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Burton Charles Mossman, Sr. | 1941

Cowboy, Arizona Ranger and owner of Diamond A Ranch in New Mexico - Mossman is a legend of the Old West.

1867-1956 | Artist: Othmar J. Hoffler (1893-1954)

Impact & Accomplishments

Captain of the first company of the Arizona Rangers, established in 1901 to control cattle rustling and other illegal activity, Burton C. Mossman was a hero in the final years of the Old West.

Born in Illinois, his family eventually settled in New Mexico in 1882. Mossman became a cowboy and superintendent for the Aztec Cattle Company (also known as the Hashknife Outfit), running cattle in the northern Arizona Territory and across the Mexican border. He was also a sheriff. With a reputation for battling cattle rustlers, the territorial governor appointed Mossman to be the top lawman for the Rangers. Mossman was best known for the capture of the notorious border outlaw, Augustine Chacon, in 1902.

He left law enforcement to focus on ranching, eventually purchasing Diamond A Ranch, near Roswell, New Mexico. He shipped trainloads of cattle to the Chicago market, and handled more than a million head of cattle.

Did You Know?

With Mossman at the helm, the Arizona Rangers put 125 men behind bars in their first year.

The actor, Rory Calhoun, played Mossman in the title role of the 1963 episode "The Measure of a Man" of the syndicated western television series, Death Valley Days, narrated by Stanley Andrews.

Mossman agreed to become the Ranger’s first captain for one year and during that time the outfit had its greatest success.  During that year the Rangers put 125 outlaws behind bars, killing only one in the process. They also lost one Ranger, Carlos Tafoya, in the line of duty.

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