When you’re talking about badass police organizations that take hardened career criminals and make them look like Larry, Moe, and Curly being beaten over the head with gigantic sledgehammers and band saws, you could do a Hell of a lot worse than the Texas Rangers. The Rangers were the S.W.A.T. Team before the invention of the H&K MP5A4, the SAS before Bear Grylls , and the Justice League of America without all that crazy-colored spandex and latent homoerotic undertones. Back in the late 19th century, the Rangers roamed the lawless prairies of the Old West looking for wandering outlaw bandit gangs that needed their asses kicked, never resting or relenting until they found the most deadly criminals in America and either dragged them away in handcuffs or filled their balls full of piping-hot forty-five caliber ammunition. The Texas Rangers were tough-ass motherfuckers who were absolutely not to be messed with for any reason ever, and among the most famous and decorated of the Rangers was a dude named John Barclay Armstrong.
Armstrong was born in Tennessee in 1850, and moved to Texas in 1871 for the explicit purposes of cracking jerks in the face with a tire iron. He served a short time as a local lawman before joining up with a new unit called the “Special Force” under the command of Captain Leander H. McNelly. The Special Force was the original gangsta of Special Forces units like GSG and Seal Team Five, something you can tell by the fact that the word “force” is singular (nowadays Special Forces detachments are a fucking dime a dozen). They were the badass paramilitary arm of the Texas Rangers, responsible for seeking out bandits with bandandas covering their faces, gunslingers who shoot people in the chest when they think they’re being cheated at poker, yeller-bellied cattle rustlers, and other Old West stereotype motherfuckers and beating the holy living bejeezus out of them with their fists, rifle butts, and really large tree branches. And they were good at their job. A small, elite, well-trained outfit, kind of like Rainbow Six with Colt .45s and awesome moustaches, they were definitely not to be messed around with – McNelly himself only brought on men who were born out-of-state because he was worried that some native Texans might show a moment of hesitation when it came to shooting their fellow countrymen in the face.