Who is usually in charge of the situation at the cave? a. Red Chief c. Sam b. Bill d. Ebenezer Dorset

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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--The answer to who is in charge of the situation at the cave is a. Red Chief

In O. Henry's story of comic reversals, two con-men named Sam and Bill kidnap the small red-headed son of Ebenezer Dorset. From the time that they bring him to the cave until he is returned to his father, Red Chief dominates Bill, who is assigned to keep the boy there. 

After Sam returns the horse and buggy that they have used to capture the boy, he walks back to the cave where Bill is supposed to be watching the child. However, when he becomes visible to Dorset's son, the boy shouts,

“Ha! Cursed paleface, do you dare to enter the camp of Red Chief, the terror of the plains?”

Startled by this remarks, Sam then sees Bill, who tells Sam things are all right now, but he adds that they are playing cowboys and Indians and making Buffalo Bill's West West Show look mild in comparison:

 I’m Old Hank, the Trapper, Red Chief’s captive, and I’m to be scalped at daybreak. By Geronimo! That kid can kick hard.”

Further, this situation moves from bad to worse as Red Chief inflicts injury and terror upon Bill and Sam. For, after Sam discovers the boy with a knife as he prepares to scalp the sleeping Bill, the men agree to pay the banker Dorset (who has responded to their ransom letter) money in order to take the boy back, and to bring him under the cover of dark as he has instructed them because the townspeople believe the boy is lost and Mr. Dorset

...couldn’t be responsible for what they would do to anybody they saw bringing him back.

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