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The Texas Rangers - #TheRealWest on the #HistoryChannel

History Channel - The Real West - The Texas Rangers
A & E Home Video
VHS Release Date: January 23, 2001
VHS format

Join host Kenny Rogers as the myths, legends and realities of one of our most fabled eras come to life through authentic diaries, period accounts, rare photos and footage and expert commentary in THE REAL WEST. It's been said that a Texas Ranger could "ride like a Mexican, trail like an Indian, shoot like a Tennesean, and fight like the very devil." Stephen F. Austin formed the Texas Rangers in 1826 to protect American settlers in the Texas Territory. Later, the Rangers turned to upholding the law. They tracked down murderers, smugglers and robbers across the wide-open spaces of the newly born Lone Star State. Join up with the TEXAS RANGERS and get set for a manhunt through the Old West.

Amazon.com Review -
The popular image of the American cowboy--tall in the saddle, six-shooter in hand, skin and soul dried to leathery ruggedness by the blazing desert sun--finds its best real-life representation in the Texas Rangers, those fearsome dispensers of absolute frontier justice. Founded as a ragtag volunteer militia charged with protecting Texas settlers from Comanche raids (services that paid the going rate of $15 monthly, "payable in property"), the Rangers were by their disbanding and reorganization as a state police force in the early 1900s perhaps the most effective and certainly the most legendary lawmen in U.S. history. This superficial but jaunty documentary gives a breezy chronicle of the institution, and it's hard not to enjoy such colorful characters as .44 revolver designer Sam Walker and Robert "Three-Legged Willie" Williamson, forced to wear a peg leg from a bout of childhood polio, whose stirring declamations of freedom and justice are favorably compared to Patrick Henry's. Still, one wonders if the mystique of the Rangers isn't so outsized and self-consciously macho that it needs a bit more critical probing than it receives here. The Texas Rangers have plenty to answer for to modern sensibilities: routinely committing illegal cross-border raids after quarries who had fled to Mexico, fighting in the Mexican-American war with such frank brutality that horrified witnesses labeled them los diablos Texanos. These concerns are mostly brushed aside by the talking heads assembled here, most who can barely restrain their glee at the grislier exploits they relate. Without dismissing the very real heroism of the Rangers, a more balanced presentation would have been preferred by anyone not already convinced of their righteousness; the messy truth makes for a better story than a tall tale every time. --Bruce Reid


Ranger tradition goes back to 1400's England (to monitor the King's forests)
1820's, Southerners brought the tradition to Texas
1835 - Rangers were paid $1.25/day, furnished their own horses and weapons, elected own officers, served 3-6 months
Rangers learned the Comanche (and other tribe) tactics in order to even the fights
Texas Rangers became special force and border control
1901 - Texas Rangers became a State Policy force

Some notable rangers:
Bill McDonald (Ranger Captain)
Robert McKalpin Williamson (Ranger Commander) - had polio as a child which bent his leg requiring a cane to walk
Captain Jack Hays - made men shoot at boards, ranger training sessions
Dick Ware - captured Sam Bass (train robber)
Commander McNelly - Las Cuevas War, died of tuberculosis
John B. Armstrong - arrested John Wesley Hardin ($4,000 reward)

Check your local library for a copy or you can find one here:

Everyday Items throughout #History - #TheEpicHistoryofEverydayThings #HistoryChannel


A&E Home Video - History Channel - The Epic History of Everyday Things
DVD Release Date: February 26, 2013

Everything around us has a story to tell. Shoes, cans, string, mirrors; everything we see and touch has an epic tale of how it came to be invented or discovered, and the dramatic moments throughout history at which it played an important role. But few of us know these stories. We go through our days blissfully ignorant of the deadly and dangerous road brave men traveled in order to bring coffee to the world, or the pivotal part beer played in the civilizing of mankind. These stories and many more are brought vividly to life in this two-hour special, which follows one man on a journey through the last day of his life, examining and recounting the epic tales of the everyday items he encounters before his ignorance of their stories leads him to his ultimate doom.


Until 1700s, forks were considered unmanly so only fingers were used
1750 - First factory production of salt
1765 - Industrialization of beer (Note: Sumerians wrote recipe for beer on 4000 BC tablet)
1777 - First funeral home in America
1780 - First American bank formed
1787 - First American alarm clock - only rang at 4am
1790 - Sewing machine invented
1790 - Shoe laces are invented (Note: the earliest pair of shoes date from about 3500 BC)
1797 - U.S. enters spice trade
1810 - Tin Cans were invented to store food (interesting stories of lead contamination)
1846 - Kerosene used for lighting (Seven years later they are used for street lamps)
1848 - Can opened was invented!
1858 - First traffic light; exploded next day and killed policeman
1875 - Electric street lights
1886 - Dishwasher was invented by a socialite
1904 - Safety razor invented (King Gillette)
1917 - The "sneaker" is invented
1926 - SPAM was invented
1928 - Electric razor invented
1946 - The string bikini is invented

1200-1300 - Island of Murano becomes home of fine glassmaking
1291 - Italian guards glass-making secrets
1450 - First completely clear glass developed
1608 - The first glass arrived in U.S.
1900 - Automatic glass-blowing machine invented (early forms of glass making were dangerous and secretive)

Check your local library for a copy or you can find one here: