The Texas Rangers were Indian fighting militiamen who were established in a Texas area that was freed of Mexican rule.
After Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana overthrew the Constitution of 1824, the Rangers organized themselves into a broader band whose intent was to seek restoration of the Constitution. Thus, "The Texas Rangers" was formally organized into a force of three 56-men companies to be deployed on the Indian frontier to protect the Texas citizenry against Indians and Mexican raiders.
Some of the most prominent rangers included: Ben McCulloch, the Tennessee frontiersman and friend of Davy Crockett's, William A.A. "Big Foot" Wallace, John Coffee "Jack" Hays. It was Hays who helped the Rangers earn their reputation for brutality during the war, men with "uncouth costumes, bearded faces, lean and brawny forms, fierce wild eyes and swaggering manners...fit representatives of the outlaws which make up the population of the Lone Star State", according to Samuel Chamberlain.
After the Mexican War, the Rangers returned to patrol the new state of Texas, trying to end Comanche Indian raids. Captain John S. "Rip" Ford was the famous frontiersman who is credited with killing many Comanches.
In the Civil War and Reconstruction eras, the Rangers continued their pursuit of Indian raiders, outlaws, and cattle rustlers. They tracked the bandit John Wesley Hardin all to the way to Pensacola, Florida . The Texas Rangers were reorganized in 1935 as a branch of the Texas Department of Public Safety and remain active today as the oldest law enforcement agency in America.