former term for the Western Apaches, from Spanish, literally "foolish;" probably a translation of a name given to the people by other branches of the Apache, e.g. Chiricahua Apache /bini:'édiné/, Mescalero Apache /bini:'édinendé/, both literally "people without minds," and used to designate the Western Apaches. Spanish tonto is said to be originally a nursery word, used for its sound.
And naturally, tonto comes to life when he sees the young boy so he can tell story of John Reid, the Lone Ranger.
The writers try to explain his mannerisms by revealing that tonto has an intense guilt complex.