Texas Rising: How the Texas Rangers Helped Mold Texas

A new miniseries portrays their hand in the origins of our state.

By Luke QuintonMay 20, 2015 9:28 am|

On Memorial Day, the History Channel begins airing a new miniseries – one it’s made a massive investment in – with movie stars, theatrical trailers and more. Texas Rising is a ten-hour made for TV event that tracks the origins of Texas through a unique lens: that of the early Texas Rangers.

Author Stephen Moore, who’s written a companion book to the miniseries by the same name, joined the Texas Standard to talk about this spin on the Texas epic.

The Texas Rangers had their start back when Stephen F. Austin settled the area as a colony.

“They were really legally created during the Texas Revolution in October 1835 and they came to play an important role in the revolution,” Moore says. “The first ones were regional rangers that ranged between various rivers in Texas. They were small groups of men basically there to watch out for Mexican incursions and to take care of [Native American] attacks against the settlers.”

Moore says he became interested in the story through his ancestry. One of his great-great-great-grandfathers was the first appointed captain to one of the regional companies.

In recent decades there has been a certain distaste for Texas Ranger mythos that seem grown out of anglocentrism, but Moore says this tale is less about race and more about justice.

“This was just a case, as with the American Revolution or anything else, where if there’s a tyrant in place people that are oppressed are gonna stand up against it,” he says. “There’s all kinds of ethnicities and cultures that come into play to the battlefield at San Jacinto…people standing up against someone that was putting people to death and that was not accepted then and really isn’t accepted today.”

So what does the “Texas Rising” book author think of the onscreen counterpart?

“You gotta take some of it with a grain of salt, that this is drama,” Moore says. “That’s why we have the book to set the record straight on some of the facts that are there. But looking at it by and large I really enjoyed seeing the San Jacinto campaign and some of the key battles there in ways that have really never been treated on the screen before.”