The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998

Book Reviews

And a handy reference tool it is. Virtually an encyclopedia on old-time ranch-
ing ways, The Cowboy preserves first-hand descriptions of range manners, speech,
mores, dress, tools, and daily life. It serves as a "How to do it" guide for trail dri-
ving, branding, horse breaking, staging a roundup, and even trailing a fugitive.
The book also provides information on appropriate use of saddles, horses,
weapons, and rope. Also of interest is the author's essay on the habits of live-
stock on the range.
Rollins gives the cowboy and the ranchman major credit for giving the West
its spirit and unique flavor. "These men rode out into a vacant empire; met the
traditions and the customs of the hunters, trappers, and traders, the primal pio-
neers; [and] with unanimity adopted all of the traditions and the usable part of
the customs .. ." (p. 375). In such fashion, the author is guilty of romanticizing
his subject, even though his stated task was to cut through the popular roman-
tic images of the West. Moreover, his Turnerian interpretation oversimplifies
and probably magnifies the rancher's role in the creation of the West.
Yet, as Richard Slatta notes in his fine introduction to the new edition, the
book is a "valuable, entertaining, and pioneering study" (xiii) and remains an
authoritative source. One only wishes that Rollins would have left us more detail,
more specific descriptions, and footnotes.
Southwest Museum Services DAVID J. MURRAH
Texas Ranger Tales: Stories That Need Tellzng. By Mike Cox. Foreword by Leon C.
Metz. (Plano: Republic of Texas Press, 1997. Pp. xiii+322. Foreword, intro-
duction, appendix, index. ISBN 1-55622-537-7. $14.95, paper.)
Listen to the deathbed speech of Frank Hamer, the tough old Texas Ranger
who rid the roads of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow:
"Boys, I've killed 52 men and one woman. I killed them all right and I go to
sleep every night knowing I did right."
Or chew on this rare tidbit:
When Texas Rangers trailing Indian raiders west of Coleman County ran out
of chuck, they shot a coyote and barbecued him.
One Ranger was so hungry he ate half a hindquarter.
Mike Cox can sit up all night narrating revelations of this sort. He knows many
of us will never get enough Ranger adventures. And that explains the need for
his new book.
A third generation print journalist, Cox was named media chief a few years
ago by the Department of Public Safety, the Texas agency whose organizational
chart boasts the Rangers. As a writer on Rangers he is well placed.
Moreover, for a longtime police reporter Cox has an odd literary bump. An O.
Henry scholar, he devotes a chapter to the plotmeister's debt to Texas lawmen
and outlaws.
An Austin American-Statesman columnist, Cox noticed a few years ago that
Walter Prescott Webb's monumental 1931 book, The Texas Rangers: A Century of
Frontier Defense is "showing definite signs of age."

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/. Accessed June 30, 2015.