In "The Ransom of Red Chief," Bill and Sam need $2,000.00 more than the $600.00 that they possess in order to start their land scam in Western Illinois. Of course, the irony of the opening words about the small town of Summit, Alabama, and the ease with which they will pull of the kidnapping job cannot be missed.
We knew that Summit couldn't get after us with anything stronger than constables and, maybe, some lackadaisical bloodhounds and a diatribe or two in the Weekly Farmers' Budget. So, it looked good.
As it turns out, Sam and Bill lose $250.00 to buy back their freedom from "Red Chief." Running out of Summit, Sam has trouble keeping up with Bill, even "as fat as he was."--A most amusing tale!
Bill and Sam want to start a land fraud scam and to get it going they needed an additional $2,000 to add to the $600 they had.
"Bill and me had a joint capital of about six hundred dollars, and we needed just two thousand dollars more to pull off a fraudulent town-lot scheme in Western Illinois with." (Henry)
That is the only explanation that I could find to explain what Bill and Sam need the ransom money for, they are professional criminals, that is how they live.