ment. John S. Ford said that the Texas Ranger could "ride like a Mexican,
trail like an Indian, shoot like a Tennessean, and fight like a devil." In
time several other states patterned frontier peace-keeping outfits on that
Walter Prescott Webb's monumental history, The Texas Rangers (1935),
has been followed by more specialized books, such as the biographies of
Ranger leaders. Now a concise book by John L. Davis puts between con-
venient covers the pictures and texts of a traveling exhibit on the Rangers
that has been shown throughout the state since 1973 and that has proved
to be a major attraction.
The pictures, which include both photographs and drawings, illustrate
well the work of the Rangers in various decades as they went out after
Indian marauders, Mexican cattle thieves, and Anglo feudists. In many
pictures the faces show the independence and determination for which the
Rangers were famous. The pictures, gathered from many sources, make an
outstanding gallery, even though that of Sam Bass, a brigand sought by
the Rangers, is of extremely dubious authenticity.
The text traces the tasks of the Rangers from protecting the early colon-
ists against Indian raids through patrolling the Rio Grande border, ex-
terminating rustler bands, and capturing outlaws. The author does not
hesitate to mention the deterioration of the Ranger force in the Ferguson
era and criticism in recent decades of the use of Rangers in labor disputes.
The book suffers some handicaps from the purpose for which it was put
together. Made up of short segments written to accompany pictures in an
exhibit, it tends to be scrappy, lacking in enough detail, and in places a
bit repetitious. Yet it gives a panoramic view of Ranger history; and, even
though no bibliography is included, it should induce many readers to
further pursue the subject.
Dallas, Texas WAYNE GARD
Robert Potter: Founder of the Texas Navy. By Ernest G. Fischer, (Gretna,
La: Pelican Publishing Company, 1976. Pp. xiv+258. Bibliography,
notes, index. $12.95.)
It would be a difficult if not an impossible task to write a dull biography
about Robert Potter. As a young man he served as a midshipman in the
United States navy, left the service after a quarrel with his commanding
officer, and returned to North Carolina to launch a political career. Suc-
cessful and ambitious, Potter aspired to the governor's chair when domestic
tragedy intervened. Convinced that his wife had been unfaithful with the
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101204/. Accessed August 29, 2015.