A Ranger Christmas, Part 2
So when Bob Cratchit and Ranger Cooper are stopped and Cooper is messing around with his horse, the Wild Comanche takes the opportunity to throw a spear. And even though, back with the kids, Walker, Texas Ranger makes a point of the fact that Cooper didn’t know he was being followed, Bob Cratchit sure seems to. That, or he has amazing eyesight: he immediately sees that Red Bear is throwing the spear at Cooper, not him, even though they’re two feet apart. He yells a warning, Cooper dodges the spear, and Red Bear beats cheeks.
Nothing daunted, the pair continue riding until dark, then make camp. Cooper asks why Bob Cratchit warned him about the spear. (Honestly, the question seems a bit odd to me. Bob Cratchit was handcuffed at the time, so would have been powerless and at the mercy of the Wild Comanche and/or the elements if Cooper was killed.) But Cratchit starts in on his religious ramblings again:
“You see, Ranger Cooper, once upon a time, I was a heckuva sinner. But I was lucky enough to get myself reborn. I have faith now.”
So…what, you’re saying that anyone without faith would just let another person get murdered right in front of him? Nice.
But Cooper is all, JESUS WHO’S THAT???
“Faith? In what?”
In cornflakes, Ranger Cooper, WHAT DO YOU THINK HE HAS FAITH IN, THIS IS THE OLD WEST YOU IDIOT.
But way back at the beginning of the story, Walker Texas Ranger told the kids that Cooper was an orphan just like them. He calls back to this now, as Cooper says he grew up in an orphanage “where they beat the Bible into you every day,” so he’s not into religion.
Bob Cratchit gives Cooper the whole it’s-not-religion-it’s-a-relationship spiel, which seems a terribly modern take for the Wild West.
Chuck Norris gazes off into the middle distance, demonstrating that Cooper has A Lot To Think Over.
The next day, the two spot Red Bear in the distance, and Cooper explains that the blood debt is because Cooper killed Red Bear’s brother in a battle, I’m assuming during the Texas-Indian Wars.
Yet they continue on the trail, completely unconcerned with the Wild Comanche, even though they KNOW HE’S AROUND.
And later that day, Red Bear shoots Bob Cratchit with an arrow, having changed weapons but not improved his aim. (Okay, in all fairness, Cratchit jumped in front of the arrow. Which seems unnecessarily heroic, even for someone who got himself newborn. Why not just yell for Cooper to duck again?)
“…when I got saved, I swore I’d never abide the killing of another human being.”
Okay. That’s nice and all, but what if the other human being is YOU?
(And, once again, Red Bear beats cheeks and elects not to stick around and finish the job.)
Cut back to Walker Texas Ranger and the kids. The kids are clamoring for more, and I can’t help but notice that this has some pretty heavy stuff in it for a Christmas tale told at a party: bank robberies, multiple shootings. And more to come. Christmas!)
Nonetheless, now it is Trivette who lets us know how much we should be into the story, as he is clearly spellbound by all the “suspense.”
Yeah, suspense. Because I’m sure Walker Texas Ranger will tell a group of kids, ranging in age from about six to eleven, a story where a guy dies from a Wild Comanche arrow wound.
To save Bob Cratchit’s life, Cooper drags him back to the Cratchit farm, which must be a helluva trip, since they’d already made at least a day and a half’s worth of travel away from there. Delirious, Cratchit moans about “Timmy” the whole way.
Poor Bob gets dragged inside, and Cooper gets the arrow out by pushing it through Bob’s chest, and out the other side. I mean, I guess it beats yanking it out the way it went in, but still.
Oh, and two little Cratchit children watch the whole procedure. Christmas!
Then Cooper cauterizes the wound with his own knife. (Or, as Chuck Norris puts it, “carterize.”)
Bob screams in pain as his kids look on. Christmas!
So Cooper hangs out with the Cratchits while Bob heals, and picks up on a few extremely subtle clues: the kids pray for “Timmy” every night, and there’s an empty crib by the parents’ bed.
GEE I WONDER WHO TIMMY IS
Walker Texas Ranger explains that a few DAYS later,
“…Cooper came to the only conclusion that a man of his insights could arrive at.”
Oh yeah, you really needed special insight to figure out that they have a missing baby, Walker. Miss Marple herself probably couldn’t have figured this one out!
The details (which Cooper doesn’t figure out; the Cratchits need to tell him) are that back when Cratchit was “a heckuva sinner,” he used to ride with the bank robbers, Cody Diggs and Co. When he wouldn’t join them for this last job, they kidnapped the baby. They’ve promised to return the kid once Bob is in prison, but Bob’s wife, Cooper, and I don’t exactly think that’s a likely scenario.
Rather bizarrely, Cratchit just assumes that Cooper will go find Timmy. I mean, that’s the plot of course, but the Cratchits tell Cooper that Timmy was kidnapped, and Bob just says out of the clear blue sky:
“I need you to promise me, Ranger Cooper, to do your best not to take a life.”
Okay, granted, I’m an evil atheist and all, but if someone had kidnapped my baby, I would be telling the Texas Ranger:
“Ranger Cooper, just get my baby back. Please feel free to kill everything you see, if it means getting my baby back.”
Guess I just don’t care as much as Bob that the kidnapping took place so close to “the birthday of Jesus.”
By the way, Mrs. Cratchit doesn’t say a word through this whole no-killing conversation. My guess is that her feelings are a bit closer to mine than to Bob’s.
Cooper says he’ll try, but he’s not promising anything. Atta boy.
The next morning, Cooper sets off for the little town just south of the Mexican border, where Timmy is being held. Bob Cratchit invites Cooper to think of himself as part of the Cratchit family, in the “spirit of Christmas” and all. Cooper says he’d “be proud to,” and rides off.
AND OFF IN THE TALL GRASSES, RED BEAR WITNESSES THE WHOLE THING
And stays his hand, of course.
By the way, the way they say goodbye to Cooper brings up an interesting little point. If you Google this episode, almost every descriptions refers to Cooper as a “Scrooge-like Texas Ranger.” And I realize they’re just going with the description they were given (it’s the same description as on my DVD case), but I’m not seeing it. There’s nothing much Scrooge-like about Cooper. He’s barely even gruff. He doesn’t care much about Christmas, but there’s much more to Scrooge than that. And the warm way Cooper treats the Cratchits is certainly not Scrooge-ish in the least.
But hey, if you think Walker, Texas Ranger has some weird ideas about A Christmas Carol, wait until you see my next Wintermas offering!
Anyway, next time, Cooper arrives in the town to collect Tiny Timmy!