The short story "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry ends with an ironic twist in which the kidnappers pay instead of the kidnapped boy's father. In the beginning, two criminals, Sam and Bill, decide to kidnap the ten-year-old son of a prominent and rich citizen of the town of Summit named Ebenezer Dorset. They manage to grab the boy but soon find out that he is a handful to take care of. Bill, who has to stay in their cave and watch the boy while Sam goes about on errands, has an especially hard time. The boy refers to himself as Red Chief and insists on playing games in which Bill is inevitably humiliated and injured.
In the meantime, Sam sends a note demanding ransom for the safe return of the boy. In response, his father writes that he will take the boy back if the kidnappers will pay him 250 dollars. By this time, Sam and Bill are so fed up that they agree to give in to the father's demand.
The scene in which the two kidnappers plan to return the boy to his home takes place at the cave where they are hiding out. Sam returns with the father's note, and they read it together. Bill begs Sam to give the father the money so that they can be rid of the boy. He is afraid that he'll go crazy if he has to put up with the boy any more. Sam admits that the boy is getting on his nerves too, and so he agrees. They make up a story to persuade the boy to return with them, and they take him home that night. The boy puts up a fuss when he finds out that the kidnappers are planning to leave him with his father. The father holds on to the boy while the kidnappers leave, promising them a ten-minute head start. The kidnappers, with Bill far in front, get away as fast as they can.