Texas Matters: History & Myth Behind 'Maverick'

Dec 1, 2017

How did the family name of a founding father of Texas become synonymous with an independent-minded person?

Find out on this episode of "Texas Matters."


From 1957 to 1962, American TV viewers could turn to their TV sets and watch a different kind of western  —one that was part comedy — called "Maverick."

"Maverick" initially starred James Garner as a gambler rogue from Texas, who was as quick with his fists as he was with his wits.

The TV series and the titular character draw liberal inspiration from an actual figure in Texas history, Samuel Maverick. And it was the real Maverick that caused the eponymous adjective to the coined “maverick,” with a lower case “m.”

Historian Lewis F. Fisher explores that meaning in his book: “Maverick: The American Name That Became A Legend.” It’s published by Trinity University Press.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org or on Twitter @DavidMartinDavi