Tracy Garrett and Her Real Texas Rangers

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to disappear into the worlds created within the pages of a book. An accomplished musician, I merged my need for creativity, my love for history, and my passion for reading when I began writing historical romance. An active member of Romance Writers of America and Dallas Area Romance Authors, I live in Missouri with my husband of twenty-six years. My second western historical, Touched by Love, released on November 4, 2008.


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Ever since the masked man in the white hat rode across the silver screen upholding the law and saving the damsels in distress, I’ve been a fan of the Texas Rangers. From a few carefully chosen men protecting the Texas frontier to the elite of modern law enforcement, the history of the Texas Rangers is as colorful as the land and people they protect.

Hollywood has been enamored with this badge-wearing hero since 1910, when the first movie featuring a Ranger ws released. But who are the real Texas Rangers?

In 1823 the Empresario of Mexico, Stephen F. Austin, created two companies of men to act as “rangers for the common defense.” These men had to be srong leaders and fighters, and needed some specialized skills:

  • marksmanship with rifle and pistol;
  • horsemanship;
  • mastery of the outdoor life; and
  • knowledge of the foe.

They also had to have their own horse and weapons, since the government provided only powder, lead and a few provisions. After that, they had to fend for themselves.

The Texas Rangers have been formed and disbanded many times in their history. In 1835, the provisional Texas government authorized recruiting 25 Rangers. That number grew to 3 companies of 56 men each, who all mustered out in 1846 and joined the Army as scouts and guerilla fighters, and became sensations in the eastern newspapers. That’s where the legend of the Texas Rangers began.

1874 brought the creation of six companies of 75 “young men, in good physical condition, without families, who owned good horses.” The state was to furnish arms and ammunition at cost, the amount to be deducted from the first pay of each soldier. Because the state only provided .45 caliber ammunition, the Rangers began using what is arguably the best-known weapon of the West:

The New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol, aka



  • 1877 Salt War in El Paso
  • 1877 Outlaw John Wesley Hardin shot in Pensacola, Florida
  • 1878 Notorious outlaw Sam Bass captured near Round Rock, Texas
  • 1880 Company “C” sent to the Panhandle to explore, making expanded settlement possible
  • 1883 Free Range War – sent to stop fence cutting and enforce peace
  • 1900 Galveston Hurricane – maintain the peace and uphold the law
  • 1901 Law enforcement around the oil boom
  • 1915 Pancho Villa and the border raids
  • 1920s Enforced Prohibition laws

In 1939, Captain Frank Hamer and 49 retired Texas Rangers offered their services to the King of Engand to defend their shores against Nazi invasion. That sent rumors flying through Hitler’s Reich that the Texas Rangers planned to infiltrate Nazi Germany. The rumors were based on tales of U.S. Army Ranger commandos, but by then the Texas Rangers were so famous that the Gestapo and Ministry of Propaganda assumed they would be facing the Texas Rangers.

By the way, Texas Rangers Frank Hamer and Manny Gilbert were the law enforcement officers responsible for stopping Bonnie and Clyde.

The Texas Rangers didn’t become a permanent force until 1987. Today, the Rangers are made up of 116 officers, organized in Six Companies – the same six companies that were first put together in 1874.

Today’s Texas Rangers are considered to be one of the most effective investigative law enforcement agencies in the world.

And Hollywood still loves them. To date, Texas Rangers have appeared as characters in 215 films.

If you’ve never visited the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco, Texas, put it on your must-see list. It’s a fascinating glimpse of the men and women who make up this amazing law enforcement agency.

Do you have a favorite TV show or movie that features Texas Rangers? I’m giving away a copy of my new book, Touched by Love, to one lucky person who posts a comment.

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70 thoughts on “Tracy Garrett and Her Real Texas Rangers”

  1. Welcome Tracy,I think John Wayne played a Texas Ranger in a movie,but I cant remember which one,But I too like Walker Texas Ranger,always has a nice ending

  2. Good morning! Aren’t you all early risers on a Saturday morning!

    You’ve named some great shows and movies. I still enjoy watching Walker Tx Ranger episodes. Vickie, JW has been a US Marshall in several films–I’ll have to dig around and figure out which of his characters was a Tx Ranger. Anyone know?

    Tracy G.

  3. Walker was a great Texas Ranger, I think

    my two all time fave Texas Rangers were Captain Gus and Captain Woodraw from the Lonesome Dove saga!

  4. Love Tommy Lee Jones, he is pretty much good in anything.

    I loved Touch of Texas, can’t wait to get your new book.

    John Wayne was a texas ranger in The Comancheros, was also a temp Ranger in The Searchers. Glen Campbell was a Texas Ranger in True Grit.

  5. Hi Tracy,

    Welcome back to our little town! Wildflower Juction is buzzing this morning with all the visitors. And just to be here with you. I’m impressed.

    I’ve been to the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco. What a neat place. But there are so many exhibitions and things that it’s best to set aside a day to tour it. A few hours won’t let you see everything. And that old cemetery adjacent to it is also a must-see. But then I always like poking around in old cemeteries. Stories just jump out at me.

    Absolutely love the cover of your new book! Wow! He’s a hunk. That makes me want to read the book even more. I’ve got to get to the bookstore.

    Hope you have a nice time today and come back to visit often.

  6. Linda,

    Thank you for the wonderful welcome. I’m glad to be back among all my friends here in Wildflower Junction.

    The Texas Ranger Museum is an amazing place. We spent most of a day there–and I can’t wait to go back!

    Sherry, thanks for pegging the JW movie, The Comancheros. And I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed Touch of Texas.

    Lisa, I don’t know Man of the House. I’ll have to pop over to IMDB and check it out.

    Melissa & Dev, I have to admit I haven’t seen Lonesome Dove (ducking head in shame). But it’s next up on my Netflix list.

    Tracy G.

  7. I’ve never been the Texas Rangers Museum. I know my hubby would love it anything cowboy or pirate he’s a fan of. Please include me in your book drawing. I’d love to win it.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  8. Does anyone remember the movie The Legend of the Lone Ranger? It was a little hokey, but mmmm, the hero was a babe. His name was Klinton Spilsbury and I believe that was his only movie. I can still hear the theme music in my head.

    Thanks for the great info on the Texas Rangers!

  9. Hi Tracy,

    First I truly enjoyed your first book, Touch of Texas. I just received Touched by Love in my B/N shipment (it’s like Christmas in the Fall for me right now) so please don’t enter me in the drawing.
    I also LOVE your cowboy wisdom widget. I had my 13 year old son read it-very important words for a teenage boy to live by (for all of us but he REALLY needed to read it).
    Finally, thanks for the info on the Texas Rangers. I also had him read it because he is interested in law enforcement and your post is extremely educational. I enjoyed it too.
    Have a great weekend.

  10. I don’t think I have seen a movie or TV show that featured Texas Rangers, but I have read a lot of historical romances that had a Ranger as the leading man. Texas Rangers make great heroes!

  11. I have to agree with Lonsome Dove but you mentioned some other good ones. I enjoyed all your facts on the Texas Rangers. That was interesting about Germany and can you imagine if they had to pay for their own guns andbullets today (and of course there’s the horse lol)!

  12. Lonesome Dove has always been a fav of mine! My grandmother was a huge fan of Walker, Texas Ranger… 😀
    Congrats on your new soon to be released book! 😀

  13. Hi Tracy and welcome to Petticoats. I have to say they do a great job on your covers! You get real sexy, gritty looking men. I loved the Lone Ranger. I guess he was my favorite western hero besides Roy Rogers!

  14. Hard to say who my favorite Texas Ranger in a book would be since I am drawn to read Texas Ranger plots. Carol Finch and Jodi Thomas can create a great Texas Ranger.

  15. Hi Tracy. I loved Touch of Texas.I am looking forward to reading Touched By Love. I enjoyed Walker, Texas Ranger when it was on every week.

  16. Hello Estella & Crystal! Glad you dropped by.

    The Texas Rangers have always been heroic to me, even as a child. The mystique, the legend–call it what you will.

    Tracy G.

  17. Hey Charlene, congratulations on your 4 1/2 stars Top Pick for Do Not Disturb Until Christmas! And I just took a look at your August release, Five Star Cowboy. Hot dog, talk about a nice cover…

    Tracy G.

  18. Hi, Tracy! I guess I haven’t watched too many movies or shows featuring Texas Rangers–I do enjoy reading about them though! They do have a special appeal–as you said, there’s a mystique and aura that seems especially incredible.

  19. Hi Fedora! Great to ‘see’ you again.

    I wish there were more westerns on TV – less blood, guts and violence. I just like the guys in the white hats. 🙂

    Tracy G.

  20. I am telling my age but I seem to recall an early tv program called Tales of The Texas Rangers” and Larry Murtry writes some good books about the Rangers. I believe Lonesome Dove was about two retired Rangers.

  21. Hi Tracy! Great info on the Texas Rangers! Two of my favorites have already been mentioned—-Walker, Texas Ranger and Lonesome Dove.

  22. Hi Tracy! I remember watching Walker, Texas Ranger on TV. I wish there were more westerns on TV, too. Thank you for all the information on Texas Rangers. I enjoyed reading your post.

  23. Joye, Tales of the Texas Rangers was on both radio and tv. The Rangers moved from time period to time period, over their 120 year history, fighting crime. Sounds like fun to me!

    Melissa D., I moved Lonesome Dove to the top of the queue. I’m looking forward to seeing it.

    Hi Margie! Thanks for dropping by.

    Pan, I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

    Tracy G.

  24. I’m going to try this a third time (apologies if it comes through more than once.)

    If you want to listen to the old radio program Tales of the Texas Rangers, starring Joel McRay:
    www. radiolovers. com/pages/ texasrangers. htm (remove the spaces)

    Tracy G.

  25. Recently,”No Country for Old Men” featured Texas Rangers.
    Also, I remember Robert Redford’s movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales”.
    Tommy Lee Jones is a favorite in any movie. Loved him in The Fugitive.

  26. I love romance books with Texas Rangers. Diana Palmer, Jodi Thomas & Joan Johnston immediately come to my mind.

  27. Tracy,

    I notice you’re the spotlight author for Excellent interview. I see we share the same favorite authors.

    One of my favorite books that features a Texas Ranger hero is your “Touch of Texas.” That was a very emotional, very satisfying book. Another author that comes to mind is Jodi Thomas. The first book in her Whispering Mountain series is about a Texas Ranger, Travis McMurray. It was called “Texas Rain.” A neat story.

  28. Do you know that the mark of a real intellectual is someone who can hear The William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger. 🙂

  29. hwwfehnxxgnsflnvwell, hi admin adn people nice forum indeed. how’s life? hope it’s introduce branch 😉

  30. Tales of the Texas Rangers with Joel McCrae should have been made into a tv show. These radio shows[now on cd’s] were very good.

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