I really don’t know why this series is named for Captain Jim, when it’s Uncle Bob who is clearly the star. And it’s not even named Captain Jim at the start. The first two issues are titled Captain Bill of the Rangers. With the third instalment Bill suddenly becomes Jim – he is clearly the same character, an old ranger with a white moustache.
As the series begins, two children, Johnny and Jane, take the train west to visit their Uncle Bob. The train gets robbed just before they arrive, and the next day the children recognize one of the cowboys on the neighbouring ranch as the robber. Uncle Bob brings the kids to tell Captain Bill/Jim about the man, but the owner of the ranch, Mr. Lane sees the children emerge from the ranger’s office, and has them kidnapped.
This begins an extremely long serial that all apparently occurs during one endless day. The children are rescued, kidnapped again, rescued again, and kidnapped a third time. Captain Jim also gets captured and rescued. Bob gets captured, but manages to free himself.
And it’d Bob who saves the kids time and time again, not merely from the serial kidnappings, but also from a cattle stampede, poisonous snakes, and even a forest fire. He is also the one to save Captain Jim when he gets taken by the rustlers, and he kills Mr. Lane. Uncle Bob really should have demanded top billing.
Once Mr. Lane is killed (fairly early in the series), his crew of rustlers continue to cause problems for the good guys. But it’s just the same events over and over in dreary succession. Not even the pleasing pictures of canyons and forests can make this enjoyable.
About halfway through the run Jess, of the Bar Z Ranch, gets involved in the story, but he just gets captured and tied up and rescued. The writer really couldn’t think of very much to do with the characters. You’d think at some point he would have noticed that the sun was still up, and at least have had them camp out for the night, or eat, or something.
The serial ends with the rustlers plotting to grab the kids again. I was frankly glad to hit the last chapter. Being kidnapped three times in one day is enough, and Uncle Bob deserved a break.
Captain Jim of the Texas Rangers: New Comics 2 – 11 (Jan – Dec 36)
New Adventure 12 – 26 (Jan 37 – June 38)