The Parker Story
The Parkers had come to Texas in the 1830s, where they were quickly drawn into the turbulent
affairs of the time. Though their initial effort was simply to acquire land and to establish homes
and farms, they soon found that success and even their survival depended upon their active
participation in the burgeoning Texas government.
Despite that participation, however, the family's isolated outpost, Fort Parker, was attacked by
a band of Indians on May 19, 1836. Five of the fort's inhabitants were killed, and five of the
Parker family were taken by the Indians. Return traces the events which led to the attack and
the ensuing attempts by the family to recover the captured relatives.
It would be a quarter-century before the last of the five captives was returned. Years after that
last return, the story took a new twist when a Comanche warrior, claiming to be the son of one
of the captives, asked for help in finding his mother. Return follows the warrior's efforts at
locating his mother and the aftemath of his search.
Today, the Parker drama remains one of the most recognizable stories in the Southwest.
School children throughout the area hear it as part of their early education. In fact, several
schools in Texas and Oklahoma are named for two of the characters, Cynthia Ann Parker and
her son, Quanah Parker. A Texas county (Parker) and two Texas towns (Quanah and Nocona)
also bear Parker-related names.
The story has been repeated thousands of times in newspapers, magazines, movies, even an
opera. One of the best know derivatives of the Parker story is the book, The Searchers, by Alan
LeMay, and the John Wayne film of the same title. The movie is based on the efforts of James
Parker to recover his family taken at Fort Parker.
As in most such tales, the Parker story has accumulated a load of questionable baggage over
the years. Selden removes the inaccuracies that have grown up during the 175 years since the
family came into Texas. Return is an authoritative and definitive book about the lives of the
Parker family who met their destiny in frontier Texas.
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Palestine TX 75801
Phone: (903) 729-1606