Texas writer-historian Mike Cox explores the origin and rise of the famed Texas Rangers. Starting in 1821 with just a handful of men, the Rangers' first purpose was to keep settlers safe from the feared and gruesome Karankawa Indians, a cannibalistic tribe that wandered the Texas territory. As the influx of settlers grew, the attacks increased, and it became clear that a larger, better trained force was necessary.
Taking readers through the major social and political movements of the Texas territory and into its statehood, Cox shows how the Rangers were a defining force in the stabilization and the creation of Texas. From Stephen Austin in the early days through the Civil War, the first eighty years of the Texas Rangers were nothing less than phenomenal, and the efforts put forth in those days set the foundation for the Texas Rangers who keep Texas safe today.
"Cox must be commended for his thoroughness. Many of the Rangers tales here probably appear nowhere else, though, and Cox goes a long way toward bringing the image of the Stetson-hatted, cowboy-booted, six-gun armed, slim-hipped, steel-eyed, iron-jawed, one-riot-one-Ranger lawman into clear view. Any historian or Texana fan will find much to admire in this dense but all-inclusive volume."
--The Dallas Morning News
"Cox, who spent 15 years as spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety and who knows a lot of recent Ranger history because he was part of it, makes the less wild-and-wooly part of the tale as fascinating as the shoot-’em-up part. Whichever part interests you most, you will also read about the other by zipping through the pages as quickly as you can turn them. The story of the Texas Rangers has been told by several other historians lately, but none of them have Cox’s sure hand at blending solid history with entertaining and accessible narrative. This book and its predecessor are must-reads on many levels, and must-owns for the aficionado of Texas history or Old West law enforcement."