GITTUM UP SCOUT -Searching for the Origin of Silver's Running Mate
Frank Morgan © 2015
(From Radio Recall, February, 2016)
The Lone Ranger's familiar cry to Silver of "Let's go big fellow" was routinely followed by Tonto's call of "Gittum up Scout". For anyone familiar with the legend of the Lone Ranger the story of how he came to find his horse Silver is quite well known. Two versions were told of how the Lone Ranger teamed up with Silver. The most commonly known was broadcast on June 30, 1948 The Lone Ranger's Origin (#2410/1635).* (This episode was repeated on July 7, 1950 [#2726/1950A].)
In this episode the Lone Ranger's horse Dusty (a chestnut mare) is shot and killed by Butch Cavendish while fleeing from the pursuit of the Lone Ranger and Tonto. They head off to a nearby valley where they've heard of a "fiery white stallion". They arrive at the valley in time to save the white stallion from the death charge of a buffalo the horse is fighting. The horse is nursed back to health by the Ranger and Tonto. After seemingly running away, the horse returns at the call of the Ranger and is quickly trained as a saddle horse so the Ranger can continue his pursuit of Cavendish. (This same story of finding Silver was told in the opening episodes of The Lone Ranger television show.)
The lesser known and far more whimsical back story was broadcast on December 9, 1938 in The Origin of Silver (#916/141). It begins with announcer Brace Beemer saying "There have been countless requests for information regarding Silver, the famous horse of the Lone Ranger" The story begins as the Ranger overhears two men planning a robbery. The plans include getting two fast wiId horses from a valley "… two days north …" so they can make a quick getaway after the robbery.
Sadly, the Ranger and Tonto arrive too late to save Silver's father and several other wild horses killed by the would-be robbers. The Ranger and Tonto see Silver running off in the distance. During his escape from the valley, Silver encounters a raging buffalo and, as in the other version, is engaged in a death fight with it when the cry of "Hi yo Dusty!" followed by gunshots (which kill the buffalo) are heard. As the masked man and Tonto are treating his wounds the horse runs off. The Ranger and Tonto resume their hunt for the robbers, and as the robbers come riding toward them and one of them shoots and kills Dusty. Seemingly out of nowhere Silver appears and comes to the masked man. Almost instantly the Ranger and Silver take off to find and capture the robbers.
While I'm sure there was interest in the origin of Scout, I would suspect it was not to the same level as it was for Silver's. The answer to Scout's origin begins on August 5, 1938. At that time Tonto rode a white horse and referred to his mount as "Feller" or "White Feller". The back story begins in a broadcast entitled Thundercloud's Camp in the Hills (#862/87).
NOTE: The broadcast titles and episode numbering system are from A RADIO BROADCAST LOG OF THE WESTERN DRAMA PROGRAM THE LONE RANGER, with the permission of (and my thanks to) The Lone Ranger historian and expert Terry Salomonson. Copyright© 2004 by Terry G. G. Salomonson. The first appearing number is the number of the episode counting from the first broadcast of the program. The second appearing number is the number of the episode counting from the first recorded episode.
The Ranger and Silver are on their way to "Chief Thundercloud's camp in the hills" to meet Tonto. Chief Thundercloud is meeting with members of his tribe to discuss whether to go to war with Gray Wolf. Thundercloud has been told that braves from Gray Wolf's tribe have killed Standing Bear. Chief Thundercloud is against going to war, but Red Crow, who wants to be chief, is pushing to go to war immediately.
Outside the meeting are the Lone Ranger and two men, Bart Daily and Shorty Crane. Daily is attempting to mount a "splendid brown and white horse." When he fails, he starts to whip the horse. The Lone Ranger steps in to stop the whipping and asks whose horse it is. Crane says the horse is Chief Thundercloud's and he had been told that only a chief could ride it. "And we thought as how we'd find out for ourselves." When Daily proclaims "I'll ride the critter yet", the Ranger admonishes him "Not unless Chief Thundercloud tells you you can."
Thundercloud emerges from the war discussions saying Gray Wolf will have two weeks to turn over the "bad braves" for punishment. He has chosen Tonto to deliver the message to Gray Wolf and return with the bad braves. If Tonto does not return with them by that time, Red Crow will go to war with Gray Wolf. The Ranger protests that two weeks in not enough time for Tonto to make the trip because of the distance to Gray Wolf's camp. He calls for Silver and says he will accompany Tonto. Tonto calls "Here White Feller". But before they ride off there is a whiney and Daily says "That doggone horse of yours came near to biting me, Thundercloud." Thundercloud replies "You stay away." The Ranger compliments the horse and comments to Thundercloud that it is said that no one can ride him but you. Thundercloud responds: "Tonto ride him. Him like Tonto."
Daily and Crane conspire with Red Crow to ambush the Ranger and Tonto to prevent their timely return from Gray Wolf's. Red Crow can then go to war against Gray Wolf and become the new chief of his tribe. As a "favor" for his help in the plot, Daily asks Red Crow to "Give me that paint horse that belongs to Thundercloud. Outside of that white horse the masked fella man rides, that paint's the swellest piece of horseflesh I ever seen."
At Gray Wolf's camp, the Ranger and Tonto find that Standing Bear is alive. He had been shot by Daily and Crane as they fled from Gray Wolf's camp after stealing gold there. Gray Wolf's tribe had rescued Standing Bear and nursed him back to health.
The Ranger, Tonto and Standing Bear head back to Thundercloud's camp. They are observed by Red Crow's lookouts and attacked in an attempt to prevent their return as the two-week deadline was fast approaching. They manage to get through and while the Ranger is explaining to Thundercloud how Red Crow had plotted to become chief and the responsibility of Daily and Crane for the shooting of Standing Bear, Thundercloud asks the Ranger what's the matter with White Feller? The Ranger tells the Chief the horse had been wounded. Thundercloud speaks in Indian to one of his braves who brings over Thundercloud's horse. Thundercloud calls to Tonto, who responds:
Tonto: "Uh. What you want Chief Thundercloud?"
Thundercloud: "You heap good friend Thundercloud. You help Thundercloud plenty."
Tonto: "Tonto glad to do that."
Thundercloud: "Me keep White Feller here. Take um good care of White Feller. Make him strong like before."…" Tonto take-um horse of Thundercloud. Him best horse in tribe. Tonto take him for all time."
Tonto: "Tonto thank you plenty." (Horse whiney)
Tonto: "Him make friends with Tonto."
Lone Ranger: "He likes you kemo sabe. Look at him. Except for Silver, I've never seen a better horse anywhere."
In the eleven episodes after Tonto receives his horse from Chief Thundercloud he is referred to simply as "Paint Horse" in seven of the episodes and not referred to at all in the other four. Most commonly it is Tonto calling "Here Paint Horse" (four times) , "Gittum up Paint Horse" (seven time?), and "Whoa Paint Horse" (three times). In one of the eleven, Incriminating Letter (August 10, 1938 [#864/89]), a reminder is made of Thundercloud's gift to Tonto. Hacksaw Hastings and Bolivar Bates (two old Civil War veterans who appear in a story now and then), have been searching for the Ranger and Tonto for several days. Seeing a horse hitched outside of a cafe Bolivar says "That's the paint horse Tonto got from old Thundercloud."
In the episode of September 2, 1938 (Sheriff Sanders & The Smugglers [#874/99]) Tonto's paint horse plays an important role. The Ranger and Tonto are heading toward the Rio Grande on reports of drug smuggling. While in the Sheriff's home talking with the Sheriff's daughter, Tonto hears his horse whiney and then being struck. He and the Ranger rush outside. Driven by anger, Tonto knocks out the man, Buck Wilson. The Ranger finds that Wilson had his gun drawn and may have planned to shot the horse for the warning whiney to Tonto and the Ranger. Later in the episode, the Lone Ranger and Tonto are riding with the sheriff's deputies hoping to stop a pending smuggling attempt. During the ride a deputy, admiring Tonto's horse, says
Deputy: "Whada-ya call the horse?"
Tonto: "Him not got name."
Deputy: "No name? Sakes alive. Seems to me the horse should have won his spurs before now."
As the Sheriff and his men meet up with the Ranger, Tonto and the sheriff's deputies, there is a loud whiney and Tonto says "Steady Paint Horse," followed by a stern "Down Paint Horse!" The paint horse knocks a saddle bag from Buck Wilson's horse to the ground. Out spill drugs. A louder whiney follows and Tonto says three times "Down Paint Horse!" Several more loud whinnies are followed by Tonto's stern "Down Paint Horse!" two more times.
When the Sheriff asks what made the horse act loco, the Ranger explains "He probably scented the drugs when Buck Wilson lashed him and he associated the scent with something he learned to hate."
Deputy: "Stranger, that Indian's horse is sure saved us. If it hadn't been for him we a …"
Tonto: (Chuckling) "Paint Horse plenty good."
Deputy: "Indian, he sure enough earned his spurs, by Thunder! That horse is a sure enough good scout."
Tonto: "Good scout!! That good!! Tonto like scout!!"
And as the Lone Ranger is calling out "Hi Yo Silver away!", Tonto for the first time says "Gittum up Scout."
One can only guess how many times through the years that the Lone Ranger's call to Silver was followed by Tonto's words "Gittum up Scout."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Frank Morgan lives in West Chester, PA and has been a member of MWOTRC for several years. His wife may bury him with his earpods for all the OTR he listens to, inter alia: Jack Benny, Fred Allen, The Whistler, Suspense and, of course, The Lone Ranger.