The maple leaf flag of Canada.

The Queen's Cowboys - a Victor comic series.

featuring the North-West Mounted Police, the forerunners of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The badge of the North-West Mounted Police.
The badge of the North-West Mounted Police. Their motto (and the R.C.M.P.'s) is, Maintiens le Droit - Maintain the Right.

See The Victor issues 229 - 241 (first series entitled Boot and Saddle). Series reprinted in issues 859, 861, 862, 863, 864, 865, 866, 867, 869?, 871, 873, 875, 877, 879, 881, 883, 884, 885, 888, 889, 890, 892, 893, 896. (note the stories did not appear in consecutive issues. The re-printed second series was also published under the title Boot and Saddle).

Second series issues 481 - 494, (second series entitled The Queen's Cowboys).

Writer:- J.T. Edson. (Edson based his stories in this series, on actual events and people. Although I'm not sure that Tex Yandel ever existed).

Artist:- Vicente Ibáñez Sanchis?.

Main cast:- Colonel (Commissioner French; Commissioner MacLeod; Constable (later Corporal, then Sergeant) Tex Yandel; Superintendent Samuel Benfield Steele; Jerry Potts and Sandy MacTavish, scouts; plus others.

Time period:- Late 19th century.

The above map is from the end page covers of the book The Royal Canadian Mounted Police. (Kelly, 1973).

It is often assumed that the Mounties motto is, ‘The Mounties always get their man’, but in fact their motto is ‘Maintain the Right.’ In both of these series, the Mounties always get their man and always Maintain the Right. These two series tell the stories of the North-West Mounted Police and their efforts in bringing law and order to the harsh and wild lawlessness area of north-west Canada. The first series, ‘Boot and Saddle’, follows the origins of the force, whilst the second series, ‘The Queen’s Cowboys,’ follows the forces later trials and adventures in the late 19th century. Whether it be negotiating with Indian tribes moving from America to Canada, the North-West Rebellion, a train robbery or just everyday policing problems, for example, maintaining law and order within railway construction camps.

Neither series revolves around one central figure, rather it is a rotating cast, different characters passing through each weeks episodes as required. The stories are based on real events and people such as Superintendent Samuel Benfield Steele, Commissioner Macleod, Jerry Potts, scout and so on. Constable (later Corporal, then Sergeant) Tex Yandel is the nearest the two series gets to having a central character. (I haven’t though been able to verify if Yandel was a real person).

Although, some of what happened in these episodes is probably based loosely on events. For example, the story involving Bugler Bagley and his attempt at retrieving stampeding horses scared by a thunderstorm, actually happened. Although, whether Bagley tangled with cowboys as portrayed in the episode, (which can be read below), may not have happened. It might be that this incident was added by the writer to provide extra excitement. The incident is described in the Kelly book, The Royal Canadian Mounted Police thus, 'Young trumpeter Bagley had ridden with the older men and was fast asleep in the saddle when his horse delivered him back to camp, so exhausted from twenty-four hours without food or rest that he had to be lifted down and put to bed. Bagley coveted an unusual buckskin with a black streak along its back, although he knew that another man had chosen it first. When the horses were assigned the young trumpeter arranged to be "guarding" it. He got the animal, also the reputation of being a horse thief." (p.27-28 Kelly, 1973).

Each Victor issue always featured two pages of a story (the centre pages), in ‘colour’. The 'colour' consisting of just the one colour, red! Strangely, these two North-West Police series featuring the Mounties (who wear red coats), were only published on the central 'colour' pages on a few occasions.

The stories are good and the artwork excellent. This is one case where the true stories were better than fictional plots. (For me I always remember the flowing locks of hair on the bare headed characters. The hair always had the appearance of being gelled. It's these images that I always remember about this artist's work. The two series made a visual impact on my mind. This was because of the artwork and stories and my interest in the Mounties.

The North-West Mounted Police - a very brief historical time line of facts from 1873 to 1904.

  • 1873 - On the 23rd May a bill was passed by the Canadian Government allowing for a police force to be established in the North-West territories. The North-West Mounted Police (N.W.M.P.), came into being consisting of three hundred men. Lieutenant-Colonel French becomes the first Commissioner of the N.W.M.P.
  • 1874 - On the 8th July the Force headed west, destination the forks of the Belly and Bow Rivers, the supposed location of 'Fort Whoop-Up', where the whiskey traders were illegally operating from. The march was long and arduous, with many animals dying. Reaching the locations between the two rivers, they failed to locate 'Fort Whoop-Up.' They also found the surrounding land was very inhospitable, with little pasture for the animals. They needed to find pasture fast and luckily they found the nearby Sweet Grass Hills. Thus The march west ended on the 18th September, after marching 1,009 miles. MacLeod learned the true location of 'Fort Whoop-Up' (it was situated between the fork of the Belly and St. Mary's rivers) and arrived there on the 9th October, to find it empty. Fort MacLeod was established in the broad loop of the Old Man's River. This became the permanent home of the N.W.M.P. in the Canadian West.
  • 1876 - Sitting Bull, the leader of the Sioux Indians, retreated into Canada from the U.S. after the Battle of Little Big Horn. This resulted in a meeting of all parties at the N.W.M.P. Fort Walsh, which led to a peaceful solution.
  • 1885 - The North-West Rebellion. This was caused by the threat of starvation to the Indians, caused by the disappearance of the buffalo. The Metis (Indians and French Canadians of mixed blood), were also discontent as they feared they would lose their lands due to the speard of settlement. Louis Riel was invited back to Canada to lead their negotiations with the Government. The rebellion broke out in March. The rebellion was short lived as the rebels were soon defeated at various locations. There had been talk of disbanding the N.W.M.P. but with the crushing of the rebellion, the Force's strength rose to 1,000 men.
  • 1904 - The force was re-named the Royal North-West Mounted Police.
  • 1920 - The force becomes known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.)


    For a much more detailed history of the N.W.M.P. please visit NWMP Museum.

    Brief biographical facts about some of the people mentioned in the series.


    The stories below are from issues 864, 873, 489 and 494 respectively.

    Artist unknown. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist unknown. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist unknown. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd

    Artist unknown. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist unknown. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist unknown. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd

    Artist unknown. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist unknown. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist unknown. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd

    Artist unknown. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist unknown. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist unknown. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist unknown. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd


    Kelly, Nora and William The Royal Canadian Mounted Police: A Century of History.- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: Hurtig, 1973.- 318p.- ill.- index.- Bibliography.-

    Ross, David and Robin May The Royal Canadian Mounted Police 1873 - 1987.- London: Osprey, Men-at-Arms Series, 1988.- 48p.- ill. colour plates of the uniforms.-

    © Adrian Banfield, 2009.