The Ransom of Red Chief

The Ransom of Red Chief

"The Ransom of Red Chief" is a 1910 short story by O. Henry.

Plot

This story tells of a young boy held for ransom by two petty criminals, Bill Driscoll and Sam Howard. The two men are fugitives who have escaped to the Deep South searching for an easy way to get their hands on $2,000 they need in order to launch a land fraud scheme in Illinois. They set their sights on the quiet town of Summit, Alabama because of the "" - love for one's own children - that they believe is common in rural communities.

Bill and Sam decide they will kidnap the son of a citizen named Ebenezer Dorset, demand a ransom of $2,000, quickly collect the payoff, and be on their way. However, once they actually kidnap the boy and make their way to a hideout in the nearby hills, their plan quickly begins to unravel. Their young captive, a malevolent, redheaded brat who calls himself "Red Chief", actually enjoys his stay with his kidnappers, and thinks he is on a camping trip.

Red Chief proceeds to drive his captors to distraction with pranks and demands that they play wearying games with him, such as pretending to be a scout and using Bill as his horse. Bill and Sam are soon desperate to be rid of the little terror; they lower the price to $1,500 but still receive no answer. When they receive a reply to their ransom letter from Red Chief's father offering to take the boy off their hands for $250, they quickly return him and flee town as fast as they can.

External links

* cite web | title = Free online version | url = http://www.literaturecollection.com/a/o_henry/3/
accessdate = 5 January | accessyear = 2008

* [http://curiousray.info/rorc.html Stage Adaptation] , royalty free.


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