Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1910 Tejano bandido
Subjectbandido bandit, cattle rustler
Culture: Tex-Mex / Tejano Mexican
Setting: banditry, raiding, Rio Grande border mid-19th-early 20thc
Evolution1862 Northern Mexican vaquero > 1910 Tejano bandido

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Leider 2002 p35
"Reconstruction was an internal, constitutional matter, but the prevailing conditions of the lower valley, though dependent on the area's unique demography and the internal character of the Mexican state, carried international consequences.  Public order in Mexico depended on the government's ability to recruit bandits and other violent elements into its service.  this became evident during the French occupation, when Benito Juarez's government relocated north to El Paso and absorbed dissident border groups into its cause.  Once Mexico's internal war subsided and the French were evicted, rural gangs that had fought Maximilian began to align with local strongmen like Juan Cortina and resumed their plunder of border towns and stockraisers.  Much of this plunder was motivated by bitterness toward American encroachment, as the area remained primarily Hispanic in character."

* Jameson 2017 p13-14 (describing El Paso ca.1872)
"Life along the border in this upriver part of Texas proceeded much as it had for hundreds of years. To the Mexicans, the international boundary represented by the Rio Grande was paid scant attention, if any at all. They passed back and forth across the river often on a variety of errands and missions and to conduct business. Families on both sides were related to one another; farmers and ranchers on the Mexican side grazed their cattle, horses, and goats on the pastures found on the American side. The notion of a boundary established by a bunch of newcomer gringos made little sense to them."

* Jameson 2017 pvi-vii
​"Life along the US-Mexico border during the last half of the nineteenth century and the first three decades of the twentieth century was sometimes fraught with danger.  Mexican nationals often crossed the border to steal cattle and horses from American ranches.  In the process, men on both sides were often killed and wounded.  Likewise, a number of prominent cattle ranches in Texas were initially stocked with cattle stolen from Mexico during acquisition raids.
    "When incursions from Mexico became more common and threatening, reinforcements were called in the form of the US Army and the Texas Rangers.  These forces were intended to serve as deterrents, but following particularly aggressive and violent raids, the agents often became involved in aggressive pursuit and punishment.  Results were mixed.  The US military was initially ill equipped to deal with the rugged terrain of the border country from the West Texas desert-mountain region all the way down the Rio Grande to the Gulf of Mexico.  Men and horses suffered and commands proved futile until their leaders could get their bearings and gain sufficient knowledge accumulated from experience.  By the same token, the enemy, in the form of Mexican nationals, had lived and thrived in these environments for thousands of years, were well adapted to terrain and conditions, and were natural guerrilla fighters.  What they lacked was numbers, and in time the US military simply overran and wore down the opposition by virtue of superior numbers and armaments."

* Jameson 2017 p145
"Along the international border between the United States and Mexico, small-time bandits from both sides crossed into foreign soil to perpetuate raids, steal livestock, smuggle contraband, and sometimes commit murder.  Along the Rio Grande in the Big Bend area of Texas, such occurrences were commonplace and continued for years before law enforcement authorities could put an end to such things.  Quite often the raiders were all from some small Mexican village and/or were members of a single family that had lived in the area for generations.  Culturally, stealing was often considered by them a fair and reasonable way to make a living.
    "Then there is this: The Anglo ranchers on the Texas side of the Rio Grande often conducted raids into Mexico to steal cattle and horses and return with them to their own holdings.  In many cases, the Mexican raiders were simply retrieving livestock that was initially [stolen] from them."


* Rosa 1995 p112 caption
"This excellent sketch of a Mexican bandido was painted by Edward Borein in 1910.  In dress he resembles the haughty Mexican vaquero who rode the cattle trails to Kansas in the early days."