Role in the Film
Butch Cavendish was the right-hand man of Latham Cole and he was responsible for the death of John's brother Dan Reid. He and his men killed all the Texas Rangers, and Butch personally killed Dan. He cuts Dan open and devours his heart. When John saw this, he vowed to take Butch to justice. Butch and Latham were also responsible for the extermination of Tonto's people.
Early in the film, he is being transported by train back to town, supposedly so he can be hanged. However, using a gun hidden on the train, he kills his guards and almost kills Tonto (who is also on the train purely for the purpose of killing Cavendish). Hearing the commotion, John Reid breaks his way in. But Cavendish holds him at gun point. Tonto, however, grabs another gun and holds it up against his head, planning to kill him for what he did to Tonto's village. John, however, stops him, so that he can be tried in a court of law. He then chains him back up, before emptying the gun while declaring that there's no place for guns where this train is headed. When asked where that is by Butch, he replies "the Future." At that moment however, Cavendish's gang break in and free him. Cavendish has John chained up and leaves him on the train, which his men had set to crash, before escaping with his men. Following several staggering Commanche attacks, he kidnaps Rebecca and Danny (The Long Ranger's brother's wife and son). It is here at his camp he first hears the stories of a mystical "ranger" who killed two of his men with one bullet from one of his men, Frank, who encountered John and Tonto. Although his gang is scared, Butch dismisses the stories of Dan Reid's ghost returning to get him and orders one of his men to shoot Rebecca and Danny. Sympathizing with them, the man fakes it and tells them to run, only for them to be found by Cole. Later at the mine, he forces the workers to continue mining all the silver. When told the men there are afraid and there has been a cave in, he simply shoots the man who was complaining and tells them to get back to work. He also savagely beats one of his own men down when he suggests they simply take all the silver they have and leave while pointing out they are already rich, due to him declaring that he "wants it all". However, following suspicious goings-on, he sends one of his men into the mine. When he doesn't come back he sends two more men who don't come back, but a mine car does. Suspicious, he and his men shoot at it before investigating and discovering it to contain lit Dynamite. The explosion killed his men and disabled him. Captured by the Lone Ranger and Tonto, he mocks the Ranger by declaring he's as alive as he is, and that he is no different from him due to being just another "man wearing a mask". Angirly The Ranger beats him with his gun for what he did to his brother. Tonto tries to kill him, but still wanting him to face justice not vengeance and disillusioned from Tonto's stories, the Ranger takes him away by leading him through the desert with his hands tied and pulled by the Ranger's horse. Eventually the Ranger finds Cole and gives Butch over to him so he can be tried in accordance with the law and have justice. However, as Butch was secretly working for Cole, Cole lets him loose later, where he recaptures Rebecca when she escapes. Then, in a several way gun confrontation, he recaptures the Ranger. However, following a real Commanche attack and Tonto breaking in to save The Ranger, they are forced to leave. Wising up to the fact that they're both difficult to kill, Butch throws kerosene and lit Dynamite down the passageway after them deciding that should kill them, before leaving while unaware that they managed to survive the explosion. At Cole's hostile take over of the Railroad corporation, Cavendish grabs Rebecca and takes her to the board meeting, where he helps Cole hold the other share-holders at gun point so they are forced to appoint him the new chairman (Cole having already shot the previous one in the back). However, at that point, Tonto steals the train carrying the silver. Cole and Cavendish then chase after Tonto in another train, while the Ranger, on Silver's back, chases after them across the top of the train.
By the end of the film, he and The Lone Ranger face off against each other on top of a train, Butch uses Rebecca as a human shield during the fight before seeing a tunnel, and dives down while holding her, assuming the Ranger would be crushed. However, he and Silver manages to jump down in time unbeknownst to him and the Ranger later catches up. Finding he's out of bullets, Cavendish threatens to throw Rebecca off the train. The Long Ranger, however, calls his bluff, and Cavendish does what he said but Rebecca lands on Silver's back (just as the Ranger planned). Confronting him, he asks The Ranger if he is going to kill him. The Ranger replies "that's right" and tries to shoot him, only to find he is also out of bullets. Butch draws a knife while the Ranger holds up his fists ready to fight. Cavendish mocks him asking if "he boxed in college" but when he gets distracted by Tonto on the other train, the Ranger punches him out before replying "for a matter of fact I did". The two confront once again minutes later in an unattached carriage. Drawing his now loaded gun, he points it at the Ranger. Butch then mocks him, echoing what he said to him earlier about how his train may be going to the future, but this "train is going straight to hell", only for both of them to be knocked about when the car knocks against another. Butch then regains his balance, but the Ranger smiles while looking behind Butch and tells him that he believes he is right and adds "enjoy the trip", before using his whip to grab a tree and escape the carriage. Butch tries to shoot him and quickly he pulls open the doorway only to see what the Ranger saw: the other unlatched carriages speeding towards him way too fast in order for him to escape, Butch is later killed when a cart collided with him.
- Throughout the movie, Butch is nicknamed "Wendigo": according to Indian legends, a man becomes a wendigo when he eats human flesh, just like Cavendish does frequently.