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Six Years with the Texas Rangers
1875 - 1881
James B. Gillett

James B. Gillett served during one of the lustrous periods of the Texas Rangers’ history—the last years of Indian fighting and the era of West Texas settlement just before the coming of the railroads. He fought Comanches, Lipans, Mescaleros, cattle thieves, horse rustlers, bank robbers, and outlaws. In an adventure that raised protests from the Mexican government, he famously crossed the Rio Grande to kidnap an accused murderer (who had a bounty on his head) and spirit him back to New Mexico for trial, only to see his prisoner lynched by a mob.

Gillett’s account is peppered with legendary Texas figures, including outlaw John Wesley Hardin, brilliant and elusive Apache Chief Victorio, controversial Ranger Captain George W. Baylor, robber Sam Bass, and gunfighter-cum-lawman Dallas Stoudenmire.

Compared to some other authors of the genre, Gillett tells it relatively straight, naming names and places, and admitting that not every scout ended in success. But he does omit some details, such as his marriage to Captain Baylor’s daughter in 1881 (and their subsequent divorce), and the reason for his departure from the El Paso marshal’s job in 1885—he clubbed a city councilman over the head with a pistol.