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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:

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