In this story Bill Drills and Sam, the narrator, are two of the main characters. Working together, they’re two clever men, who mischievously plan and commit crimes. The other two characters are Benzene Dorset, a rich businessman and his energetic and intolerable son. They’re later introduced into the story. Ironically this story takes place in a small town called Summit that happens to be as flat as a pancake. As Sam and Bill are planning another crime to pull off an important scheme in Western Illinois, they decide they first must pull off a kidnapping in this small, quiet town.
In desperate need of $2,000 to pull off their crime in Western Illinois, Sam and Bill decided kidnapping was the best way to get that money, especially in a town like Summit. Their victim would be a ten year old freckle-faced, cartoon-looking boy, whose name was Johnny, from the Dorset family. Fortunately, the kidnapping worked in their favor, until the kid actually enjoyed being in this situation. While the kid was very energetic and talkative, he was immensely annoying and rather dangerous. Shockingly, the boy terrified the thieves because his imagination got the best of him.
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Bill took the brunt of it. Terrified, he couldn’t even think of being left alone with this kid. The boy was brutal. He beat, hit, kicked and played much too rough. Putting up with the kid no longer, Sam and Bill made the ransom note for that night. Desperately, they decided to make the ransom for $500 less than they needed, just in case the father thought his kid wasn’t worth the money. In getting a letter back from the boys father, they couldn’t believe their eyes. Rather than taking the deal, the father offered to take the child back along with $250. They would be paying him, instead.
Astonished at this man’s audacity, the two thieves didn’t know what to do. Although they didn’t want to, Sam and Bill unhappily agreed to the father’s offer. They couldn’t handle the boy much longer, and Bill, who was on the verge of a breakdown, begged Sam to agree to the man’s request. Unexpectedly, the two thieves ended up paying the father to take the boy back instead of the other way around. Things didn’t turn out as planned. After being paid the $250, the father gave the men a ten minute warning because that was as long as he could hold his son back.
Running as fast as is stubby legs could carry him, Bill was out of there faster than a race horse. And he was a rather plump man too. If looking for something to do during any free time, look up Ransom of the Red Chief and read it. It is worth it. Because the kidnapper’s vocabulary in this story is unexpectedly refined, it adds humor to it. For example, when Sam stands, talking to himself on the mountain, “Perhaps,’ says I to myself, ‘it has not yet been discovered that the wolves have home away the tender lambkin from the fold. Readers might think that, Johnny, being kidnapped, landed to terrorize Sam and Bill the whole time. However, Johnny was completely oblivious as to how obnoxious and annoying he really was. Chuckling to himself, Johnny’s father knew his son to be that way. Willingly, he took the risk of demanding pay for the return of his son, knowing the kidnappers would comply. On the father’s part, this was the cleverest part of the story. Stick to doing the right thing or else one will learn their lesson and regret their wrong-doing. Gratefully, the criminals learned their lesson, causing these reformed kidnappers to never kidnap again.