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Captain Ransom, Texas Ranger: An American Hero (1874–1918)

by Pat Hill Goodrich, Evangel Publishing House, Nappanee, Ind., 2007, $18.

Captain Henry Lee Ransom, who first joined the Texas Rangers in 1905, walked softly and carried a big stick. He was, the author writes, about “as talkative as any oyster.” But Captain Ransom was honest, courageous and a fine marksman, all of which earned him the respect of his fellow lawmen. He earned a medal for bravery during the Spanish-American War and was appointed chief of police in Houston to clean up that city. In this 243-page book, Goodrich, a sixth-generation Texan, pays tribute to this unsung hero who also happens to be her grandfather.

Ransom carried only six-shooters, because he feared automatics would jam at a bad time, and so he might have cracked a smile at the mention of “Henry Ransom’s blazing twin automatics” in the newspapers. “Ransom was the rarity,” writes Goodrich, “an ambidextrous marksman who never misses…a formidable enemy of the outlaws….He was known to execute the ear shot, always successfully….It worked wonders.”

His fight against criminals, including those in public office who flouted the law, ended in gunfire on April 1, 1918. His death at 44 was ruled an accident, though the author suggests it might well have been murder. No doubt Ransom was a solid lawman, but readers might wish he had been a man of a few more words, and historians might wish for a few more specific dates and names.


Originally published in the December 2008 issue of Wild West. To subscribe, click here