The Lone Ranger

Despite its reputation for family-friendly fare, Disney just can’t seem to resist identifying their villains with disabilities or disfigurements, as a shorthand to indicate to the audience that the bad guys are bad. In The Lone Ranger; the Native American-oppressing, human flesh-eating outlaw Butch Cavendish, has facial scars and a cleft lip. (Disney even admits this was the rationale on Butch’s character page: “Cavendish is a ruthless outlaw whose terribly scarred face is a perfect reflection of the bottomless pit that passes for his soul.” Cleft lip organization Transforming Faces issued a response.) Butch is portrayed as being unnatural almost to the point of being supernatural, and his superstitious pursuers feel the need to fabricate a silver bullet in anticipation of his capture.

If that wasn’t enough, Disney also added some incongruous cannibalistic bunny rabbits. They’re explained as “nature out of balance”, but the allusion to the “harelip” colloquialism is obvious.

One of Butch’s past meals comes back to haunt him, though; brothel-owning Red Harrington has replaced her missing leg with a beautiful ivory prosthesis, decorated in scrimsaw and concealing a built-in double-barreled shotgun. The male characters are fascinated with her leg and express desire to touch it, but Red refuses permission until letting someone do so aids her revenge.


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