This Lone Wolf Texas Ranger Helped Inspire a Classic Horror Film

This Lone Wolf Texas Ranger Helped Inspire a Classic Horror Film

Texas Ranger Manual T. Gonzaullas headed the investigation into the Texarkana murders accredited to the “Phantom Killer” in 1946. Gonzaullas was instated in the Texas Ranger’s hall of fame and is one of the most well-known Rangers of the 20th century.

At the age of 20, Gonzaullas became a major in the Mexican army. After the army, he was a special agent for five years for the United States Treasury. He enlisted in the Texas Rangers in 1920, the same year he was married to Laura Isabel Scherer in California.

For over ten years Gonzuallas honed his shooting ability by preventing bank robberies, prostitution, narcotic trafficking, bootlegging, and gambling from the Red River to Rio Grande as well as from El Paso to Sabine. Gonzuallas earned the name Lone Wolf because he would go into fights by himself, and he would come out of fights by himself. He was famous for his quick draw as well. Former law enforcement officers who served with Lone Wolf remarked that he was the fastest draw they had ever seen.

This Lone Wolf Texas Ranger Helped Inspire a Classic Horror Film

Photo: @lacyjflanagan via Twenty20

Gonzuallas’s biggest challenge came in 1946 when several murders struck in Texarkana in connection to the “Phantom Killer.” It was Gonzuallas’s involvement in the investigation that inspired the 1977 film “The Town That Dreaded Sundown.” The killer was never found, and Gonzaullas retired from the rangers in 1951. According the Texas State Historical Association, he went on to become a technical consultant in Hollywood where he worked on motion picture, radio, and television projects.

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Another mystery that has not been solved surrounding Gonzaullas is the whereabouts of his remains. On February 13, 1977, Gonzaullas died at the age of eighty-five, but historians had trouble finding his grave. The Dallas Morning News later reported that he was cremated. It is believed that his wife scattered the ashes before she died a year after Gonzaullas, but no one to this day knows where.

Written by Deborah Hall