Great Plains Studies, Center for



Michael Hogue

Date of this Version

Fall 2008


Great Plains Quarterly Volume 28, Number 4, Fall 2008, pp. 329-30


Copyright 2008 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


At opposite ends of the Great Plains, the North-West Mounted Police and the Texas Rangers emerged in the mid-1870s as key instruments in the extension of state power over distant frontiers. Policing the Great Plains reveals how these famous rural constabularies implemented policies designed in Ottawa and Austin to promote the settlement and economic development of the Great Plains. Andrew Graybill argues that these shared political and economic goals ensured that Mounties and Rangers, despite their many differences, helped bring about strikingly similar transformations in Texas and the Canadian Prairies.

By placing Mounties and Rangers in this common history of state and market expansion, Graybill redirects well-worn stories of 140unties and Rangers into more fruitful avenues of inquiry. Each of his four core chapters focuses on a particular stage in the state's absorption of its frontier and the role the constabularies played in that process. The first two consider the efforts of Rangers and Mounties to confine or remove Indigenous peoples and to dispossess people of mixed ancestry in order to appropriate Aboriginal lands and resources for the use of white farmers, ranchers, and entrepreneurs. The final two chapters explore how the constabularies helped to consolidate that new order. By defending cattlemen and ranching syndicates from the protests of the rural poor and helping mining and railroad corporations to suppress labor unrest, he argues, Rangers and Mounties played critical roles in consolidating the nascent industrial economy in the Great Plains. But these broad