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"Lone Wolf," Ranger legend, dies

February
13
1977

On this day in 1977, the legendary Texas Ranger M. T. (Lone Wolf) Gonzaullas died in Dallas at the age of eighty-five. Gonzaullas was born in 1891 to a Spanish father and Canadian mother. He was a major in the Mexican army by the age of twenty, then a special agent for the U.S. Treasury Department for five years. He joined the Texas Rangers in 1920 and saw service from the Red River to the Rio Grande and from El Paso to the Sabine during the 1920s and 1930s. Along the Rio Grande, he later became known as El Lobo Solo. After Governor Miriam (Ma) Ferguson fired most of the rangers, including Gonzaullas, the day after she took office in 1933, the legislature created the Texas Department of Public Safety and made the rangers a division of that agency. Four rangers--the so-called "Big Four"--had an enormous impact on this change: Gonzaullas, Frank Hamer, Thomas R. Hickman, and Will Wright. Gonzaullas became the first American of Spanish descent to achieve the rank of captain in the force, and his experiences investigating a series of murders in Texarkana in 1946 became the basis for the motion picture The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1977). He retired from the rangers in 1951 and went to Hollywood as a technical consultant for radio, television, and motion pictures.

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