrator” of the story.

                    • RapidDescent

                      Then you’re watching it with very poor meta judgement. Had Tonto not been in the story, the entire thing wouldn’t have happened. Butch would have escaped and the railroad would have been finished and most likely both Reid and Dan would have been killed. Because Tonto was in the train Reid ended up in the story – because Tonto saved Reid, the Lone Ranger was born. Because Tonto in the first place fell victim to Reid and Cole, the story even took place.

                      You’re willingly ignoring massive parts of the story and twisting the rest into lies just so it could suit your already decided conclusion that the filmmakers wanted – nay, schemed – to make Tonto something racially insensitive. It’s fruitless and, most of all, racist in itself because you want to find something to be offended by and are willing to make up things for that to take place.

                    • Terrie_S

                      What part did I make up or lie about? And I’m not talking about interpretation of what is shown on the screen. I have said that 1) they use Tonto as the narrator. Fact or lie? 2) “Tonto’s” telling of the story starts with showing us John Reid on a train. Fact or lie? Nor did I ever say the filmmakers set out to make a racist film. In fact, I noted that they set out to make a non-racist film, but failed because these problematic images are so pervasive that they have been conditioned to think they are normal. At the worst, I’m accusing them of making bad story choices. Frankly, Hollywood is not known for careful consideration of these choices, so it’s pretty much impossible for them to have done it deliberately. Doesn’t mean they still didn’t it.

                      You clearly have a different view of things, but I’m not entirely sure you actually understand what I’m talking about when I talk about the narrative issues. They chose to make the Lone Ranger’s story the primary focus, because one of the stories had to be the focus. That’s not a big deal. After all,the movie is called “The Lone Ranger” not “The Lone Ranger and Tonto.” Yes, Tonto plays an important role, but you can just as easily say “Without Butch, there would have been no story.” That doesn’t make the movie about Butch. It is a perfectly valid decision to focus on the title character. However, they then stuck what I consider to be a very stupid framing device around that story. So instead of the writers telling us the story of the Lone Ranger, we’re given “Tonto” telling us the story of the Lone Ranger. I find that problematic and am disturbed by it because it is not necessary to the story. You obviously have a different view. You say that I accused them of being racist. I say I accused them of failing to think critically about their choices. Either way, there’s no point in me continuing this discussion if you’re going to keep putting words in my mouth.

                    • RapidDescent

                      No, I’m saying that you’re CHOOSING willingly to make the Lone Ranger story the primary focus. It was clear that the intention was to make the dual stories of The Lone Ranger and Tonto the main focus – and they succeeded. Tonto starts the story with John Reid on the train? Yeah, true – but only because HE’S ON THE TRAIN AS WELL. It’s not like he started the story with, “here’s John, I’m not in this story for another hour, but let’s talk about how great John is.” In fact, he starts the story with how HE was about to get his vengeance when this stupid white guy showed up and messed the whole thing up!

                      He’s not there narrating the story of solely the Ranger, Reid just happens to be a major part of the story because it tells how he became friends with Kemosabe – and them meeting and having such adventures is that story. You seem to be completely misunderstanding – or willingly distorting – this, extremely well known and well used narrative form, to make a point about how the writers are knowingly casting Tonto as some sidekick, when – again and again – this is all in your head.

                • Eva

                  Are you taking about Comanches? Even Quanah Parker spoke ,broken, both English and Spanish. If there were Natives who could speak any good english they were minorities, and still, most of Natives didn’t want to learn it, especialy not those who were adult men before reservation times, such as Tonto was. Since Tonto wasn’t Native American from reservation, it means story is happening before 1875. Missionary schools started after Native Americans, in this case, Comanches, were surrendered, and it was mostly (if not only), for kids.

                  • Terrie_S

                    Let’s back up. Everything we see in a movie is a deliberate choice on the part of someone. Some choices are required by the story. If you’re going to make a movie about the Lone Ranger, there are somethings that are objectively required for it to be the story of the Lone Ranger. You need the white horse. You need Tonto. You need the Ranger. You do not need a senile old guy in a fair tent. You don’t need a narrator who casts himself in a supporting role. You don’t need broken English. All of those are deliberate choices by the writers, the actors, the director, etc. The decision to have Tonto speak in broken English was obviously not driven by a desire for historical accuracy. Otherwise, someone (not the Comanche, but someone) if not multiple someones would speak Spanish. So you can’t defend that choice by pointing to history. Nor can you defend it based on Tonto’s trauma history, because 1) that history is another deliberate choice by the writers, not an objective requirement of the story and 2) it is not the only way to show a trauma history. IMO, it is a very bad way of showing such.

                    The fact that people who claimed they were trying to challenge stereotypes instead made a movie full of them shows the problem with these pervasive images. When this is all they see, they are unable to imagine anything else.

              • Shayne Gryn

                Is that a fact? Pauline Johnson (1861 – 1913) was a published poet. She was a real Mohawk.

                • Eva

                  Mohawks are perfect example for this, I agree. They are under US since 1794, so I’m pretty sure they had some missionary schools and could speak english, but NOT Comanches, who were free people until 1875.

              • Rob Schmidt

                Actually, Indians were known for being articulate and eloquent compared to non-Indians. Where’s your evidence that a single one spoke “broken English”?

                • Eva

                  Quanah Parker is perfect evidence. Were is your evidence that a single one spoke a good english? And remember, you’re talking about times before 1875.

            • RapidDescent

              Two things: One, in the original Lone Ranger Tonto spoke in even worse broken English, often resorting to complete pigdin and was even made fun of for it. Nothing like that is in the new film.

              Secondly, Native American reaction – as I pointed elsewhere – has been so wide and different than the singular image that people here are trying to make it out as:


              “Cheyenne and Arapaho filmmaker Chris Eyre is willing to give the actor a chance.

              “Based on Johnny Depp as an artist, and him going all the way and making this film happen, in my book (he) deserves some credit,” Eyre told Indian Country Today for its occasional “Tonto Files” series. “He wants to change the view of Tonto, and he put his reputation and his career on the line.””

              “In my niece’s mind, I met Jack Sparrow,” said Emerald Dahozy, spokeswoman for Navajo President Ben Shelly and a member of the Navajo group who met with Depp. “My personal view, I like him playing in a character which he can embody well.”

              • Terrie_S

                Those are prospective comments from last year. They don’t say anything about the finished product.

                • Shayne Gryn

                  Don’t let reality get in the way of a good opinion. 😉

                  • Matthew

                    The reality, which you seem totally oblivious too incidentally, is that all of the Native Americans in the film would not have had a job AT ALL if it wasn’t for Depp pushing to get this movie made. I didn’t see Grahame Greene or Wes Studi lobbying for the part. Native Americans have roles in a huge summer action film because of Depp. But hey, as long as you have your feigned indignation on behalf of Native Americans whom you would rather see not working at all if it’s not in a film that you personally approve of, that’s the important thing, right? Move along junior. You’re done.

          • Shayne Gryn

            “I hope you realize that it’s not because of the movie – it’s because you’re looking for excuses to be offended.”

            This is one of the funniest things I’ve read all day. Cool story, bro.

          • Rob Schmidt

            It would’ve been easy to have a modern Indian–Tonto’s grandson or great-grandson–serve as the framing device. But that wouldn’t have conveyed the same message about the tragic, vanishing Indians.

            As Terrie S. said, having Depp play a sideshow freak in the 1930s was a choice, not a necessity. This choice “solidifies the continuing views of Native peoples as lesser, as relics of the past, as disappearing, as roadblocks to ‘progress.'”

            • RapidDescent

              How would it have been easy? You would then be complaining that “oh, don’t modern Natives have anything better to do than recite old racist adventures? HUH?!”

              The timing was set right after the release of the original Lone Ranger radio show – which was a sly jab from the writers at the extremely one note, racist and dull take on Tonto in that original material. Having Tonto step out from the wax museum show and tell the story of bravery from his point of view (and it IS his point of view, just because Reid plays a large part in his life doesn’t relegate Tonto to something less than he is. He helps Reid, Reid helps him (after initially hindering Tonto’s efforts, unwittingly).

              All the controversy is in your head and your head alone.

              • Matthew


              • Rob Schmidt

                Your reply to my statement that a modern framing device would’ve been easy is that the present framing device was appropriate. That’s called a non sequitur. Which framing device works best is a different question from which one is easy to implement.

          • karen


      • Rob Schmidt

        Since the Comanche people AREN’T dead, even this much is false.

        • RapidDescent

          Did I say that ALL Comanche are dead? No, just the tribe that Tonto grew up with. Please stop reading into things because you want to get offended, it’s not helping anything.

          • Rob Schmidt

            Apparently you don’t understand Indian “tribe” any better than Codewizard understands “Indian nation.” There weren’t 500 or 1,000 Comanche tribes consisting of a few dozen people each. There was ONE Comanche tribe with many bands or families or other subgroups.

            You said “Tonto’s tribe,” which means the entire body of Comanche people. If you didn’t mean that, you should’ve written something else.

            In short, I read what you wrote correctly. You just didn’t write correctly. Better luck next time.

            • RapidDescent

              I’m sorry, I forgot I was having a conversation with lord of anal retentiveness, I’ll remember that the next time you want to argue semantics when you realize that your argument has no legs to stand on.

              • Rob Schmidt

                Says the clown who felt the need to dispute a one-line comment that the Comanche aren’t dead. Glad you finally saw the light about your ignorant comment.

                To reiterate, you distinguished between “all Native Americans” and “Tonto’s tribe,” which most people would interpret as the Comanches. Actually, there are at least three levels here: All Native Americans, all Comanches, and Tonto’s particular band of Comanches.

                Some viewers might very well conclude that Tonto was meant to be the (fictional) last Comanche Indian. And that would be wrong, since many Comanche survived the Indian Wars.

                Too bad you didn’t understand about the three levels. Or if you did, too bad you didn’t write about them clearly. That’s exactly why we’re criticizing “The Lone Ranger”: because it perpetuates ignorant beliefs about Indians.

                • RapidDescent

                  I’m curious, is it difficult to type with your head wedged so firmly up your ass?

    • Eva

      Keep in mind it’s a movie about certain time. Disney was really kind that they make native Americans to speak ANT english at all. How many english speaking warriors from XIX century can you list? Quanah Parker spoke english and spanish, but both broken. Who else?

      As for halloween – denifitlely will be like you’re saying. Obviously kids are weren’t and NOT dressing as an Indians, neither adults,this all will beging from now…..
      You’re acting like it’s the first and last movie about Native Americans. Maybe do some reality check?

  • Joseph Gagné

    Thanks! I’ll skip out on this movie then. Not that I was expecting anything good out of it…

    • 8736

      No, that is cowardly. Go see it. Make up your own mind. You are allowed to think for yourself. Life isn’t about likes and approval for not thinking on your own. Maybe you see something in this movie that this blogger didn’t get – because you come from a different angle of life. I dare you, it might enlighten you. Or maybe you discover that you agree, but at least you are not a mere brainless follower but a thinking person making you’re own decisions in life.

      • merchantfan

        Or just wait for it to come on TV some day and then make your opinion. No point in giving money to a reprehensible movie. Or pirate it or whatever if you are into that. My policy is that my money doesn’t go to things I don’t approve of, and it goes towards things that I want to see more of.

        • 8736

          Whatever way possible, but I don’t think wait for it to come on TV is an option for someone who wants to claim side in the debate that is happening right now.

          • merchantfan

            Then obviously piracy, to you, would be the only option. If you don’t want to pirate, you have to wait and either get it out of the library for minimal revenue or wait for it to be on an airplane/TV. If you give them your money, you automatically endorse them. So if you are against a movie, you pretty much have to rely on reviewers when it is in theaters. And generally I agree with and trust Adrienne’s opinions. She’s very thoughtful and intelligent.
            Anyway, people only have limited funds to go to movies anyway. They are *expensive*. Why would you put your money towards trash instead of something halfway decent? I only go to the movies three times a year max and that’s about all I can afford. Just save your money. That’s why people write reviews, so that others can decide whether they want to spend money on something. Are we not allowed to look at restaurant reviews now without eating at that restaurant first? Do we have to buy the album or the video game before we read the reviews? That’s just counter-intuitive.

  • Freshpulp

    AThank you for the preview. Wasn’t planning on seeing it anyway. Very informative. BTW, Sears and Roebuck ref might have been flipping the bird to other disenfranchised people African American. Roebuck was black.

  • Terrie_S

    My most basic problem with the movie is this: Depp talked about wanting to move Tonto and Native characters out of the role of sidekick, yet when the character of Tonto has a chance to tell the story, it’s the story of… the white guy. The character casts himself as the sidekick. And we, the audience, are told this from the get-go. Most stories that use the framing device of “And it was told by X side character” reveal this at the end, which makes us relook at what we’ve just seen, read or heard, to reconsider that “side” character or wonder if what we’ve been told is reliable. But we’re not given any of that, so the framing device just reinforces all the issues of the movie.

    • RapidDescent

      Nonsense. He tells the story of how HE, Tonto, met a man who helped him achieve his quest for vengeance – after initially hindering it. It’s far more than Tonto ever did, or had, in the original series and it makes him a full fledged partner to the Lone Ranger, not a sidekick.

      But I guess it’s true when people say that you can show two people the same picture of apples and the other one will always say they’re looking at racism.

  • Mr Sir

    Watched this movie myself, and I agree with Adrienne on all points- this thing is incredibly racist.

  • Codewizard

    ALL Indians MIGRATED from ASIA. You and your kind ARE NOT NATIVE to the Americas. Bigotry based victimhood is slavery. Grow up, assimilate, thrive.

    • Susan White

      We’re not going to assimilate any more than we already have. Many of us don’t believe the THEORY that we migrated from Asia. Those native to the Americas would be the first people here, which our ancestors were, so it wouldn’t matter how we got here anyway. Many Native American nations have creation stories that begin right here. How you see us and our history, does not really matter. It is how we see ourselves that is important. Are you really that ignorant or are you just trolling?

      • Eric J

        “Codewizard” is a grade-A troll.

        • Susan White

          Thanks, Eric. I’ll try to ignore him from now on.

  • Codewizard

    And yet the same people WON’T complain about “stereotypes” about non-preferred groups: Christians, Conservatives, White People, White Men, Men, Israelis, America, Americans, Oil companies, Successful people, etc…

    • Eric J

      This sort of whining gets you no sympathy. You don’t get the point at all, do you. Those who are at the top of the hierarchy (i.e. the white christian heteropatriarchy), have no justification for complaint. This isn’t about you, so stop making it about you.

    • Rob Schmidt

      I’m not sure how the majority can be a “non-preferred group.” Not preferred by whom: a minority?

      Yeah, I feel so sorry that the white Christian males who dominate America occasionally get criticized for their bad behavior. Meanwhile, they’re laughing all the way to the bank while THEY continue to marginalize women and people of color.

      • Eva
      • liz4horses

        You are silly. White Christian males are weird lying people who live a life that does not exist. How many of those heavy duty “family value” ministers and leaders are arrested with underage, sex trafficked minors, who are MINORITIES! They are a lying, sad group that harms the whole world. It is a stereo type that ALL white Christian males are anything. A lot of them are out of work, toothless, or becoming toothless unemployed guys who can not figure out what happened…they believed in Bush and Cheney………..and it got them homeless and useless. Don’t believe me, go take a look on any main street skid row in America.

        • Rob Schmidt

          Fortunately, I didn’t say anything about ALL white Christian males. I referred specifically to the white Christian males “who dominate America.”

          Things will go better when you read what I actually wrote, not imagine what I meant.

    • Logan Quinsey

      The problem with the many of the “stereotypes” you’ve listed, is that many of them are not cohesive groups. What kind of Christian (get that Catholic guilt baby)? Most Christians are decent people, but the stereotype is the fundamentalist who thinks everyone else is going to hell and is incapable of presenting a rational argument for any of their positions that doesn’t include the presumption “God, therefor (whatever tripe they’re on about). What kind of Conservative, the uneducated and religious who fear change or the wealthy Randians who prey off them?

      Stereotypes about Native Americans are typically either of the “noble savage” or “barbarian” variety, and neither capture much of what is actually is or means to be native american. Stereotypes of American Bankers, Oil companies, and Israeli military aren’t cases of long standing historical racism, they’re tropes that, given the last 10 years, I think is fair to say capture those groups in all their depravity.

      That said I’m looking forward to seeing this movie, if not in theaters. If Rifftrax does a version that would be ideal, but I’m perfectly content to enjoy a silly movie that plays off old western tropes. As an educated person I know how to do that without believing that Jonny Depp’s Tanto is any more realistic than his Captain Jack Sparrow, or that campy portrayals of what white people think Indian culture look like have anything to do with Native Americans per se.

      • merchantfan

        How the heck did Israel get involved in all of this? It always seems to pop up in unexpected places. Israeli Jews (which is of course what you mean and not Israeli Arabs or Christians) are in a minority population that has obviously been historically discriminated against. There are
        stereotypes of Israelis just like there are stereotypes of Palestinians and Arabs in general. It really isn’t related to the other groups, which are *huge* as opposed to Israel, which is about the size of New Jersey. Let’s just not bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into completely unrelated discussions, just as one would not randomly post ‘Syria!’ in an article about abortion rights in the U.S.

        Anyway, I do not think I will be seeing the movie and am disappointed in Johnny Depp.

    • liz4horses

      Stereotypes are just that. Think of the white super guy. He is an overworked hack, no one likes or respects him, must fear him or lose job or daddy big bucks money……..he lives in a place taken care of by illegal immigrants, but hates illegal immigrants and wants to spend billions to keep “them” out……………..he is a person who marries a woman who wears size 2, with no boobs, and cheats on her with little kids who are in sex trafficking………with boobs who wear size 16.

      He goes from his $50,000 a month penthouse, down a locked elevator, to his locked car, to his locked basement parking structure, to another locked elevator to a penthouse tiny room. Many of them are less than the size of a jail cell, and thinks he has it made while his size two wifey and size 16 mistress are out running up his credit cards.

      What a power guy!

  • Eric J

    I just figured out “Codewizard” is a Troll before I responded. Do not feed the trolls.

  • stephan pickering

    Shalom & Boker tov…I have read, Adrienne, your comments with care…kol tov uv’racha…may you be blessed with all that is good…I still have, within me, fondness for Clayton Moore (1914-1999) and Jay Silverheels, having watched the original series when it first appeared. Under considerable constraints (1950s Horrorwood was not libertarian), the two were able to convey anti-racialist tropes. Mr Silverheels (1912-1980) did NOT speak like an idiot (he was, after all, a Native Mohawk), nor was his character a Native imitation of Steppin’ Fetchit. Mr Moore genuinely loved the man, and there was NEVER any anti-Native bigotry in the plots or dialogue, NONE. Clayton Moore sustained a sense-of-honour rare for Horrorwood. I believe the javelins hurled at Mr Silverheels to be racialist, inaccurate, and rather obtuse. I suggest that those interested view the entire series (available on DVD). I met Mr Moore and Mr Silverheels in the early 1950s. We cannot step back and revise the 1950s series. And yet…some of the interpretations of the series are in error. It was not meant to be a quasi-Tom Paine manifesto of Native rights. Mr Silverheels’s poetry is worth re-reading…even Fran Striker’s The Lone Ranger Creed is hardly racialist. Clayton Moore was not a fascist. And to those who might object to my statements: I am a post-Auschwitz Jew.

    My grandfather’s mother was Blackfoot (she passed as ‘white’), and he himself, although never talking about his heritage, did teach mathematics to Native boys at the Sherman Institute in Riverside. For 3 summers, I went with him to his summer school classes, where I met Native students, and witnessed some of their ceremonies (then, there were no girls in the school). My grandfather was vocally angry about the Mormon domination of BIA, how the children were being warped by racist proselytizing…and he, eventually, quit the teaching position. When my grandfather entered Spirit after being killed by COPD, his locked trunk was opened…he had carefully preserved a feathered head dress, photos of his students, a photo of his mother in Native attired (I am guessing)…

    I am puzzled — and, frankly, dismayed — by Mr Depp’s actions. I found his adaptation of Kirby Sattler’s 1991 painting ‘I am crow’ to be fascinating and colourful (although you disagree)…and, at first, believed his overtures to the Native community…however, all of this disappeared as filming progressed. The stench of greed, the surrender to Disneyesque caricaturing of realities, the anti-Native posturing by Mr Depp in the film. All of this leaves me profoundly disappointed in him; I had hoped he had, within himself, a higher sense of honour and dignity than what he has done with this film.

    As for myself: I shall never watch another film by Mr Depp, nor take seriously the often incoherent psychobabble he surrounds himself with.

    STEPHAN BOROWSKI PICKERING / Chofetz Chayim benAvraham
    Torah G-ddess Yehu’di Apikores / Philologia Kabbalistica Speculativa Researcher

    The Lone Ranger Creed


    January 14, 200812:22 PM

    “I believe that to have a friend,
    a man must be one.

    That all men are created equal
    and that everyone has within himself
    the power to make this a better world.

    That God put the firewood there
    but that every man
    must gather and light it himself.

    In being prepared
    physically, mentally, and morally
    to fight when necessary
    for that which is right.

    That a man should make the most
    of what equipment he has.

    That ‘This government,
    of the people, by the people
    and for the people’
    shall live always.

    That men should live by
    the rule of what is best
    for the greatest number.

    That sooner or later…
    we must settle with the world
    and make payment for what we have taken.

    That all things change but truth,
    and that truth alone, lives on forever.

    In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.”

  • drdanj

    Sounds like a structure similar to Little Big Man, but without the heart or pathos. The scene where Hoffman watches the slaughter of his family is among the more horrific in moviedom. (Noting of course the serious flaws in even that movie, but at least they tried.) Maybe white folk need a My Lai massacre as current theme to try to make/get the point. I so wanted this to be a cool movie. Not.

  • Jon Ayon

    You are definitely one of my favorite bloggers. Thanks so much for this and all of your TLR posts. Keep up the good work. As a minority student filmmaker and descendant of Seri, Opata, and Pipil grandparents, I strive to somehow fix the negative system of portrayal Hollywood has created for most non-white people. It seems, even native actors and filmmakers have fallen victim to it. I take inspiration from people like Eyre and Alexie, but naming 2 well-known natives who have made their mark (as financially and journalistically small as it may have been) is not enough. We need more. Thank you for inspiring me and hopefully others, to keep going. I hope one day you’ll post a review for one of my flicks and whether it is positive or negative, may I reflect upon it and grow. Keep up the fantastic work.

  • Great White Hoax

    I will never pay money to see this movie and am not currently sure I would watch it when it was free either. I realize someone has to pay and watch it (to review) I am just glad that is not my job! This is one small way that I can vote with the power of dollars, which is really the centre of what I am going to speak about. This
    -reinvention- of the Lone Ranger (ideology) has lots of underlying sinister
    motives but I will focus on something a little different than authenticity or
    cultural respect.

    Capitalism is the new Imperialism and like its predecessor relies heavily on a number of factors for success like breaking the backs of someone else for profit and either through blind luck or purposeful conquering, timing. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that this Hollywood project somehow doesn’t follow suit. I will
    explain what I mean in a moment and rest assured that there are many deliberate
    choices involved with this film besides Depp saying he’s been ‘interested for a
    long time’.

    The Lone Ranger ran on television from 1949 – 1957, during what is often referred to as the first wave of Baby Boomers. The birth date range most often attributed to this generation is 1946 – 1964. During this time period approx. 75 million children were born in the United States. As you can expect from this era of American history, a vast majority of these children were identified as White (to the tune of 90% or 65 million). United states population census in 1950 showed that about 0.3% of the total population identified as indigenous, this comes out to about 3 million people out of 150+ million total. As of 2013, something like 63+ million ( 55+ million White) people born during the boom are still alive, this means that if you were born in 1946 that you would be 67 or 68 years old depending on birth date.

    So the Lone Ranger also ran as a radio program from 1933 to 1955, totaling about 3000 shows. The popularity of the radio show is what led to the TV show, which is a critical point because it proves how popular the Lone Ranger was and how much saturation into popular culture it had. Television in the US was introduced en mass at the 1939 New York World’s Fair but was more available to the public after WWII because of the supply rationing, so this coincides closely

    with the Lone Ranger (TV) debuting in 1949. Now couple the broad use/appeal of these technology with the wonderment of cinema movies and you will find almost a complete ideology saturation. In Hollywood, ‘Western’ films were being made since the inception of movie making, give or take 1920. I am not sure the total amount of these films made by 1950 (the number is astronomical!) but you can view the list by decade(s) here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Western_films . The majority of the plot-lines to these films followed a simple trajectory: White soldiers/cowboys pacifying native inhabitants in the name of ‘Christian value’. Many of these movies depict incredible violence towards the non-whites (see: depiction of Mexicans) that includes killing women and children in droves.

    The idea of ‘Christian value’ plays an important part in the ideology of how Indigenous peoples have been treated by Europeans since about their first meeting. This purposeful European ideal was basically that -God- wants you to covert the heathens/savages (read: anyone who was not white) and that it was your mortal duty to do this as well. I won’t go into any incredibly specific detail but this is the running theme for policy making and still is to this date. Examples: The
    Indian Removal Act, Manifest Destiny, Indian Appropriations Act, Indian
    Reorganization Act, Indian Act (Canada) etc. All of these policies were to further the deliberate Genocide that had been under way for centuries already.

    By 1900 the pacification (so called: American Indian Wars) has reached a level
    where the United States basically declares victory. Violence does ensue across New Mexico, Utah and Arizona until 1925 or so, these are often referred to as skirmishes and not wars. Likely because the American Army outnumbered every single person that the government deemed ‘Indian’ by many fold.

    Perspective wise, the Lone Rangers (Radio and TV) was depicting scenes from the above time period and further driving all the negative sterotypes (about who was in charge and why) right into the minds of adults who lived through ‘wars’ and their children and so on. While the Lone Ranger was not as graphic and calculated as the ‘western’ film it was certainly more accessible because of the programs format: daily broadcasts, merchandise/toys, costumes and general
    acceptance of these.

    So you have all these ‘baby boomer’ children who grow up thinking that Americans did the Indigenous population a favour by giving(crushing and insulting) them into a ‘better’ life. So with the help of school books (always written by conquerors) and the pop culture ideology, Americans create and hold onto the worst notions possible: savage, uneducated, immoral etc. This is cultural Genocide at its most
    effective. Consider this, there are over still over 1200 unique First Nation cultures (not just registered tribes or whatever the US calls it) across North America, one third of these being in British Columbia and Alaska. Yet as a group, 99% of people refers to them as ‘Indians’ and would never know the beauty and complexity of the individual aspects of each culture. This is also why Graham Greene, Adam Beach and Wes Studi (and others) are in every single fucking movie made, it is because Americans think of ‘Indians’ as a mono-culture.

    How does this fit into the Lone Ranger and where am I going with this? The millions of aged ‘Baby Boomers’ are now hopefully retired (more of a chance if you are white) and have savings (also, more if you are white) to spend. Likely, this means you have more time to relive your youth, vicariously through popular culture. So grandparents take grandchild and/or parents take children and parents, all to wonder at the nostalgia of the Lone Ranger. With almost 100 years (500 years if you include history) of visual pop-culture in tow, another generation of children (Disney movie?!?!) will grow up believing in these negative sterotypes.

    So I do care that portrayals are not as accurate, but the real concerns should run so much deeper. The attitude that its supposed in good fun or that it doesn’t matter because its a movie is bullshit. When pop-culture is more effective than public education at laying a foundation for belief, you can’t take things with a grain of salt.

    When does the fucking chain break? Seriously, it might start somewhere near your
    wallet. Or a complete overhaul of the North American educational system around history. One seems a little easier for sure.

  • EJojola

    Not having seen the film, but working from Adrienne’s description, the ending with Dep walking into Monument Valley have been intended as an allusion to Will Sampson’s “Chief Bromden” character escaping from the insane asylum in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”: http://youtu.be/I3c2cXiEUHo

  • Rob Schmidt

    I’m not buying the movie’s excuse that Tonto isn’t right in the head. Fact is, there’s almost always an excuse for the uncivilized or savage Indian:

    The hunter is trapped in a world of dinosaurs, so OF COURSE he’s a savage Indian.

    The white man killed his wife and children, so OF COURSE he’s a savage Indian.

    The burial ground is haunted, so OF COURSE he’s a savage Indian (ghost).

    The military veteran was traumatized by war, so OF COURSE he’s a savage Indian.

    The tribe was cursed by an evil shaman, so so OF COURSE he’s a savage Indian (werewolf).

    What do these tropes have in common? The Native character is uncivilized and SAVAGE every time. We want a character who ISN’T a half-naked warrior in facepaint and a (crow) headdress, not another excuse for the same old stereotypes.

    • Eva

      What exactly is wrong with the fact that Native Americans were uncivilized? Is “cilizated” somehow better than “uncivilized”? You’re thinking too much in modern way.

      • Rob Schmidt

        Wow, you’re trying desperately to defend Tonto the half-naked savage who can’t speak proper English. You’re thinking too much like a Disney shareholder or a Depp sycophant.

  • colkid

    Depp’s picture is just Ugly and this looks like an Ugly Movie. The quotes from Hammer’s Long Ranger sound like a socialist/liberal thinking person.
    The violence and gore are enough to keep me away, but there are way too many
    other reasons to not see it, and I am a big Lone Ranger fan.
    Now I know why many people are afraid of remakes, this just sounds like new age
    junk. At least the Cohen brothers did a good job on “True Grit”.

    Disney is a screwed up bunch of people.

  • JeanSC

    I admit I just skimmed this long article. I’m glad to see there are many people who don’t like this film. It started out seeming with just one-sided approval. I haven’t seen the film and doubt I will until it comes out on TV and I have nothing better to do in the time slot. I still remember how good Johnny Depp was in “21 Jump Street.”
    The original TV series “The Lone Ranger” is being broadcast on several sub-channels; check your local listings. I’m really grateful for those sub-channels. I saw some of the TV series first-run, but don’t remember any details of the stories. I’ve now seen the 1st episode 3 times. I never got any stereotyped images of Indians from that series. It was what it was, and I didn’t generalize – or do much heavy thinking at my young age. Now I wonder why there are so many Indian characters, going back to Tonto, who are daily exposed to correct, or at least better, English, and never seem to get the idea about personal pronouns and verb conjugation. I guess that was the Hollywood racist stereotype. As we know, Jay Silverheels was a fullblood and I think he played his role with dignity; especially after you’re seen the 1st episode. Viewers might not realize how excellent Clayton Moore was in his role – until you see John Hart performing it like a piece of wood. I’m grateful to be able to watch the original TV series now, and wondered why anyone would bother with such a film as is out now.

    • RapidDescent

      Jay Silverheels… hmm. You don’t mean the Canadian, Harold Smith? Who only took the name Jay Silverheels after he realized that him talking in stunted, highly stereotyped pigdin could land him all the roles that he wanted in TV and film? Like Tonto, created only so that the Ranger could have someone to talk to (incidentally originally played by a white guy on the radio show)? The Tonto who, in the TV series, had such well written and non-stereotypical dialog to his name like:

      “Him say man ride over ridge on horse.”

      ” You mean squaw who squall all the time like angry mag pie–her talk to loud, talk to much, make headache ”

      “Me do.”

      You’re right. It’s Disney and Depp who’ve totally ruined this noble, classic character by giving him stuff to do, making him a major part of the story and giving him actual dialog. Those scoundrels!

      • MichaelKz

        There’s a way to do that without making the character a total goofball. How about making Tonto an actual person with some dimension to his character? One might expect that from a modern day Lone Ranger movie. If this were a vanity project for Johnny Depp, The Lone Ranger might have been a better movie.

        • RapidDescent

          You didn’t even watch the movie, did you? Otherwise you wouldn’t be making such ridiculous statements.

          • MichaelKz

            I have no desire to watch The Lone Ranger. It looks very stupid and not what I expect from a modern day movie of The Lone Ranger. There is a new comic book series of The Lone Ranger that started a few years. The story in that would have made a good movie.

            Hell, if Johnny Depp wasn’t so set on being a very silly Tonto, he might have actually been good as The Lone Ranger himself.

            • RapidDescent

              Then your opinion isn’t worth a thing. Either watch the movie and know what you’re talking about, or choose to remain ignorant and quiet about the matter.

              • MichaelKz

                Why would I watch this piece of crap in the theater? It isn’t just a handful of harsh critics that think The Lone Ranger is crap, the vast majority of them do. Plus, having experience the exhausting second and third Pirates of the Caribbean movies in the theater, I don’t want to see another movie made by the same people.

                • RapidDescent

                  See, saying “this doesn’t look like something I’d enjoy” is a valid opinion based on facts readily available. Saying that Tonto in the new film is a one note character with no story or depth is talking out of your ass and completely, factually untrue.

  • ellid

    No need to worry about this creating a new generation of fans. It’s bombing big-time and will likely be forgotten by August.

  • 8736

    What a stupid headline. I’m going to see it anyway. I like to think for myself. You want people to talk about stereotypes and how indians are portrayed and then you tell them don´t bother see it ’cause you suffered through it for them? Killing the discussion there and then. It says more about you than the movie. I totally respect your views but don’t tell me not to get my own opinion because your’s is enough and all there has to be.

  • Native American Indians shouldn’t feel altogether bad at the way they were/are portrayed in this Disney film. It’s the way non-Native Americans also see the rest of the world — primitive savages who should be slaughtered to get the silver-load (oil, gas, gold, iron, platinum. etc.)
    Say, isn’t the Disney corporation owned by members of the 1% who usually control the way everybody thinks and consumes and, ultimately, dies? Bingo (pun).

  • liz4horses

    I will still see the movie. The dead raven that eats. My great-great Uncle was the last of our great healers. He had an owl. It was alive. I think.

    Too much violence. that is what brings in the young boys, that are shown by survey for many decades to be the ones with money to waste, who will waste it.

    I think, from your description, that the movie will bring out discussion. That is a good thing. This was in fact, not a native history, or even a true story, just a remake, to sell tickets, of a radio show and tv series. I think, as a gang abatement specialist, who creates programs for schools and cities to address racism and gang issues…..that this movie is a great one for discussion. If you think 2 hours plus is hard, wait until my students have to spend eight or ten hours dissecting it and discussing it and learning about the real history outside of those eight to ten hours!

  • Eva


    — ahhh, STEREOTYPICAL !!! ups, ,looks like a Medicine Man from Apsaalooke (Crow) Tribe was wearing offending DEAD bird on his head.

  • I just want to say how much your review made me laugh, in the “laugh or cry” sort of way. I also wanted to thank you for turning me on to A Tribe Called Red, I look forward to seeing them at MoCA!

  • ChristopherBlackwell

    If they want to tell the story from the Indian character point of view, why not have an Indian write it. I am sure there must be Indian script writers, and I know for sure there are Indian authors out there for some logical stories and really different views from what we have been fed over the decades. As for white culture, I sort of gave up hoping for much of anything after I was in the Vietnam War. The difference, between what they are taught about themselves in school and how they actually act, is beyond belief. They may be allegedly my people but I for one will never understand them.

  • RestrainedRealpolitik

    Great review. Spot on. I did not see the movie and had no intention of doing so after seeing the previews. Like others commenting, the previews were enough of a warning for me — and, apparently, the rest of America.

    Depp is a good actor when he is not playing a clown or an “over-the-top” character. Time again for him to take on a worthy role.

  • merchantfan

    It always somehow amazes me how much racists love racist films.

  • Ed Erdelac

    A friend on Facebook pointed this out to me, as I had been against this movie and did an about face after I saw it. Most all Adrienne’s criticisms are entirely valid. I dismissed any talk oft this being a respectful interpretation of either the character or Native Americans from the get-go, as soon as Depp’s casting was announced. I personally thought the entire movie was not progressive, but a throwback (and, I would argue, a subtle parody -and yes, perhaps too subtle) of the golden age of westerns, right down to a white guy in redface. Monument Valley was Texas, there was cartridge ammo in 1869, wendigos among the Comanche, and to put the icing on the whole thing, a horse standing in a tree. It’s possible the filmmakers were just ignorant of everything, but I feel like, given the amount of references to classic 30’s and 40’s pirate movies in the first Pirates of The Caribbean movie, it’s all a send up of the classic western pedigrees. In every John Ford movie Monument Valley stands in for Texas. As a white person and avid western fan, I enjoyed it (I flat out loved the last fifteen minutes and wish the rest of the movie had been more that totally unbelievable high adventure tone). Were I Native, would I still be able to grin at this? Admittedly, I’m not sure. I’m puzzled by Native reaction. I felt exactly like Adrienne when Depp’s casting was announced, and railed against it vehemently at every turn, but didn’t see a lot of Indians complaining, except for Blue Corn (didn’t see this blog). And look what the director of the Native American museum in Washington posted…. http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/aroundthemall/2013/07/johnny-depps-tonto-isnt-offensive-just-weird-says-the-director-of-the-american-indian-museum/?utm_source=plus.google.com&utm_medium=socialmedia&utm_campaign=20130709&utm_content=atmloneranger

    But of course, “Native” isn’t just one all encompassing community, so of course there’s a diversity of reactions. That stuff with Saginaw Grant’s people….that was entirely wrong, and you were right to speak about and against it. Is this movie hurtful to the Indian image? Probably yes, to people who can’t discern the legends and the stereotypes from actual history. Which I guess, is most of the movie going audience. A very thoughtful page. Thanks, Adrienne.

  • Bkej_girl

    I found it to be a wry twist on how the old west was presented ages ago. T.V’s version of Tonto was a far cry from the scripts that often had us cast as uncivilized miscreants. This version is “updated” in the sense that we know the historical inaccuracies and Depp’s quips and delivery make it comical, which I believe was the point. It’s lengthy with scenes of brutality but when isn’t war violent. I’ve sat through worse and the action and adventure make up for that, not to mention the backdrop and special effects.

    It’s unfair to contend all non-natives see us with such disregard, anymore than we assume they’re all just like the deviants in the movie. It’s too bad it was panned by critics even before it hit theatres. Most likely, it was their displeasure in seeing the “majority or popular culture” come off as the bad guys, but therein lies the irony as to how Native America was portrayed in Hollywood’s yesteryear. If anything, it’s political satire in our defense and you fail to give audiences enough credit for knowing the difference.

    Hollywood may be dragging their a**, but witty sarcasm only serves to perpetuate the divide. I commend your efforts and appreciate the open dialogue.

  • Andre
  • stardreamer42

    In case no one else has mentioned this, Sears & Roebuck was the first of the large department stores, and almost the only one in existence during the period of the film. So that detail actually rings true to me; having a watch from Sears & Roebuck would have been a status symbol to people on the frontier.