the short story project

The Ransom of Red Chief

Our Editors On:

The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry

Two outlaws – the narrator of this comic story and his friend – Bill Driscoll, need another two thousand dollars; and in order to get it, they decide to kidnap a ten-year-old boy whose hair is “the color of the cover of the magazine you buy at the news-stand when you want to catch a train.” The place is down south Alabama, and what seems like the perfect crime – kidnapping an innocent, harmless child and demanding ransom money from his wealthy father, who is also “stern and upright” – receives an unexpected turn in the plot. And there is no one like O. Henry to build such a splendid twist.