Colonel Ranald Mackenzie

as portrayed by Bob Welch

Born in New Jersey to a military family, Mackenzie went to West Point and graduated in 1862. Serving in the Union army, Mackenzie was wounded six times (including the loss of two fingers on his right hand) and won eight promotions for bravery, ending the war as a general. Posted to Texas at the end of the war, Mackenzie soon commanded the Fourth Cavalry. In the next ten years, Mackenzie lead the Fourth in numerous Indian engagements, fighting Comanche, Kiowa, Apache, Cheyenne and Kickapoo. One Indian fight even took Mackenzie's troops into Mexico. In 1875, Mackenzie lead the Fourth Cavalry deep into the heart of Comanche country. In the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, the Fourth Cavalry captured some 1400 Indian horses and burned the villages. The burning of the villages and capturing of the horses effectively forced the Indians to return to the reservations most had left. Mackenzie was commanding Fort Sill, Oklahoma Territory when Quanah Parker surrendered his Kwadi Comanches. Mackenzie and Quanah had fought each other several times but each respected the other as a warrior. Mackenzie used his office at Fort Sill to assist the Indians when possible, giving them Army rations when the Indians had no food and escorting hunting parties on buffalo hunts to prevent harassment from settlers and troublemakers. Mackenzie would revenge the Custer massacre by defeating the Sioux in the Dakota, and fight the Utes in Colorado. Mackenzie was diagnosed as insane in 1884 and died in 1889 from what is now know as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, brought on by seven wounds and constant living on horseback in all kinds of weather under hostile conditions.

We are proud to have Mr. Bob Welch tell Mackenzie's story!