How would Gus, Woodrow have handled it? - Tucson Local Media: Editorials

How would Gus, Woodrow have handled it?

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 11:00 pm

Larry McMurtry created two immortal characters, Gus and Woodrow, played superbly by Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones in the original "Lonesome Dove."

They were Texas Rangers, a group of semi-militia whose mission included defending Texas against native depredations, primarily Comanche, and attempts by Mexico to reconquer portions of the then independent nation. When Texas became a state, that role didn't change nor diminish, but was assisted by the occasional presence of federal troops. The following might have occurred had some of today's more ludicrous legal opinions been prevalent then.

Gus and Woodrow ride to the top of a rise somewhere in West Texas. They're following the sound of gunfire, and about a half mile out they spot a small wagon train fighting off an Indian attack. Gus reaches for the Hawken in his saddle scabbard, but Woodrow reminds him of the latest opinion of the attorney general.

"We're a state now, Gus. Indian affairs are the exclusive domain of the federal government. Best we can do is ride to the nearest army post and report the altercation."

"Woodrow, that's about 120 miles. Those Comanche ain't gonna wait."

"Can't assume they're Comanche, Gus. That's profiling. Could be Lipans or Navajo."

"Lipans are about 300 miles East and Navajos are a couple hundred North," Gus responds as he dismounts and pulls his rifle. Woodrow thinks a few seconds and then joins him. Both throw a little sand to check the wind and then drop to the prone position (unlike Tom Selleck in "Quigley," who did it offhand) and a few seconds later two large booms roll over the plains. One Comanche drops off his horse, another horse falls and the rider scurries about the time the sound of the shots catches up.

Gus and Woodrow saddle up and each draw one of their Walker Colts. They run off the remaining Comanches. Settlers rescued.

Using the Freedom of Information Act to read the report filed with Ranger HQ, a lawyer from Boston files a lawsuit on behalf of the family of the dead Comanche alleging civil rights violations and the commission of a hate crime. Gus and Woodrow are indicted on a batch of federal felony counts. Gov. Sam Houston protests, but is overridden by federal authorities. Gus and Woodrow are suspended without pay. Plaintiff's attorney gets a change of venue to New Jersey, where they are ultimately found "not guilty."

Boston lawyer continues with a civil suit and adds the owner of the dead horse to it when the Civil War begins. Gus and Woodrow, having been reinstated, arrest the Boston lawyer as a Yankee spy in San Antonio, where he's representing a drunk run over by a hay wagon. He becomes the only known civilian detainee ever sent to Andersonville Prison. He survives and is later appointed a customs inspector in Matamoras. He is killed by Apaches while on a trip to an ACLU convention in El Paso.

Gus and Woodrow go on to become successful ranchers and lead a famous trail drive to Montana.

Don't like that example? Try this.

In 1942, two Maine state troopers observe a submarine surfacing and a boat launched carrying several men in civilian garb. Boat lands a few hundred yards away. Is it profiling to assume the sub was German and the guys in the boat are spies? Can they bust them? If they were local cops from a pro-German "sanctuary city," could they even call the Feds?

Think I'm being absurd? The real absurdity is in our inability to enforce our own borders and the desire of too many to eliminate them all together combined with the Spandex view of the constitution as a document to be adjusted at will.


Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturday 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.


© 2017 Tucson Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

More about

Welcome to the discussion.



Follow us on Facebook