The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

those who take time out to read Big Bend as they were to the
homesteader and his family.
CLIFFORD B. CASEY
Sul Ross State College
The Comanches, Lords of the South Plains. By Ernest Wallace
and E. Adamson Hoebel. Norman (University of Oklahoma
Press), 1952. Pp. xviii + 381. Seventeen illustrations. $5.00.
During the frontier era of the great South Plains province and
much adjoining territory the Comanche Indians seem to have
been omnipresent. Probably they never numbered at any one
time more than one-fourth as many people as reside today in the
capital of Texas, but explorers who crossed their country generally
felt their sting. Emigrant trails were always hazardous; the white
people's military forces seemed almost helpless in combating
them, settlers who sought to make a home within or near the
periphery of their country were in constant danger, and at one
time or another they wrote their names in blood in a thousand
places from the Platte to the plains of Durango. For a decade they
offset the effects of a low birth rate by bringing into their bands
captive women and children from Mexico and the western settle-
ments of Texas.
The name Comanche, we are told, is derived from a word used
by the Ute Indians, meaning "anyone who wants to fight me
all the time," and was applied quite consistently to the Comanches
and their neighbors as well.
In the history of the Southwest the Comanches loom large,
and historians have dealt with them repeatedly and, in some
cases, at length. The historian must work in the main with
written records, and of these there is a great abundance bearing
on the Comanches. Unfortunately the greater part of the records
available has been made by enemies of the Indians or by white
persons who did not understand them. Thus, the Comanche's
place in history has been pretty well fixed, but the profile of the
Comanche himself has been greatly distorted.
Now come Doctors Wallace and Hoebel with a study of the
Comanche and his way of life set in a background of history, skill-
fully combining in their book the sciences of ethnology and
history. They come as eleventh hour workers, barely in time to

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101152/. Accessed August 20, 2014.