The Bandera Courier
Bandera Courier
Thursday December 7, 2017
 
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2016-01-28

Not like the movies

Feather Wilson

Western movies very seldom depicted what Texas was like from 1750 to about 1880.
The vast number of western movies depicted Texas ranching and towns over a very short time that lasted from about 1880-1900.
Most of the movies were set in small towns in deference to large ranches and rural areas over this 20-year period.
We have a distorted view of Texas ranch life that began in South Texas in 1730 under Spanish rule.
The King of Spain became concerned about the United States and the French impinging upon Texas in the 1700s. The Crown and the Viceroy of Mexico decided to encourage Spanish occupation of Texas through large land grants, particularly in South Texas.
Bandera was occupied by hostile Indians during the 1700s and remained largely under their control until Mexico won the war for their independence from Spain in 1821. A few settlers began to drift in.
South Texas remained in disputed territory for almost a half century. Mexico wanted to set the boundary along the Nueces, even after Texas won its independence and formed a Republic in 1836.
During the early 1800s, there were no sheriffs, no rangers, no courts, no mail, no counties, no fences. The ranches were very isolated with few neighbors. Small towns grew up from ranch hand camps on previous Spanish land grants.
Imported Spanish cattle strayed off the ranches and through selective breeding became wild. These wild longhorns thrived between the Nueces and the Rio Grande rivers with longer horns and more stamina than their Spanish predecessors. They became well suited to the South Texas climate and its predators.
Two major changes created the movie versions of Texas life in 1880 to 1900.
The first major change was the building of railroads across Texas. The second was the invention of barbed wire fences. Both combined to bring an end to cattle drives and encouraged transporting cattle by rail.
Longhorns were not particularly suited for rail shipping. Ranch life began to drastically change.


Weekly Rainfall = 0.00" Cumulative Rainfall = 0.86"
Departure From Normal = -0.87"
Tarpley Glen Rose WL = -32.15'
Bandera Hosston WL = -441.95'
Hondo Creek Flow = 11.00 cfs
Medina (USGS) Flow = 90.00 cfs
Medina (USGS) Lake = -17.13'
High (F°) = 72º
Low (F°) = 27º
01-18-16 @ 8:00 am