From Texas Monthly comes a story of the Wild West, the first American superheroes, the legendary riders in white hats, Los Diablos Tejanos—the Texas Rangers. “White Hats” tells the true history of these larger-than-life rangers, who have become one of the defining symbols of the state. Join host Jack Herrera as we explore the fantastical tales of Ranger legends like Jack Coffee Hays, who rode into battle with the Lipan Apache chief Flacco, and Frank Hamer, who hunted down the outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. For many Texans, the white hats became synonymous with justice and protection. But many other Texans grew up hearing haunting memories of “los Rinches,” and the violence they visited upon Mexicans and Mexican Americans a century ago. On the eve of the Rangers’ 200th anniversary, "White Hats" explores the Rangers’ true place in Texas history.
1. Rangers and 'Rinches'
On the first episode of “White Hats,” we visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, searching for how the Rangers became such enduring Texan symbols. Then we drive to the Rio Grande Valley, where historian Trinidad Gonzales recalls the Rangers' role in a century-old family tragedy and discovering how his family history was part of the bigger story of Texas. For more on the story, please visit https://www.texasmonthly.com/podcasts/series/white-hats/
2. Ghosts of the Wild West
To understand how the Texas Rangers’ legend took hold, we explore three stories about their early conflicts with Native and Mexican American people. First, we follow the footsteps of Ranger Captain Jack Coffee Hays, up Enchanted Rock to the site of his famous shootout with Comanche warriors. Then, the Comanche scholar Dustin Tahmahkera explains the abduction story of Cynthia Ann Parker, and the life of her son Quanah Parker. Finally, we visit the Guadalupe Mountains near El Paso, to hear about the chaotic San Elizario Salt War, when the Rangers' arrival led to an unexpected end. For more on this story please visit https://www.texasmonthly.com/podcasts/series/white-hats/
3. La Hora de Sangre
After the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution, as fighters crossed into Texas to raid ranches, Texas hired hundreds more Rangers to defend the state—many with hardly any qualifications. The atmosphere of suspicion and fear between Anglo and Mexican Texans gave rise to an era of state-sanctioned violence by Rangers, vigilantes, and other officials. It reached its peak at a massacre in the West Texas town of Porvenir.You can read more about the stories in this episode in "Revolution in Texas," by Benjamin Johnson, and "Redeeming La Raza," by Gabriela Gonzalez.
4. The Cold Case
One year after the Porvenir massacre, the Texas Rangers are a subject of an inquiry at the Texas capitol led by state representative J. T. Canales. In this episode, we hear testimony from the hearings about the Rangers’ violence, as well as attempts by Rangers backers to discredit Canales and his effort. After the hearings, the Rangers only become bigger heroes in popular movies and TV shows. But the stories of their violence against Mexican Americans live on in South Texas, in oral histories and corridos, and resurface during the civil rights movements of the sixties and seventies. For more on this story please visit https://www.texasmonthly.com/podcasts/series/white-hats/
5. Bias Toward Action
Today’s Texas Rangers make a hard distinction between themselves and the men who rode alongside Jack Hays, J. M. Fox, or even Frank Hamer. But the hat and the badge—the Ranger mystique—still count for something. How does that Rangerness affect their approach to policing? How does it affect the people they’re investigating, tracking, and interrogating—the guilty . . . and the innocent? For more on this story please visit https://www.texasmonthly.com/podcasts/series/white-hats/
6. Memorials and Monuments
In the past decade, historians and descendants of victims of La Hora de Sangre have raised awareness of the violence against Mexican Americans in the 1910s—including with new historical markers placed by the State of Texas. But organizers of the Texas Rangers’ bicentennial in 2023 want to remind Texans of the virtues that made Rangers legends in the first place. For more on this story please visit https://www.texasmonthly.com/podcasts/series/white-hats/
Big fan and I’m a big supporter for the club but I’m also not
The only way I could see the picture is by looking in a window of a mirror in a window and see if the window was
Let the truth be told
I am unable to find in this series any indication of the narrative placing blame on people of today for what was done in the past. None whatsoever.
To know the facts of history is worthwhile in any case. The good stuff doesn’t make any of us better people for it anymore than the bad parts making any of us bad people.
Truth is truth, none of it should be spared in the telling of history.
If this is a one sided telling, it is only in that the other has been told over and over, printed in text books and history books. This series does a fine job of telling the other side. In that it is telling both sides.
Very insightful and balanced.
I found it really well told and the reporter/historian seems to have been open to speak with people who are uncomfortable with the underlying truthful story. Well done!