The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

feared McNelly and wanted him removed from the border. Dur-
ham hoped to erase the misconceptions of McNelly's company
which developed after 1875. He declared, as did Walter Prescott
Webb in his study of the Texas Rangers, that imagination was
the source of some writings concerning McNelly's force.
Perhaps the Ranger-author best described his beloved hero's
philosophy of law enforcement and report writing, when Durham
The fact is that Captain didn't like to write, and that's the main
reason, I reckon, why so little is known of him outside this Nueces
country. He'd said in so many words that all he wanted was dead
bandits. He didn't want prisoners. He didn't want reports. Captain
said he was sent in by the governor not to write reports, but to bring
law to a lawless country, to prove Texas was bigger than any gang or
gangs of bandits. Other Texas Ranger outfits had failed to halt ban-
ditry. So had the military. They all made lots of reports, but Captain
said reports weren't what bandits needed. He held that a well-placed
bullet from a Sharps did more for law enforcement than a hundred
The details of Texas Ranger battles at Palo Alto prairie near
Brownsville in June, 1875, and at Las Cuevas, Mexico, in No-
vember, 1875, are of particular value to Texas history scholars
because only a few accounts of those skirmishes exist. Durham's
recollections of the Las Cuevas incident yield additional informa-
tion about the role of the United States Army as support for the
Texas Rangers' invasion of Mexico in 1875.
This book is written in a clear, easy to read-almost folksy-
style with details drawn so sharply that the reader seems to smell
the acrid gunsmoke and to hear the creak of saddle leather. Use-
fulness of the work for Texas historians is marred by the absence
of an index. Taming the Nueces Strip will be of interest to the
general reader and to collectors of Texana for its stirring account
of subduing lawlessness by the "Little McNelly's."
The Agricultural and Mechanical
College of Texas


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed June 30, 2015.