A brief history of the Texas Rangers

By: Mike Cox
with updates by the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum Staff

"They were men who could not be stampeded."

That's the way the late Col. Homer Garrison, Jr., long-time director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, once described the men who have worn the silver or gold star of the Texas Rangers, the oldest state law enforcement agency in North America.

The Rangers have a heritage that began with the earliest settlements in Texas. They have been compared to other world-famous law enforcement agencies, the FBI, Scotland Yard, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Scores of books, from well-researched works of nonfiction to Wild West pulp novels to best-selling works of fiction, have been written about the Rangers. And numerous movies, radio shows and television shows have been inspired by the Rangers over the years.

A brief history of the Texas Rangers

The Rangers are part of the history of the Old West, and part of its mythology. Over the years, a distinct Ranger tradition has evolved. As former Ranger Capt. Bob Crowder once put it:

"A Ranger is an officer who is able to handle any given situation without definite instructions from his commanding officer, or higher authority. This ability must be proven before a man becomes a Ranger."

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