The Best of the Texas Rangers in Photos There are many, many iconic images of the Texas Rangers, but here are my 12 favorites and why.

texas rangers true west magazine
I love this image of James B. “Jim” Hawkins, a charter member of Company D of the Texas Rangers, because he definitely looks like he’s loaded for bear.
— Courtesy Chuck Parsons —

There are many, many iconic images of the Texas Rangers, but here are my 12 favorites and why.  By: Bob Alexander

texas rangers true west magazine
This photo of Company D Texas Rangers is one of a series of five photographs that play out a story for a photographer. The camp scene shot stands out because it has several of the most prominent Texas Rangers: Sergeant Ira Aten (standing with cup) issues the marching orders; (seated, from left) Jim King, Frank L. Schmid, Ernest Rogers, Cal Aten, Walter Jones, Charley Fusselman, J. Walter Durbin, Jim Robinson, John R. Hughes and Bass (Baz) Outlaw.
— Courtesy Jeri and Gary Boyce Radder —
texas rangers true west magazine
Although he looks more like a schoolteacher in this portrait photo, Dave Allison was the “real McCoy.” Friends and enemies alike described him as a career lawman who knew no fear.
— Author’s photo —
texas rangers true west magazine
This photo shows the transition to more advancing technology; these Winchester warriors wear cartridge belts stuffed with modern-era smokeless powder rifle cartridges. (Standing, from left) Herff Alexander Carnes, Sam McKenzie and Arthur Beech. (Seated, from left) Tom Ross, Albert Mace and John R. Hughes.
— Courtesy Texas Ranger Research Center, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum —
texas rangers true west magazine
Texas Ranger Cpl. J. Walter Durbin (at right) said he had some 15 good men in Company D, though a few could be a “little fussy and dangerous” when drinking. Private Wood Saunders (at left) measured up splendidly—on both counts. This is one of my favorite photos because it shows how both Rangers carried their six-shooter Colts just forward of the hip, butt to the front, easily permitting a strong-hand cross draw.
— Courtesy Nita Stewart Haley Memorial Library & J. Evetts Haley History Center —

 

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This Frontier Battalion photo has been widely circulated; you’ll see it on postcards, t-shirts, even walls of restaurants. I like this classic photo because it was taken either before or after the famous 1892 shoot-out in Shafter, Texas, where the Texas Rangers had been sent to protect a silver mine. (Standing, from left) Robert “Bob” Speaks and Jim Putman. (Seated, from left) Alonzo Van “Lon” Oden and John R. Hughes. Ira Aten had recommended Hughes to the Texas Rangers after Hughes ably assisted him in the 1886 pursuit of murderer Wes Colliers.
— Courtesy Robert G. McCubbin Collection —
texas rangers true west magazine
Frank Hamer in action, on the U.S.-Mexico border, about 1921.
— Courtesy Taronda Schulz Collection —
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Frank Hamer joined the Rangers in April 1906, patrolling the border under Captain J.H. Rogers’ Company C, the same company his would-be assassin Gee McMeans served under the year earlier.
— Courtesy Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, Texas —
texas rangers true west magazine
This photo of Samuel H. “Sam” Newberry is great because it shows the Texas Ranger making the transition to professionalism, through dress. But even though he looks quite natty in this photo, folks could tell he was a dangerous man. Typically, as most lawmen would, Newberry made sure the shutterbug had the Ranger’s six-shooter Colt and fancy Mexican Loop holster and cartridge belt in the frame.
— Courtesy Texas Ranger Research Center, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum —
texas rangers true west magazine
Frank Hamer (back row, far left) is shown with his Texas Ranger Company C in Alpine, Texas, in 1907, the year after he enrolled with the Rangers. Next to Hamer are Monroe Upton, Marvin Bailey and Duke Hudson. Seated in the front row, from far left, are Goff White, Wallace Howell, Capt. John H. Rogers and John Dibrell.
— Courtesy John Boessenecker collection —
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Statistically, the odds were stacked against this unsuspecting cluster of lawmen. At least five of these Company D Texas Rangers would die violently at the hands of others and, for that reason, this photo is among my top 10. (Standing, from left) Jim King, Bass Outlaw, Riley Boston, Charley Fusselman, Tink Durbin, Ernest Rogers, Charles Barton and Walter Jones. (Seated, from left) Bob Bell, Cal Aten, Captain Frank Jones, James Walter Durbin, Jim Robinson and Frank L. Schmid.
— Courtesy Texas Ranger Research Center, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum —
texas rangers true west magazine
Company “D” Frontier Battalion Ranger Frank L. Schmid is shown in an 1888 cabinet card taken a year before he suffered a fatal gunshot wound that finally killed him in 1893.
— Both photos courtesy Heritage Auctions —
texas rangers true west magazine
Joseph Walter Durbin served with Schmid in Capt. Frank Jones’s Company “D.”
— Courtesy Heritage Auctions —

Best Texas Ranger books by Bob Alexander

Among the many Texas Ranger books by the prolific author, Bob Alexander, here are two of his best: “Texas Rangers: Lives, Legend & Legacy”, co-authored with Donaly Brice; and “Old Riot, New Ranger: Captain Jack Dean Texas Ranger and U.S. Marshal”, both published by the University of North Texas.

What do you think?