“Rawhide” Andrews was a Texas Ranger. He came to the force after it was reconstituted in 1874, the Rangers having been discredited in the years following the War of Yankee Aggression as an enforcement unit for carpetbaggers.
Comanches were in decline from smallpox and cholera and from the near extinction of buffalo by hide hunters. The Comanche attack on buffalo hunters at the Second Battle of Adobe Wells in 1874 brought the U.S. Army against their diminished numbers. The last of the free Comanches were driven into reservation in 1875, two years after the advent of the Winchester Model 1873, the “gun that won the West” according to the myth, but in actual fact the Winchester was too late.
In 1876 a few Comanche warriors led by Black Horse left the reservation and renewed raids and attacks on buffalo hunters, but the Comanches lacked the numbers to make their frustration with reservation life effective, bringing to an end Comanche resistance to white encroachment on their lands that began in 1820.
With the Comanches subdued, the violence that confronted Rawhide Andrews came from the outlaws among the white illegal aliens who had overrun Comanche lands—lands the Comanche had taken from the less numerous Apache.
On the frontier, violence flared easily, and a badge was scant protection from a faster gun. Rawhide wore two Colts, tied down for a smooth, easy draw. The...