Stephen Willeford had just taken a bite of chocolate cake when the stranger approached. It was a warm evening in August, and Willeford was eating at Baldy’s American Diner, just a few miles from his home in Sutherland Springs. He was in a dark corner of the restaurant, out of sight of other patrons in the main dining room, but the stranger and his wife happened to pass by on their… Read Story
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Beaver Aplin built the quirky convenience chain into a Texas empire. Will his tactics translate outside the state?
Put your feet up and settle in for our favorite longform of the year.
One year ago, after Stephen Willeford disrupted the mass murder at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, he was hailed as the ultimate good guy with a gun, but he's still reckoning with what happened that day—and what his life has become.
In 1967, a 56-year-old lawyer met a young inmate with a brilliant mind and horrifying stories about life inside. Their complicated alliance—and even more complicated romance—would shed light on a nationwide scandal, disrupt a system of abuse and virtual slavery across the state, and change incarceration in Texas forever.
How prosecutors tied a brazen murder in an upscale Dallas suburb to one of Mexico’s most violent criminal organizations.
A year after Hurricane Harvey brought Houston to its knees, the city is still wrestling with how to prepare for the next great storm. There’s no shortage of good ideas, but in Houston, that’s never been the problem.
Jeff Henry often said that his goal in life was to make customers of his family’s legendary water parks happy—“to put a smile on their faces, to give them a thrill or two.” It was a beautiful vision. Until it went horribly wrong.
Five decades ago, Myrtis Dightman broke the color barrier in professional rodeo and became one of the best bull riders who ever lived. But his imprint on the sport was only just beginning.
Beginning in 2015, Houston was plagued by a series of brutal armored car robberies that bewildered FBI agents for nearly two years. To finally bring down the unassuming mastermind behind it all, the agents had to stage an elaborate trap—and catch him in the act.
He was a highlight of Austin’s creative community and, in death, a spotlight on the city’s problems with race.
In 2014, Russell Bonner Bentley was a middle-aged arborist living in Austin. Now he’s a local celebrity in a war-torn region of Ukraine. His journey reveals a troubling development in Putin’s information war.
Remembering "The Alamo" through souvenir shot glasses, John Wayne toilet paper, and the family that brought the 1960 classic to Texas.
From the archives
A tale of love and loss on the Plains.
For almost forty years, Kerry Max Cook did everything to clear his name after being convicted of a horrifying murder in Tyler. So when he was finally exonerated, why did he ask for his conviction back?
No one in McAllen saw Irene Garza leave Sacred Heart that night in 1960. The next morning, her car was still parked down the street from the church. She never came home.
A violent tackle in a high school football game paralyzed John McClamrock for life. His mother made sure it was a life worth living.
Forty-five years after Betty Williams was shot to death by the handsome football player she had been secretly seeing, her murder haunts her Odessa high school—literally.
Buddy Holly. Waylon Jennings. Carolyn Hester. The Hancocks. The Flatlanders. An oral history of the state's most storied music scene.
More than a year after his death, he’s still being remembered as the best Texas songwriter of his time. This month’s star-studded Austin City Limits tribute shows why.
Miranda Lambert has a lot to be happy about—she’s recently married, with a brand-new album and a string of hits that has made her the toast of Nashville. So why is she so twangry?
At 11:48 a.m. on August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman began firing his rifle from the top of the University of Texas Tower at anyone and everyone in his sights. At 1:24 p.m., he was gunned down himself. The lives of the people who witnessed the sniper’s spree firsthand would never be the same again.
It was part musical, part dance movie, and part love story, and in June 1980 it unleashed an unprecedented fervor for country music, Western wear, and, yes, mechanical bulls. More than three decades later, the film’s stars (including John Travolta, Debra Winger, Mickey Gilley, and Johnny Lee) and many Gilley’s regulars recall the movie that made America fall in love with Texas.
Five Rio Grande Valley–based reporters talk about covering the drug war in Mexico over the past decade.
When the 85-year-old matriarch of a prominent pecan-farming clan in San Saba was murdered, her death shook the town—and exposed how obsession and greed can fell a family from within.
In 1982 three teenagers were killed near the shores of Lake Waco in a seemingly inexplicable crime. More than three decades later, the tragic and disturbing case still casts a long, dark shadow.
They were some of the toughest narcs on the border, known for busting smugglers, staging raids, seizing cartel cocaine—and being dirty.
The National Magazine Award–winning story about Michael Morton, a man who came home from work one day in 1986 to find that his wife had been brutally murdered. What happened next was one of the most profound miscarriages of justice in Texas history.
Michael Morton spent 25 years wrongfully imprisoned for the brutal murder of his wife. How did it happen? And who is to blame?
Four seldom visited areas of Texas prove to be proudly beautiful and almost inaccessible.
Leroy’s Revenge Otis Crater was late for the fanciers’ organizational meeting at the Cherokee Lounge for good reason. He had just stabbed a U-Totem attendant following a discussion of the economic impact of a five-cent price increase on a six-pack of beer. Crater kicked open the lounge door and bounced…
Two self-styled Texas soldiers of fortune engineered one of the more bizarre jailbreaks in history. Here’s how it happened.
That’s what country music is, and that’s why it plays in Peoria.