The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981 Page: 378

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

An important contribution of this book is the behind-the-scenes de-
piction of the primitive, no-nonsense techniques employed by police
officers of fifty years ago. The gritty image of Dallas during the 1930s is
another valuable portrait. Overall, Ambush offers a detailed, personal
account of two colorful Depression desperadoes. It is an indispensable
volume for those who want to study the real story of Bonnie and Clyde.
Panola Junior College BILL O'NEAL
Fort Gibson: Terminal on the Trail of Tears. By Brad Agnew. (Nor-
man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980. Pp. ix+274). Illustra-
tions, maps, bibliography, index. $14.95.)
However much contemporary wisdom may have relegated the Trans-
Mississippi army fort and its troop complement to the role of oppressor,
serious research such as Brad Agnew's offers weighty counterbalance.
The professional soldier on the frontier, if the story of Fort Gibson
during the "Removal" may serve as example, "constituted a cultural
buffer holding land-hungry settlers at bay long enough to allow the
Indian an opportunity to adjust gradually to the technology and cul-
ture of white society" (p. 208).
Fort Gibson: Terminal on the Trail of Tears is the straight-forward
chronicle of an important military post from its establishment in 1824
until the departure of its founder, Matthew Arbuckle, in 1841. Be-
tween those dates Colonel (eventually General) Arbuckle supervised
the resettlement of the eastern Indians among openly hostile Plains
tribes. One of the best of the army's soldier-administrators, he pacified
groups of Indians, and forestalled white encroachment. His fellow citi-
zens often presented him with his most perplexing problems, as when
Sam Houston-on sabbatical from politics and, perhaps, gathering in-
telligence on Mexican Texas for Andy Jackson-set up shop at the fort
and, as a trader, exploited the Indians. "Houston was no different from
many of the other whites," Agnew concludes, "who came into contact
with the Indians and attempted to exploit them economically" (p. 88).
Professor Agnew challenges the popular perception of Indians and
soldiers as antagonists. The military at Fort Gibson, he shows, was an
effective "cultural buffer" which cushioned the Indian against the jolt
of white expansion. Fort Gibson is a careful and welcome addition to
the history of the Southwest.


Wichita State University


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981, periodical, 1980/1981; Austin, Texas. ( accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.