Rangers, Rangers, Rangers
The hard-riding Rocky Mountain, Texas and Arizona Rangers
These five Texas Rangers at camp near Alice most likely investigated cattle rustling claims from the legendary King Ranch, which, as Emmett Robuck’s story shows, could bring an early visit from the Grim Reaper.
Tom Rynning was appointed second captain of the Arizona Rangers in 1902; the following year, he posed for this photograph. Rynning was in the U.S. Cavalry during the Indian Wars, where he was engaged in 17 battles across the West. He was a lieutenant in the Rough Riders and was appointed to lead the Rangers by Gov. Alexander Brodie, who was his lieutenant colonel in the Rough Riders.
Private Bill Foster wears his Arizona Ranger badge and holds the standard Ranger 1895 Winchester .30-40 lever-action rifle as he stands to the left of Deputy Sheriff Clark Farnsworth in 1903. Two years later, Farnsworth would enlist with the Rangers.
Harry Wheeler was the third and last captain of the Arizona Rangers. Wheeler enlisted as a private in 1903 and worked his way up the ranks to captain in 1907. Wheeler and Jeff Kidder, both experts with a pistol, were the Rangers’ top guns.
In June 1903, the governor of Arizona, at the behest of influential mine owners, ordered the Arizona Rangers to Morenci to quell a mining strike. The Rangers’ role as strikebreakers not only tarnished their image among the territory’s working class citizens, it proved unpopular with the Rangers who felt their mission was to pursue rustlers, killers and other felons. – Courtesy Jeremy Rowe Vintage Photography –
The 1962 Winchester Firearms Catalog ran this photo, erroneously referring to the group as Texas Rangers. Arizona historians politely informed the company of the mistake. The president of Winchester Arms came to Arizona and apologized for the oversight. Forty-six Arizona Rangers hailed from Texas, and a quarter of them were former Texas Rangers.
Arizona Rangers Pvt. Sam Hayhurst, Sgt. Art Hopkins and Capt. Tom Rynning (from left) meet with the legendary Col. Emilio Kosterlitzky (on white horse), the iron-fisted leader of the Mexican Rurales, and two unidentified Rurales. The Rangers and Rurales often assisted each other in the apprehension of border bandits in an informal manner that avoided diplomatic red tape.
Nine Arizona Rangers line up for a photo in 1903. Among those identified are: Capt. Tom Rynning (far right) and Pvt. Jeff Kidder, riding a mule (third from right). – Courtesy Carol Woolfolk –
Sergeant Jeff Kidder bought his pearl-handled Colt Single Action Army .45 in 1905. He practice fired it so many times, he had to send it back to the factory two years later for repairs and replating. He’s shown here, holding his horse’s reins, in 1907 with his pearl-handled Colt strapped on his hip.The two men on the far left are also believed to be Rangers. – Courtesy Arizona Historical Society –
The badges worn by the Rangers were five-point silver stars with “Arizona Rangers” engraved on the front. Officers had their ranks engraved on the front, while privates were assigned numbers. This early 1900s group of Arizona Rangers includes Capt. Thomas H. Rynning, shown third from left. Between 1901 and 1909, when the force disbanded, 107 men served in the Rangers. The average age was 33; the youngest was 22.
On the cusp of the 20th century, in 1892, these four Texas Rangers ride into the history books. —Courtesy Institute of Texan Cultures at University of Texas-San Antonio—
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, J. Walter Durbin, Jim Robinson and Frank L. Schmid.
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—
This classic photo 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.
We 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.
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—
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.
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.
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.
Make no mistake about this “Rawhide Ranger.” Though posed in a photographer’s studio—with weapons prominently displayed as attention-grabbing props—Texas Ranger Ira Aten was a man fearlessly capable of standing alone during a dicey tumult, proving to be one nervy adversary throughout a number of gunfights.
A scouting party, in the Cypress Hills during the North West Rebellion, gives their horses a well deserved rest. They utilized a varied range of weaponry and mostly provided their own sidearms, as holstered in this photo. Rifles issued, however, were uniform with regulation arms of the North West Mounted Police—either single shot Snider Enfield .577 military rifles cut down to carbines, or the newer issue Winchester Model 1876 .45-75 repeating carbine. – Courtesy Esplanade Archives 0404.0012
Officers, scouts and troopers line up in formation for a march near the railroad town of Medicine Hat. Chief scout “Kootenai” Brown and Capt. (Lord) Richard Boyle (wearing a tri-cornered hat) lead the column. Captain Edward Gilpin Brown, in a dark tunic, is directly behind Boyle. Next to Brown, an unidentified trooper sports mounted police/militia-pattern striped breeches. At extreme left, Maj. John Stewart and Lt. Henry Boyle face the camera. – Courtesy Glenbow Archives NA-619-3 –
The 1885 North West Rebellion marked the first time that Canada’s new transcontinental railroad was used to transport soldiers to the prairies. The 114 cowboys and ranchers who made up the Rocky Mountain Rangers helped to provide security for the railroad’s construction. The story of building the Canadian Pacific Railway is the focus of a major IMAX film, Rocky Mountain Express; check your local IMAX for showtimes. – True West Archives –
Henry Boyle, a British barrister and the second son of an Irish noble family, poses in Fort Macleod, showing off his new buckskins for photographer George Anderton. Boyle and his brother, Lord Richard, were aristocratic investors in the Alberta Ranche and Rocky Mountain Ranger officers. – Courtesy Glenbow Archives NA-4452-7 –