John Reid, a young idealistic lawyer, returns home to his small Texas town of Colby. He uses the new Transcontinental Railroad, being built by big business man and town leader Latham Cole. His train carries two other people: a vicious murderer named Butch Cavendish, who was captured by John's brother, and an eccentric Native American named Tonto. When Butch's gang derails the train and escapes with Butch in tow, John and his brother go off in pursuit. Butch's gang outsmarts their pursuers and ambushes them, killing Dan and John. Tonto buries all of the men, but a spirit horse indicates that John is special, a man who cannot be killed. John is in disbelief, but when he realizes that their pursuit of Butch must've been tipped off by a government official, he wears a mask in order to "stay dead" in the eyes of the public. Butch continues to wreak havoc on John's brother after his death, kidnapping his wife and child, leaving John in need of a plan to rescue them. Tonto and John are imprisoned by Comanches on their path, where John learns about Tonto's troubled past, getting a better sense as to why Tonto is helping him; he discovered a stash of silver as a youngster and told Cavendish, who in turn murdered his tribe. When John realizes that Cole is likely building his railroad in order to take advantage of the secret stashes of silver, it's up to The Lone Ranger to stop Cole's nefarious scheme and save his brother's family.
The classic TV show from the 1950's called "The Lone Ranger" is brought to the big screen with this movie version starring Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger with his sidekick Tonto (played by Johnny Depp). The story begins in a natural history-like carnival show exhibition that contains oddities from the old wild west, one of them being Tonto. Appearing at first to be a statue that is part of the exhibit, he comes to life suddenly, standing in one of the displays, to tell a surprised young boy visitor, the legend of the Lone Ranger.
The history of the Lone Ranger is, that he was first John Reid, a do-gooder from the east, who sets out to the west on a train to bring his personal form of justice to the wild territories as their new district attorney. He fails miserably in his first attempt to do the right thing when the train in riding on is robbed and during this he encounters Butch Wilkerson (played by William Fichtner) a major outlaw escaping from the prisoner train car struggling with Tonto. There is a fight and Butch's gang helps the outlaw escape from being held prisoner on the train, jumping off the train, leaving John Reid and Tonto chained together in the prisoner car while the train races down the tracks out of control.
Tonto and John Reid barely escape dying in the train crash and soon become bounded to each other, not only physically, from having been chained together, but also spiritually when Tonto has a spirit vision of a horse that tells him that John Reid is a special man that eventually becomes the Lone Ranger.
The two of team up to fight the outlaws and bring them to justice, especially the robber-baron businessman Latham Cole (played by Tom Wilkinson) who only wants to steal the riches from the mines on Indian territory, by creating a false war between the townspeople and the Native Americans, so he can advance his plans to dominate the west with his train empire.
Best part of story, including ending:
Helena Bonham Carter's performance as Red Harrington, the madam of the local cat house, who has a fake leg with a gun hidden inside, is hilarious.
Best scene in story:
The fights on the train as it careens out of control are very exciting.
Opinion about the main character:
The main character follows the same code as the character from the old television series, but in the movie he is a bit more inept so it makes his adventures seem more credible. He is not automatically a hero, but he becomes one.