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The Ransom of Red Chief

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,061 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
Bill and Sam arrive in the small American town of Summit with only two hundred dollars, but they need more and Sam has an idea for making a lot of money. When things start to go very wrong, both men soon regret their visit - and the idea.
32 pages
Published February 8th 2001 (first published January 1st 1907)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
December buddy read with my non-crunchy pantsless group of crazies.
I have a very temperamental relationship with this author. At times, I read things he's written and I'm like:

And other times I'm like

With Ransom of Red Chief I was like

O. Henry is notorious for writing short stories with a twist ending. Sometimes the twist is satirical, sometimes comical, sometimes ironic. In this case it was flat out hysterical. Two men decide to kidnap the son of a weal
Nov 27, 2011 Audrie rated it it was amazing
This short story is quick and to the point, and absolutely hilarious! Red Chief is such a cruel little boy, but you can't help but pity him because he's so distant from his father. How O. Henry came up with such an evil little boy and yet straight forward theme is beyond my understanding.
Kathy Kaylor
Apr 24, 2008 Kathy Kaylor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I know this kid! Wait, I married him.
Sep 29, 2015 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, to-own
So funny!! It was a short fresh story, I loved it :D
May 31, 2015 Becky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
Loved this story as a kid when my Dad would read it aloud on family trips. Even better as a parent. Read this one!
John Yelverton
Mar 06, 2012 John Yelverton rated it it was amazing
A hilarious story that is fun for every child and parent who reads this.
May 18, 2014 Realini rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry

You Must Read This: it is short, but packed full with fabulous, uproarious moments!!
This is hilarious and one of the funniest short stories I have read in quite a while.
“It looked like a good thing: but wait till I tell you. “
You are warned from the start and the plot is revealed in the next couple of sentences: Bill Driscoll and the narrator plan to kidnap a boy, who turns out to be Winnetou, Old Shatterhand and Dracula all mixed into one.
This brought to my m
Dec 12, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing
Really loved this short story! Probably true for many a rambunctious child, some of I think of in my own home.
Avery Joy
Aug 02, 2015 Avery Joy rated it really liked it
Shelves: school-15-16
I just read this poem for school...I really liked it! (I didn't actually read this exact book at just was handed a print out of the poem)
Alexis Russell
Feb 17, 2015 Alexis Russell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, classics
I really loved this short story! It was very humorous. It was different than the movie but that's to be expected from a 90 minute movie and a 9 page story. Regardless, I love them both and I'm happy that I gave this a go for my AP Literature course!
Oct 14, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This is one of my favorite short stories. Anyone who has children can appreciate this because I think that there hasn't been a time when we haven't thought like the father in this story. It is one of the funniest stories I have ever read.
Jan 22, 2015 Cathi rated it it was amazing
This is a short story that I've been meaning to read for years. I don't know why it took me so long! My dad read this O. Henry story in school when he was a youngster, and it's always been one of his favorites. Now that I've finally read it, I know why. It's hilarious! The humor, absurdity, and wonderful O. Henry surprises were delightful and definitely tickled my funny bone. This little story is not "deep" in any sense of the word, but it is a fun piece of old-fashioned humor which hit me just ...more
Minh Nguyen
Dec 07, 2014 Minh Nguyen rated it it was amazing
This is a great story for those who love adventure. Red Chief is obstreperous and hyperactively. He is also my favorite character in the story. He got kidnapped by two guys but it seem to him is like an adventure and he enjoy the abductions. Red Chief was a nimble kid, he was very active. He made the two kidnapper tired of keeping him and just want to get rid of him.
I made a movie out of this story with Tommy Dang and Billy, he already left. Because I enjoyed the book so I had great time acting
Phi Nguyen
Dec 09, 2014 Phi Nguyen rated it really liked it
The Ransom of Red Chief is a short story that is filled with humor, irony, and lots of twists and turns. Even though the story is short, I enjoyed reading it very much because of the constant humor. The story takes place in a valley called Summit (ironic). Two kidnappers captured a boy from that town and asked for ransom. Instead of making the boy suffer, they suffered from the boy's energetic behavior. They boy constantly annoy them by asking silly questions and always messing around.

I only rat
Jul 07, 2015 Jitendra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Mar 21, 2010 Ceci rated it it was amazing
This story is hilarious!!!!
Dec 09, 2014 Km rated it liked it
In "The Ransom of Red Chief" you'll meet 3 main characters. Bill, the narrator, and Red Chief (a kid). The narrator and Bill holds Red Chief as ransom.Red Chief is a very energetic and hyper kid. He has a lot of imagination and would always annoy Bill. Bill and the Narrator reminds me of Lennie and George from "Of Mice and Men: written by John Steinbeck because like George, the Narrator is the smart one in the group. Bill, like Lennie counts on George. This book makes me feel safer when I'm out ...more
Eustacia Tan
Aug 19, 2012 Eustacia Tan rated it really liked it
As you may have guessed, I've been trying to read different types of mysteries. And after searching for a long time, I finally found a caper mystery - The Ransom of Red Chief, a short story by O. Henry.

A caper mystery, if you don't know, is a mystery that features the criminals as the main story. In this story, the main characters are the two criminals Bill and Sam, who appear tough, but have their weak spot. Although in reality, I think that would be anyone's weak spot.

In this story, our two
Marcus Inglis
Jun 14, 2013 Marcus Inglis rated it it was ok
The authors purpose is to be careful what the choices you make. Two men Bill and Sam (Narrator) try to make easy money by holding a boy Johnny “Red Chief” hostage but ends up with a twist. The impacts on the audience hints them with is a dramatic cut. The story hints an ironic twist which tells Criminals making a plan but it turns out bad. I do think this story will have lasting value because there many stories that can relate to this story, like a similar book, news, or a movie. Although, movie ...more
Sep 17, 2015 Siv30 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories, satire
אחרית דבר - בתיה גור לפעמים אני שומעת על סופר אבל לא מגיעה לספרים/ לכתבים שלו. הפעם אני מודה ומתוודה הפסד אדיר. איך או הנרי הצליח לתפוס אותי שעכשיו אני רצה ברחבי הרשת לחפש את הכתבים והסיפורים שלו. או הנרי למי שלא ידע (כמוני) הוא שם העט של וויליאם סידני פורטר. הוא סופר אמריקאי כנראה מאוד מוכר, אבל כמעט כל מה שתורגם לעיברית, אזל מההוצאה והפסיקו להדפיס אותו. עד לפני שנה או משהו, שהוצאת ידיעות אחרונות הרימה את הכפפה והדפיסה מחדש את "אחרי 20 שנה". הספר שקראתי הוא מקבץ של מספר סיפורים קצרצרים ונוגעים ...more
Anne Hawn Smith
This short story is one of the world's favorites. We used it for homeschool and my granddaughter liked it as much as I did. It is always fun to introduce this little story to someone because I know that another reader is going to find a little spot of joy that wasn't there before. This is long before the diagnosis of ADHD, but it could be the poster child for this condidtion.
Apr 16, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing
Two “desperate men” concoct a scheme to kidnap the son of a well-to-do man in southern town. The scheme does not go as planned. Red Chief, the Indian name the boy assumes, turns out to be considerably more than the docile victim the two men expected. A very funny short story, worthy of its status as a classic.
Jun 13, 2015 Navin rated it it was amazing
This story was present in my schools rapid reader (another english story text book which they asked questions from ).it was in my last years book and it had a collection of 5 o henry stories and this was my was very hilarious and kept me laughing every time I read it
Saybah I.
Aug 13, 2014 Saybah I. rated it it was amazing
The story follows 2 men's journey as they kidnap a boy and try to keep him with them, but they find out that keeping him from running away isn't the least of their worries. The story is an adventurous and humorous short story that will keep the reader giggling throughout the story
Leah Angstman
Feb 03, 2016 Leah Angstman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short and funny. Nothing really complicated about it, but it's cute. Two destitute men kidnap a rich man's naughty Tom Sawyer-like son to hold him for ransom, but the boy drives them so nuts that the ransom's not worth the agony. A little predictable, but cute.
Sherry Wolfe
Oct 18, 2015 Sherry Wolfe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
About 5 minutes into the book, I realized I had seen the movie as a kid. this book made me laugh so hard just like the movie. it is short but not lacking on anything. it is hilarious. love this book. 5 stars is not enough.
Shawn Thrasher
Oct 13, 2012 Shawn Thrasher rated it really liked it
As familiar as this story is, I don't think I'd ever actually read it before now. As tired and stale as one would think it could become after a century and some change, it happily still is a fresh, funny short story. If course, the entire thing is one big joke, with the punchline waiting at the end. The whole Red Chief trope -kidnappers who regret their kidnapping of a brat who make their lives hell - is a familiar one that will morph and change with time and sitcom but keep coming back again an ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found this while looking for something to listen to one night as I washed dishes. Entertaining story of a 10 year old boy who was kidnapped, but the kidnappers wished they hadn't taken him.
Sep 27, 2012 Heather rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Heather by: Mother
I read this short story because my mother had mentioned this book to me one day, and how she read it when she was growing up. She said she could not stop laughing when she read it, it was so funny. So i decided to read it one day at barnes and noble. It took me a short time to read.
This story is a classic, and I recommend that everybody read it just for good knowledge and a good laugh...Although i was not laughing hysterically as my mother would when she read the book, it was quite funny. It ma
Haylee Trulson
Feb 10, 2015 Haylee Trulson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I had to read this book for an English class ... Overall Good read. ...Unexpectedly ..and cleverly written. Would recommend.....
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William Sydney Porter lends the pen name "O. Henry" to surprise endings signed officially as Sydney Porter. His biography shows where he found inspiration for his characters. Their voices and his language were products of his era.

He was born 1862 Greensboro, North Carolina. When he was three years old, his mother died from tuberculosis. He left school at fifteen, worked five years in uncle's drugs
More about O. Henry...

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