Texas Rangers is set in the 1870s, where former Texas Ranger Leander McNelly (Dylan McDermott) is trying to re-form the group to stop bandits who are killing settlers and stealing cattle along the Texas/Mexico border.
There isn’t a shortage of volunteers as many young people have suffered at the hands of the bandits. Few of them, however, are very experienced when it comes to riding horses or shooting guns, a bit of a drawback in any cowboy flick.
One of the volunteers (James Van Der Beek) is well educated and becomes McNelly’s right hand man.
Despite their limitations as a fighting force, the new Rangers set out to clean up the west. They suffer heavy losses in some early brutal encounters with the bandits and their ruthless leader, John King Fisher, but this all serves to set up the big finale on the banks of the Rio Grande.
With a cast of TV heartthrobs, Texas Rangers probably comes closer to the truth than most films of its kind.
The fight scenes are appropriately violent, the bad guys are nasty and the raw Rangers struggle to become the kind of cold-blooded killers needed to do the job. Those that learn quickly survive, those that don’t die.
While the film has lots of action, there is very little heart.
Based on a true story, you get a glimpse into the brutal side of the old west, but you never really get to know any of the characters. They are just used to tell an historical story, ignoring the more interesting stories that lie beneath the surface.