The Lone Ranger begins in 1933. A young boy dressed in a Lone Ranger costume is visiting a Wild West Show. He comes face to face with an elderly Native American, Tonto (Johnny Depp), who is part of a display. Tonto trades a dead mouse for the boy’s bag of peanuts, and then tells the boy the true story of the Lone Ranger.
As Tonto tells his story, the movie jumps back in time to the American West of 1869. Territorial Prosecutor John Reid (Armie Hammer) is travelling on the same train as outlaw Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner). Butch is in custody and being transported to Colby in Texas to be hanged. Also in custody is Tonto, a Comanche, who has deliberately had himself arrested and put on the train with Butch. Before the train can reach Colby, Butch gets a gun hidden beneath some floorboards, shoots the guards and escapes.
In Colby, John Reid is deputised into the Texas Rangers by his older brother Dan Reid (James Badge Dale). The Texas Rangers are ordered by railway tycoon Col (Tom Wilkinson) to find Butch and bring him back to Colby for hanging. Unfortunately the Rangers are ambushed and massacred by Butch and his gang of outlaws. But Tonto has also escaped from custody. He arrives and not only saves John’s life, but transforms him into the masked ‘Lone Ranger’.
The rest of the movie follows the adventures of the Lone Ranger and Tonto as they try to bring Butch to justice.
Revenge; outlaws; the massacre of Native Americans; cannibalism
This movie has: For example:
This movie has:
This movie has a few sexual references and some innuendo. For example:
- The madam of a brothel says that there would not be a railroad ‘without women like mine’ (meaning prostitutes) doing the ‘heavy lifting’.
- A man talks about being afraid of another man violating him with a duck’s foot.
- A man asks a woman why she makes another man so hot under the collar. Then he says, ‘Maybe I’ll have a taste anyway’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There is some use of substances in this movie. For example:
- A man drinks whisky from a hip flask. He empties one flask and then starts to drink from a second flask. Other people say that the man is drunk and smells like a distillery.
- Several scenes show people drinking whisky. In one scene a horse drinks whisky.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- One scene shows a brothel with prostitutes wearing revealing clothing.
- The madam of the brothel shows her tattooed ivory artificial leg, asking men if they would like to touch it.
- One scene shows a man dressed in women’s clothing.
There is no product placement in this movie, but associated products such as Lego are being marketed to children.
This movie has some coarse language and name-calling.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Lone Ranger is a comedy western targeting a wide-ranging audience.
It tells the familiar story of the masked Lone Ranger from the unfamiliar perspective of his sidekick, Tonto. The many subplots make it rather confusing. It is also very long and some of the humour seems juvenile, but Johnny Depp fans are likely to enjoy it.
It features over-the-top action, with several violent and scary scenes that make it unsuitable for children under 13 years, as well as some teenagers. Children might be particularly disturbed by references to and scenes of cannibalism, and scenes of children being hurt.
You could talk with your children about how the movie handles the issues of revenge and justice and how the law deals with them. Tonto wants revenge against the men who massacred his tribe. The Lone Ranger also wants justice for his murdered brother but finds it hard to work within the law.