Legends of the Old West | Season 5 — Texas Rangers
The people of Texas knew the name “Texas Rangers” long before the rest of the country. But by the late 1840s, the country, and the world, had caught up. Under the leadership of men like John Coffee Hays, Samuel Walker, and many others, the Rangers became a feared fighting force and gained international fame.
S5 | E5: TEXAS RANGERS — “Naduah”
Texas Ranger Sul Ross makes a fateful discovery during an expedition against the Comanches. He finds a woman who had been captured more than 20 years earlier. But the revelation has tragic consequences. He takes the woman back to white society, but the culture shock overwhelms her. It proves to be one of the most controversial and hotly debated topics in Texas history.
This is the full story of the capture, and re-capture, of Cynthia Ann Parker, whose journey inspired the acclaimed film “The Searchers” with John Wayne.
The end of the episode features an interview with Justice Ken Wise, the host and creator of “Wise About Texas,” a podcast dedicated to Texas history. Chris and Ken separate fact from fiction in a discussion about this key moment in Texas’ past.
S5 | E4: TEXAS RANGERS — “Comanche Moon”
The end of the Mexican American War brings great change to the Texas Rangers. Heroes have been buried; the old captains move on; and new leaders emerge.
The U.S. army builds two lines of forts in Texas and finally creates a star-studded regiment of cavalry to battle the Comanches on the frontier. John “RIP” Ford becomes the preeminent Ranger captain of the age as he fights Comanches in the north and Juan Cortina in the south.
S5 | E3: TEXAS RANGERS — “War, and the Walker Colt”
President Polk is furious with General Taylor’s ceasefire agreement with Mexico and he orders General Winfield Scott to continue the war. Captain Jack Hays, Samuel Walker and John “RIP” Ford return to Mexico for the final push toward the capital, but the Rangers suffer a devastating loss in the fighting.
A brief meeting between Samuel Walker and Samuel Colt leads to the creation of the Colt Walker revolver and revolutionizes the firearms industry.
S5 | E2: TEXAS RANGERS — “Fight Like The Devil”
Captain Jack Hays, Samuel Walker and a company of rangers fight a small battle with Comanches that has a big impact on history of the American West.
The United States goes to war with Mexico finally and General Zachary Taylor enlists the help of the Rangers. The U.S. army marches into Mexico and the Rangers lead the charge from the Battle of Palo Alto to the Battle of Monterrey.
S5 | E1: TEXAS RANGERS — “A Captain Rises”
After the Texas revolution and the Great Comanche Raid, a Tennessean named John Coffee Hays rises to prominence as the commander of the Texas Rangers. Hays, along with captains Ben McCulloch, Samuel Walker and “Bigfoot” Wallace fights bandits in the Nueces Strip and Comanches on the frontier.
The rangers are on the front lines as Mexico sends hundreds of troops into Texas. Texas responds by sending the rangers to Mexico on the disastrous Mier Expedition.
Season Five: TEXAS RANGERS
They wore no uniforms. They implored no dress codes. But the men of the “spy companies” or “mounted volunteers” were easily recognized by their gruff appearance, superior horses and array of weapons.
In the years between the Texas revolution and the American Civil War, these men became officially known as the Texas Rangers. Legendary commanders led the Rangers through battles with Comanches, bandits and the Mexican army.
This season covers the stories of John Coffee Hays, Ben McCulloch, Samuel Walker, Bigfoot Wallace, John “RIP” Ford, and Lawrence “Sul” Ross from 1840 to 1860.
Legends of the Old West | TEXAS RANGERS — Sources and Music
“The Texas Rangers: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900,” by Mike Cox. Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 2008
“The Ranger Ideal: Texas Rangers in the Hall of Fame, Volume 1,” by Darren L. Ivey. University of North Texas Press, 2017
“Texas Rangers: Lives, Legend, and Legacy,” by Bob Alexander and Donaly E. Brice. University of North Texas Press, 2017
“The Texas Rangers: A Century of Frontier Defense,” by Walter Prescott Webb. University of Texas Press, 1935
“Comanches: A History of the People,” by T.R. Fehrenbach. Random House, 1974
“Charles Goodnight: Cowman and Plainsman,” by J. Evetts Haley. University of Oklahoma Press, 1936
History of the Colt Paterson revolver: Armourersbench.com
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame: TexasRanger.org
The Battle of Palo Alto: Pbs.org
The Battle of Palo Alto: Texas State Historical Association tshaonline.org
The Santa Fe Expedition: NewMexicoHistory.org
Reservation War: Texas State Historical Association tshaonline.org
Abraham Lincoln’s Spot Resolutions: National Archives archives.org
Pease River Fight — “Myth, Memory and Massacre: The Pease River Capture of Cynthia Ann Parker”
Pease River Fight — “EARLY TIMES IN TEXAS AND HISTORY OF PARKER FAMILY (Ben Parker)” Originally published in The Tracings, Volume 3, No. 1, Winter 1984, by the Anderson County Genealogical Society, copyright assigned to the East Texas Genealogical Society.
Edited and mixed by Michael Martin at Sneaky Big Studios in Phoenix, Arizona.
The theme song, “Yellow Rose of Texas,” was arranged and recorded by The Mighty Orq in Houston, Texas.
Music by Robb Vallier in Phoenix, Arizona.
“A Texas Ranger” sketch and “General Scott’s Grand Entrance Into The Mexican Capital” sketch provided by Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.