Skip to main content

See also:

Gun of the Lone Ranger can be found at a museum in Wyoming

This year marks the 65th anniversary of The Lone Ranger, which aired on ABC from 1949 to 1957 that followed those "thrilling days of yesteryear" of the Masked Man and Tonto, as they fought for law and justice in the Old American West.

On Monday, ABC News has reported that the Ranger's Colt .45 is now on display at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming.

The six-shooter was owned by John Hart, who succeeded Clayton Moore as the Ranger for only one season from 1952 to 1953; before he wore the mask, though, Hart made guest appearances on two Lone Ranger episodes.

Still, Hart wasn't popular with viewers, and Moore was back in the saddle as the Ranger for two more seasons and two feature films, while Hart appeared in 1981's poorly received (but underrated gem) Legend of the Lone Ranger, and guest-starred on The Greatest American Hero and Happy Days, where he won the mask on both shows.

The Lone Ranger, which began on radio at WXYZ in Detroit on January 30, 1933, follows the adventures of the only survivor of an ambush that left several Texas Rangers dead. With the aid of his Indian friend Tonto, he dedicated his life to being a symbol of justice against the lawless and hope for many as a masked vigilante lawman.

ABC's success of The Lone Ranger led to The Cisco Kid (1950-56, syndication) with Duncan Renaldo as the Western Robin Hood who champions the innocent and helpless. Along with the Ranger and Tonto, Cisco and Pancho, shows like Hopalong Cassidy, The Roy Rogers Show, The Range Rider, and Annie Oakley aired during a time where the good guys -- and girls -- always triumphs over evil week after week.

After The Lone Ranger, ABC followed it up with Zorro (1957-59) with Guy Williams as the Spanish Robin Hood who defends the poor and oppressed against tyranny, and The Green Hornet (1966-67) with Van Williams and Bruce Lee as crusading newspaper editor Britt Kato and his enforcer/Black Beauty driver Kato, as they take on mobsters, crooked cops, and greedy politicians as masked vigilantes while being hunted by the police as criminals; the Hornet is the Ranger's great-nephew.

The Lone Ranger was the inspiration for Glen A. Larson to create NBC's Knight Rider (1982-86) with David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a former policeman turned lone crusader against criminals who operate above the law with the aid of his supercar KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand). Another is the syndicated Renegade (1992-97) with heartthrob Lorenzo Lamas as a former cop turned motorcycle-riding fugitive bounty hunter who brings criminals to justice while seeking evidence that will clear him of a murder he didn't commit.