The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936 Page: 334
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ganization has served as a mobile force available for service at
any place where aggravated crime or vice has made its presence
necessary. In the eighties fence cutters received the special at-
tion of the Rangers; during that and later decades horse and
cow thieves learned to fear them more and more; from 1910 to
1920 disturbances along the Mexican border received their atten-
tion; and during more recent years they directed their efforts
against bank robbers and professional killers.
As a history of frontier defense a book on the Rangers neces-
sarily has its limitations. It does not include the work of the
United States troops who, in spite of their blunders, rendered
substantial service in this connection. It seems the author be-
lieved the story of the Rangers constituted within itself a subject
broad enough for one book and he has, therefore, given little
attention to the Federal forces. Indeed his chief problem must
have been that of elimination. From hundreds of episodes he
has selected those which seemed most significant. From thou-
sands of documents he has culled incidents, facts and comments
that illustrate the work and reveal the spirit of this superb organ-
ization. Of detail there is sufficient but it has been selected so
wisely and presented so skilfully the reader is never tired. There
are passages, such, for instance, as the account of the Rangers in
the Mexican War, that might well serve as models of narrative
and description,-history writing that is both a science and an art.
Although the work is based principally on official sources, it is
seasoned with delightful excerpts from memoirs, saga, and tra-
dition. The illustrative quotations that precede each chapter
both reveal the spirit of the organization and constitute a rich
collection of frontier writings and vernacular.
The most impressive quality of the book is its rich store of
biographical information, glimpses of the leaders of this organ-
ization as it parades through the century. These men do not
conform to any pattern; each is made after his own mold. Cour-
age and resourcefulness are about the only common character-
istics. There is boyish Jack Hays, "a shade of melancholy in
his features," who never wore a uniform; droll Big Foot Wallace,
of giant stature and childlike heart; Ben McCulloch, calm and
without fear; Samuel H. Walker, short, slender, spare, and
slouchy, with mild blue eyes and classic face; L. H. McNelly,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936, periodical, 1936; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101095/m1/360/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.