Men like that can't accept what we know to be true. A man can't stay the same with the world evolving around him. But a man can't choose his brother, can he? Almost as if his brother chooses him. You see that's what we are, me and Butch, brothers, born in the desert, all those years ago.
~ Cole revealing his true nature.
Latham Cole is the main antagonist in the 2013 Walt Disney epic western action film The Lone Ranger. He is the archenemy of Tonto.
Cole fought in the civil war, and gained a reputation for doing so. He suffered a great personal injury during battle, leaving him unable to father children. He was at the battle of Gettysburg and watched the 11,000 casualties before lunch. This left him with an understanding that sacrifice was necessary for change to occur.
He seems a good man at first, giving speeches on the future of the transcontinental railroad and assuring the Commanche that as long as there is peace between the two, all treaties will be honored. He later has friendly regular conversation with the Lone Ranger (at that point know as John Reid, as he hadn't taken up the mantle just yet) praising him and telling how good it is to see another educated man in town, but as the film progresses, his true intentions are revealed.
It is revealed that it was him who hired the outlaw Butch Cavendish to start a war, by making it look like the Commanche have violated the treaty, so he can build a railroad through their land (He and Butch having known each other for years, being "brothers born in the desert). He also uses the new railroad to take all the silver that he and Butch discovered many years earlier, and which they murdered an entire village of Commanche (who had nursed them back to health after finding them unconscious in the desert) to keep secret. He tries to kill the Lone Ranger and Tonto so that they don't interfere with his plan of taking over the railroad industry by force. He later meets with Captain Jay Fuller (who had arrived leading the US Cavalry to fight the Commanche). Following the Lone Ranger capturing Butch, he takes him to Cole, so he could be tried. He also shows an attraction to Dan Reid (The Lone Rangers brother) widow, Rebecca and her son Danny, who he hopes to take as his family as he is unable to have on of his own. Over dinner with the Lone Ranger he starts off talking about how he hates Butch, however as the conversation goes on he starts to reveal his true colors, slowly he reaches for a gun planning to kill the Ranger, but the Ranger managed to figure out his intentions based upon his comments and several clues around, including the sight of the adjusted railroad map. He turns to shoot him only to see the Ranger had vanished, confused the Ranger catches him by surprise and holds him at gun point. However Cole manages to regain the upper hand with help from Cavendish, and has the captain put the Ranger to death, by firing squad. Tonto manages to save him, but then the Commanche attack forcing Cole to run. Believing them both to be dead he leaves, taking Rebecca, Danny and all the silver with him.
Defeat and Death
At the grand opening of the railroad he first excepts his congratulation from the Railroad chairman, before leading him and the other officials away, where he reveals his evil plan to them and forces them at gun point to appoint him the new chairman, after shooting the old one in the back when he tries to stop him. However his plan begins to fall apart, when the Lone Ranger and Tonto steal the silver he was going to use to buy all the shares making him the owner of the railroad. He and Butch give chase in another train. While Captain Jay Fuller (who he corrupted earlier) fights on the other train. Following a lengthy chase he manages to regain the silver and finally confronts Tonto at gun point planning to kill him and right there.
However, the Lone Ranger manages to shoot the gun out of his hand (from the top of the cliff on Silvers back, with his last bullet, which happens to be the Silver bullet Tonto made to kill the "Wendigo" earlier) saving his friend. Tonto knocks Cole down, holds him at gun point with his own gun and then throws back the cheap pocket watch which Cole had paid him 26 years earlier in return for showing him and Cavendish the location of the silver, telling him it was a "bad trade." Tonto jumps onto the other car and detaches the carriage between them. As the train is about to cross the railway bridge, Tonto and the Lone Ranger destroy it with Cole's own explosives which he had used to illegally mine the silver, causing the train to plunge into the river below. Cole tries to swim to the surface, but ends up being crushed and buried by the very same silver that he greedily took and murdered for, causing him to drown.
Cole seems generous and kindhearted at first, but over the course of the film he reveals that he is really a completely ruthless businessman who is after nothing more than money and power. He sees controlling the railroad as a way to obtain the power he desires, and sees himself as a good man who will build a greater place for the future, one which others will thank him for, thus showing signs of both delusions of grandeur and megalomania. He wants to kill the Ranger and Tonto simply to stop them interfering with his plans. He also was willing to start a war and to slaughter all the Indians to achieve his goals, revealing he is completely without morals or limits. He is also very brutal, as he slaps Rebecca's son Danny Reid in the face without showing any remorse for it, instead cruelly stating to Danny who has a cut on his face "I'm gonna have to teach you about respect, aren't I, son?".
Cole giving a speech to the townspeople about his new railroad
Cole speaking with the Lone Ranger
Cole preparing to put his plans into action
Cole with his associates on board his train
Cole being threatened by the Lone Ranger with a gun
Cole slaps Danny Reid in the face.
"I'm gonna have to teach you about respect, aren't I, son?"
Cole at his railroad opening ceremony
Cole escaping from Tonto and the Lone Ranger in his train
Cole is left to die as his train plummets off a bridge
Cole drowns after being buried beneath his own silver