The Texas Rangers in Transition: From Gunfighters to Criminal Investigators, 1921–1935

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University of Oklahoma Press, Apr 25, 2019 - History - 656 pages
Official Texas Ranger Bicentennial™ Publication 

Newly rich in oil money, and all the trouble it could buy, Texas in the years following World War I underwent momentous changes—and those changes propelled the transformation of the state’s storied Rangers. Charles H. Harris III and Louis R. Sadler explore this important but relatively neglected period in the Texas Rangers’ history in this book, a sequel to their award-winning The Texas Rangers and the Mexican Revolution: The Bloodiest Decade, 1910–1920.

In a Texas awash in booze and oil in the Prohibition years, the Rangers found themselves riding herd on gamblers and bootleggers, but also tasked with everything from catching murderers to preventing circus performances on Sunday. The Texas Rangers in Transition takes up the Rangers’ story at a time of political turmoil, as the largely rural state was rapidly becoming urban. At the same time, law enforcement was facing an epidemic of bank robberies, an increase in organized crime, the growth of the Ku Klux Klan, Prohibition enforcement—new challenges that the Rangers met by transitioning from gunfighters to criminal investigators. Steeped in tradition, reluctant to change, the agency was reduced to its nadir in the depths of the Depression, the victim of slashed appropriations, an antagonistic governor, and mediocre personnel.

Harris and Sadler document the further and final change that followed when, in 1935, the Texas Rangers were moved from the governor’s control to the newly created Department of Public Safety. This proved a watershed in the Rangers’ history, marking their transformation into a modern law enforcement agency, the elite investigative force that they remain to this day.
 

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Contents

A Revitalized Force
The Borger Saga
The Sherman Debacle
The Panhandle and North Central and East Texas
Gulf Coast and South Texas
ix
West Texas
xix
Murder Most Foul
xxxvi
GOVERNOR ROSS S STERLING 19311933
xlvi

The Railroad Strike
Alarms and Excursions
Moonshiners Resurgent
Additional Duties
Riot Duty
Boss Rule
Pursuits and Politics
San Antonio
The Klan
GOVERNOR MIRIAM A FERGUSON 19251927
Mas Rangers
Operations
Bonanzas
Hickmans Specialty
Prisons and Pardons
GOVERNOR DAN MOODY 19271931
A Ranger Adjutant General
xlvii
Answering Calls
lx
El Paso Again
lxxii
East Texas
lxxix
GOVERNOR MIRIAM A FERGUSON 19331935
xciv
Rangers and PseudoRangers
xcv
Sleuthing
civ
More Operations
cxii
Crime Wave
cxxvi
GOVERNORJAMES BURR V ALLRED 1935
cxlii
The Department of Public Safety
clv
Epilogue
3
Notes
11
Bibliography
33
Index
33
Copyright

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About the author (2019)

Charles H. Harris III, professor emeritus of history at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces. He has coauthored half a dozen books, including The Texas Rangers and the Mexican Revolution: The Bloodiest Decade, 1910–1920, The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906–1920, and The Plan de San Diego: Tejano Rebellion, Mexican Intrigue.

Louis R. Sadler, professor emeritus of history at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces. He has coauthored half a dozen books, including The Texas Rangers and the Mexican Revolution: The Bloodiest Decade, 1910–1920, The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906–1920, and The Plan de San Diego: Tejano Rebellion, Mexican Intrigue.

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