28. A Natural Born Man Hunter
Frank Hamer performed his first notable crime-busting feat while still a private citizen. In 1905, he was employed at a ranch when two horses were stolen. He picked up the trail, and followed it for several days on his own until he closed in on the culprits. Using natural terrain features as cover, he made his way through a gully until he got in front them, then waited until they showed up and took them by surprise with a leveled Winchester. He took the thieves prisoner, delivered them to the local sheriff, and returned the stolen horses to his employer.
The thrill of his first manhunt was a rush that Hamer wanted more of, and a few months later, he once again set out on his own and tracked down and captured another horse thief. The sheriff was impressed. “This is the second time you’ve done my work. You did a mighty fine job of catching this man, Frank. How’d you like to be a Texas Ranger?” Hamer was interested, and the sheriff arranged to get him accepted into the most famous – and controversial – law enforcement organization of the American West. From then until his retirement in 1949, Hamer was a Texas Ranger off and on, resigning on various occasions to take other jobs then rejoining the force.