FORT RANGO

Membership: Ned Hacker, Sgt. Rafe Hacker, Josephs, O'Keefe, Col. Brett Sabre, Johnny Wakely (Red Wolf), Clem, Jake, Slim

Purpose: Defending the frontier

Affiliations: Red Wolf (Johnny Wakely), Molly Brennan

Enemies: Acoma, Burning Tree, Catfish, Chief Crazy Dog and his Sioux followers, John Darby, Heart-Like-Fire, Ursa the Man-Bear;
other renegade Native Americans, Cattle Rustlers, Owlhoots, Hornswagglers, and the like

Base of Operations: Fort Rango, in the Dakotas, Old West era

First Appearance: Western Gunfighters#1 (August, 1970)

 

HISTORY: (Western Gunfighters#1(fb)-BTS) - In the mid 19th Century, an outpost was stationed in a remote area of the Dakotas--Fort Rango.

 

 

(Western Gunfighters#1) - Shortly after the end of the Civil War, the base had degenerated into a bunch of undisciplined, unorganized "useless loafers." Maj. Brett Sabre showed up as the new Commanding Officer and promptly began whipping them back into shape. Ned Hacker didn't take too kindly to that, and tried to throw his weight around by nearly trampling Sabre with his horse. Sabre threw Hacker out, but Hacker got a plan for revenge after overhearing a group of Sioux calling off a previously planned assault on Fort Rango. He sneaked back into the camp and convinced a group of the other soldiers to join him in getting rid of Sabre. Hacker and his allies used tomahawks and other weapons in their attack, so that it would appear that "ever'body else'll think it wuz the Injuns what done ya in!"
Major Sabre escaped his attackers, but the conflict led them outside, where they found the Sioux had tricked Hacker, and were attacking after all. Sabre rallied the soldiers against the attack and drove off the Sioux, although Hacker was killed in the fight. Sabre had the remaining conspirators arrested, although consideration was taken for their joining the struggle against the Sioux attackers.

(Marvel Westerns: Western Legends#1/2) - Major Sabre led the cavalry to escort Acoma indians to a reservation who had refused to leave their land. Sabre was ambushed by the Acoma, who stole his cannon so that they could use to destroy the cavalry's camp, but Sabre managed to throw their aim off, and turn the cannon to the ground. They fell into underground caverns, and Sabre fought with the Acoma leader, "Jack," but they found the Acoma hidden inside had been slain by Heart-Like-Fire, an animal-like man of the Kisani, and Heart-Like-Fire slew Jack. He let Major Sabre go to tell "the Great Father in Washington" that his people only ruled their lands "so far as we let you." Major Sabre received the credit for the destruction of the Acoma, and was told he would make colonel for it.

(Marvel Spotlight I#1) - Johnny Wakely joined the troops of Fort Rango as their new scout. As Red Wolf, Wakely broke up a plot by Burning Tree and some owlhoots to frame the troops of Fort Rango for the theft of the sacred White Buffalo hid.
Molly Brennan escaped a group of renegade Native Americans and took refuge in Fort Rango.
Brett Sabre was revealed to have become a Colonel by this point.

(Red Wolf#1) - Wakely/Red Wolf brought in a group of criminals who had murdered several Native Americans. Sabre had the case brought to trial as long as Wakely could get a witness. However, when judge David P. Garner arrived, he closed the case and let the men go because the only witness was a Native American.

(Red Wolf#2) - Wakely learned that some criminals planned to rob a stagecoach shipment, but he was believed to be mistaken because the stage was only carrying mining equipment. Wakely was indeed correct, and the criminals sought the dynamite from the shipment. As Red Wolf, Wakely stopped them, and Molly Brennan witnessed this, so she testified against them.

(Red Wolf#3) - John Darby's medicine show came to Fort Rango. However, the show was merely a decoy as Darby and his men sought to poison the Cheyenne water supply so they could steal their land. Wakely learned of this and tried to have Darby arrested, but it was his word against Darby's, and Sabre could do nothing without proof. Red Wolf obtained the needed proof and Darby was arrested (the rest of his crew were killed by wolves under the leadership of Red Wolf's wolf ally, Lobo).

(Red Wolf#4) - Ursa the Man-Bear used a group of bears to steal a Fort Rango provision train. This was believed to be an attack of a group of Native Americans in bear costumes. Meanwhile, a neighboring Cheyenne tribe blamed Fort Rango for a group of ponies that had been stolen, which was also an act of Ursa. Red Wolf defeated Ursa and returned the stolen property, maintaining the uneasy peace once more.

(Red Wolf#5) - Alvah Bradley and his men sought to steal the sacred land of the Cheyenne, who mistakenly blamed the troops of Fort Rango for the attacks. Red Wolf convinced Sabre (and the Cheyenne chief) to hold off on any assaults for a short time, while he led the Cheyenne to instead drive Bradley off of his own land.

(Red Wolf#6) - Colonel Sabre sent Wakely to bring in a couple of deserters, who were stealing and selling ponies from the Cheyenne, stirring up hostility between the groups even further. As Red Wolf he did so, returning them to Fort Rango for trial, as well as uncovering the involvement of the Devil Rider as well.

COMMENTS: Created by Gary Friedrich and Syd Shores.

Heart-Like-Fire was an ancestor of Thomas Fireheart, the Puma, and had a similar visual.

Later in his career, Red Wolf stopped trying to make peace with the White Man and fought against him instead. I'm betting Rafe Hacker and a few other antagonists from Fort Rango were on his list.

In the third story in Marvel Westerns: Western Legends#1 a fearful cavalry soldier told a horse thief the story of an attack by Red Wolf on Fort Rango wherein the Native American hero slaughtered half the soldiers. The soldier didn't fully believe the story himself, which is the main reason why it was left out. In the same story a Red Wolf dies and another one takes over his mantle. It is unknown if the Red Wolf dying in this story was Wakely or not.
--Markus Raymond

by Snood and Prime Eternal

CLARIFICATIONS:
No known connection to:
Fort Largo, a military base on Earth-S, @ Squadron Supreme#4


Ned Hacker

 

 

 

Ned Hacker had been a scout at Fort Rango, but when he tried to push around Sabre, his new C.O., he was thrown out from the camp. Hacker rallied a few other disgruntled soldiers to try and kill Sabre and blame it on "Injuns", but the assassination attempt was broken up by an actual attack on Fort Rango by the Sioux. Hacker fought against the Sioux, but was killed in that attack.
--Western Gunfighters#1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. Rafe Hacker

 

 

 

 

Sgt. Rafe Hacker would presumably be some relationship to Ned, but no comment is made in this regard (more likely, Friedrich forgot that Hacker had been killed, but just remembered there had been a troublemaker named Hacker). He, too, was head scout.
One of the two Hackers had nearly killed the youth who would become Red Wolf during the slaughter of his tribe. Years later, Rafe proved to be a constant source of annoyance to Johnny Wakely, who had been that very same brave.
Hacker was loud-mouthed and racist, but pretty good in a brawl.
--Marvel Spotlight I#1 (Red Wolf#1, 2, 4

 

 

 

Colonel Brett Sabre

 

 

Major Brett Sabre was the commanding officer at Fort Rango. Immediately after he arrived, he quickly whipped the disorganized troops into shape. After surviving a treacherous assassination attempt and leading them to victory over a Sioux attack, he earned their loyalty. Unlike virtually every other character in Fort Rango, Sabre was intelligent, level-headed, and open-minded.
Sabre was promoted to Colonel, apparently in the aftermath of his encounter with Heart-Like-Fire. As a colonel, he often assisted the Red Wolf in maintaining order around Fort Rango.
Sabre was a skilled horseman, marksman, hand-to-hand combatant, and military leader
Late in life Sabre became one of South Dakota's first senators. --Western Gunfighters#1 (Marvel Westerns: Western Legends#1/2, MarvSpot#1, RedWolf#1-6, Marvel Westerns: Outlaw Files

 

 








Appearances:
Western Gunfighters#1 (August, 1970) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Syd Shore (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Marvel Spotlight I#1 (November, 1971) - Gardner Fox (writer), Syd Shores (pencils), Wally Wood (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Red Wolf#1 (May, 1972) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Roy Thomas (plot), Syd Shores (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Red Wolf#2 (July, 1972) - Gardner Fox (writer), Roy Thomas (dialogue re-write), Syd Shores (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Red Wolf#3 (September, 1972) - Gardner Fox (writer), Roy Thomas (dialogue re-write), Syd Shores (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Red Wolf#4 (November, 1972) - Gardner Fox (writer), Roy Thomas (dialogue re-write/editor), Syd Shores (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks)
Red Wolf#5 (January, 1972) - Gardner Fox (writer), Roy Thomas (dialogue re-write/editor), Syd Shores (pencils), Chic Stone (inks)
Red Wolf#6 (March, 1972) - Gardner Fox (writer), Roy Thomas (dialogue re-write/editor), Syd Shores (pencils), Jack Abel (inks)
Marvel Westers: Outlaw Files (2006) - Michael Hoskin & others (writers)
Marvel Westerns: Western Legends#1 (September, 2006) - Fred Van Lente (writer), Homs (penciler), Kris Justice (inker), Mark Paniccia (editor)


Last updated: 08/19/06.

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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