Follow Me to Hell
McNelly's Texas Rangers and the Rise of Frontier Justice
THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Tom Clavin's Follow Me to Hell is the explosive true story of how legendary Ranger Leander McNelly and his men brought justice to a lawless Texan frontier.
In turbulent 1870s Texas, the revered and fearless Ranger Leander McNelly led his men in one dramatic campaign after another, throwing cattle thieves, desperadoes, border ruffians, and other dangerous criminals into jail or, if that's how they wanted it, six feet under. They would stop at nothing in pursuit of justice, even sending 26 Rangers across the border to retrieve stolen cattle—taking on hundreds of Mexican troops with nothing but their Sharps rifles and six-guns. The nation came to call them “McNelly’s Rangers.”
Set against the backdrop of 200 years of thrilling Texas Rangers history, this page-turner takes readers into the tough life along the Texas border that was tamed by a courageous, yet doomed, captain and his team of fearless men.
It was one hell of a ride!
Bestseller Clavin (coauthor, The Last Hill) sketches in this scrupulous if meandering history the origin story of the Texas Rangers. Beginning in 1821, when Anglo settlers "thought it a good idea to have a sort of militia always ready for future provocations" by local Indigenous tribes, Clavin recounts land skirmishes, cattle raids, Civil War battles, and more. The book's focal point is Leander McNelly, a member of the infamous Sibley Brigade during the Civil War, who famously tricked 400 Union soldiers into surrendering to his unit of 40 Confederates. McNelly's "daring courage and consummate skill" in the Battle of Galveston and other Civil War clashes led to his appointment in 1874 as captain of a Texas Ranger unit in Washington County, Tex. Tasked with ridding the Nueces Strip between the Rio Grande and Nueces rivers of bandits and cattle rustlers, McNelly was renowned for his bravery, cunning, and independent streak; he risked international conflict by leading raids into Mexico, but also helped evolve the Rangers "into the modern police force of today." Though there's plenty of action, McNelly's fascinating character often gets lost in historical minutiae and filler. This saga sags a little too often.