The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990 Page: 265
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Book Reviews 265
One is left with the impression that the Comanches, long renowned
for their bravery and sense of independence, had been suddenly trans-
formed into the mesmerized pawns of the Svengali-like Mexicans.
Brice's evidence of Mexican machination is weak, and the Comanches'
need for Mexican guidance (geographic or otherwise) is largely un-
Brice next discusses the Battle of Plum Creek, an engagement char-
acterized as a Texan victory based on Burleson's "body count" of dead
Indians and the Comanche retreat westward. In his unquestioning ac-
ceptance of traditional views, Brice misjudges the nature of Indian cul-
ture in general and Indian warfare in particular. Indian war parties
normally avoided pitched battles and high casualties. Burdened with
their women and children, the Comanches sought only to escape. By
their own standards, Plum Creek was a victory for both sides. The Tex-
ans won by body count, but the Comanches won by getting away. Famil-
iarity with Comanche tactics makes such a conclusion inescapable.
The author writes clearly, but his use of insensitive and racially dis-
paraging terms, notably "squaw" (pp. 25, 48, 52, 54), mars his nar-
rative. Careful editing should have eliminated these problems.
Mankato State University THOMAS F. SCHILZ
The Arzzona Rangers. By Bill O'Neal. (Austin: Eakin Press, 1987.
Pp. x+222. Acknowledgments, preface, photographs, maps, illus-
trations, appendices, endnotes, bibliography, index. $16.95.)
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, devotees of the Texas
Rangers can take pride in the record of the Arizona Rangers. During
its brief existence, from 1901 to 19o09, this small trouble-shooting force
based on the Texas pattern, its personnel over 40 percent Texan,
caused lawlessness to retreat from one of America's last frontiers. For
too long the Arizona Rangers were without book-length recognition,
an oversight East Texas historian Bill O'Neal has addressed.
O'Neal, a well-published student of western outlawry, tells a lively,
straightforward story, a potent antidote to second-rate cinemagraphic
and television portrayals of the 1940s and 1950s. There are Old South-
west shootouts, wilderness pursuits, pistol-whippings, and cattle rust-
ling, alongside twentieth-century problems, like miners' strikes, cross-
border gunrunning, and tensions preceding the Mexican Revolution.
Each of the nine chronological chapters deals with a year of Ranger
existence and is anchored to the leadership of the three captains: the
flamboyant, rustler-hating Burt Mossman (1901-1902); Tom Rynning
(1902-1907), a talented administrator; and Harry Wheeler (1907-
19gog), who preferred the field over office detail and developed a dislike
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990, periodical, 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/m1/305/?rotate=90: accessed January 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.