The Ransom of Red Chief

by O. Henry

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What does Ebenezer Dorset do in the story?  

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Ebenezer Dorset, the father of the kidnapped boy who calls himself Red Chief, takes a few actions in the story. Some of them we must assume because we see the result of the action but aren't actually told of it when it happens. Since Sam is the narrator, we see and know only what he sees and knows.

Dorset receives the letter Sam sends that demands ransom. Upon receiving it, he scribbles back a note in a "crabbed hand" that makes a counter proposition. He states he will take Red Chief off the hands of the kidnappers if they pay him $250 and bring the child that night after dark. He sends a boy on a bicycle to put the note into the place Sam had instructed him to put the ransom money.

When Sam and Bill come to return Red Chief, Dorset comes to the door. He accepts the money from Sam into his outstretched hand. He peels his son off the leg of Bill and warns him that he should flee quickly because he can only hold the boy about ten minutes since he is not as strong as he used to be. 

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