Noelle Marchand: The Iconic Texas Rangers


There are few archetypes in Western literature more appealing than the Texas Ranger. Men who wear the encircled star badge in romantic fiction are inevitably smart, courageous, physically fit and tough-as-nails. Taking into consideration that slow Texas drawl, wide brimmed cowboy hat and inherent southern charm…Well, it’s no wonder they’ve captured our imaginations from the very beginning which is saying something because the Texas Rangers got their start before there even was such a thing as Texas.


As settlers came pouring into the wide-skied and varied landscape that belonged to Mexico, it was

determined that a group of men was needed to enforce laws as well as keep the peace between settlers and the Indians native to the area. By 1835, Stephen F. Austin had organized a law enforcement force which he christened the “Rangers” and which the Mexicans soon called “los Diablos Tejanos”. Translation? The Texas Devils.


Then came the Texas revolution and after the revolution—statehood. While state industries boomed and immigrant flocked to the open range, the Texas Rangers became even more of a force to be reckoned with by succeeding where the federal army struggled in subduing a Comanche uprising. The Texas Rangers were disbanded during the Civil War but were soon needed again to maintain the safety of Texas citizens from outlaws and raiding Indians.


Where do these historical facts and literary romanticism meet? The reality of life as a Texas Ranger in 19th Century was not always a glamorous one as my hero finds out in A Texas-Made Match…..


Here’s an excerpt:


It had been a long, hard year filled with dangerous work and too many secrets. As a Texas Ranger, he’d rounded up more than his fair share of outlaws, and he tried to find some satisfaction in that. But this near vagabond existence was too much like the life he’d left behind when he’d stumbled into Peppin, Texas, abandoned and alone with nowhere to go until the O’Brien family took him in. A few months later, when he was fourteen, Doc and Lettie Williams adopted him. They’d been the parents he’d always dreamed of. His life in Peppin had been so good that he’d nearly forgotten about the past. Here…he seemed to run across it every day in the smell of liquor, the haunted eyes of the saloon girls, the solitude and the need to be on constant alert.

His commanding officer in the Rangers constantly told him not to lose the chip on his shoulder. “That’s what make you stand out from the other Rangers. That’s what makes you tough. That’s what enables you to get your man. Never lose that chip.”

Lawson wasn’t stupid enough to believe him. God was the one enabling him to catch those criminals. As for the chip on his shoulder—well, he reckoned he’d picked it up sometime between being abandoned and wandering into Peppin. Unfortunately, it didn’t keep the harshness of this life from wearing away at him, day by day.


Lawson returns to Peppin never suspecting he’s heading straight toward a reckoning with his past and

a new chance for a love-filled future. In doing so, he relinquishes the badge but not the honor that came with receiving the commission to serve, protect, and defend the people of Texas. It is a mission that the Texas Rangers carry out to this day. Their ability to do exactly that has ensured them a reputation in Western lore as big as the state they served.