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Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild

May 13, 2019 By Leif Reigstad

He called himself the Tiger King and plastered his face on highway billboards in Texas and Oklahoma. He bred big cats, bears, baboons, and more. He lived, with a parade of partners, on the grounds of his private zoo. He threatened a rival with murder—repeatedly, on YouTube—and tried to hire a hit man to do the deed.

Life, in Dog Years

Mar 22, 2019 By Mimi Swartz

My father always pampered his pets. So when he fell ill and moved in with us, it was no surprise that his corgi came to rule our home. What I didn’t expect was for Trilby to care for me after Dad was gone.

The Love Story That Upended the Texas Prison System

Oct 11, 2018 By Ethan Watters

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.  

From the archives

The Trouble With Innocence

Mar 22, 2017 By Michael Hall

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?

Unholy Act

Jan 20, 2013 By Pamela Colloff

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.

Still Life

Jan 20, 2013 By Skip Hollandsworth

A violent tackle in a high school football game paralyzed John McClamrock for life. His mother made sure it was a life worth living.

A Kiss Before Dying

Feb 1, 2006 By Pamela Colloff

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.

Gotta Lubbock

Apr 30, 2000 By Michael Hall

Buddy Holly. Waylon Jennings. Carolyn Hester. The Hancocks. The Flatlanders. An oral history of the state's most storied music scene.

The Great, Late Townes Van Zandt

Mar 1, 1998 By Michael Hall

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.

96 Minutes

Aug 2, 2016 By Pamela Colloff

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.

Urban Cowboy Turns 35

May 14, 2015 By John Spong

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.

Breaking the Silence

Jan 30, 2015 By Eric Benson

Five Rio Grande Valley–based reporters talk about covering the drug war in Mexico over the past decade.

A Tree Is Known By Its Fruit

Dec 9, 2014 By Sonia Smith

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.

Waco Murders Collage
The Murders at the Lake

Jul 13, 2016 By Michael Hall

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.

Cops and Robbers

Sep 9, 2016 By Katy Vine

They were some of the toughest narcs on the border, known for busting smugglers, staging raids, seizing cartel cocaine—and being dirty.

The Innocent Man, Part One

Jan 21, 2013 By Pamela Colloff

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.

Leroy’s Revenge

Dec 1, 2000 By Texas Monthly

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…

Busting Out of Mexico

Aug 31, 1976 By Jan Reid

Two self-styled Texas soldiers of fortune engineered one of the more bizarre jailbreaks in history. Here’s how it happened.