Texas Secessionists Standoff

The 1997 Republic of Texas "War"

978-1-64843-098-5 Cloth
6 x 9 x 0 in
336 pp. 43 color, 8 b&w photos. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 01/03/2023


  • Cloth $36.00

On April 27, 1997, Richard Lance McLaren and his followers in the so-called “Republic of Texas (ROT)” militia held Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe hostage inside their own home at the Davis Mountain Resort, near Fort Davis, Texas, and demanded the release of jailed ROT members Jo Ann Turner and Robert Jonathan Scheidt. McLaren’s demand initiated a seven-day standoff with local law enforcement and the Texas Rangers that came to be called the “Republic of Texas War.”

Opening with a foreword by the FBI negotiator who served as an on-site consultant throughout the crisis, author Donna Marie Miller presents the first full-length book treatment of the events leading up to McLaren’s “declaration of war” and its aftermath. The result is an absorbing account of manipulation by a leader as charismatic as he was deluded; of misinformed individuals motivated by desperation who aligned themselves with an extremist; and of law enforcement officials caught in the tension between their duty to protect the public and their desire to avoid a repeat of disasters like those at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Texas.

Central to the story is Jo Ann Turner, a frantic woman drowning in debt who was drawn into the false ideology espoused by McLaren, which eventually led to her personal undoing. Based on archival research and interviews with persons involved—including McLaren, who has been incarcerated since 1998—this riveting account provides a multifaceted perspective of the historical incident and a detailed chronicle of a modern American anti-government militia, its victims, and the events that led to its eventual downfall.

The Texas Experience, Books made possible by Sarah '84 and Mark '77 Philpy

Published by Texas A&M University Press