We’ve been tracking General Santa Anna. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, events are starting to converge. On 18 January 1836, a rugged knife-fighter named Jim Bowie is sent by General Sam Houston to blow up a little mission/fort just outside of San Antonio de Bexar. Houston doesn’t want even the shadow of a fort in the vicinity, but gives Bowie broad discretionary powers.
On 27 January, Bowie hears from an acquaintance about the approach of the Mexican force. He decides to re-fit the mission for defense; the location is such that it will buy Houston time to get his army in order. They build up the stockades, fortify what they can, and get ready to defend.
Travis arrives at the fort on 3 February, with orders to hold at all costs. There is immediate conflict in “chain-of-command”, since neither Bowie nor Travis take kindly to subordinate positions (the film shows this beautifully). Bowie by this time is well into end-stage tuberculosis (it is believed). In true democratic fashion, a vote is called and Bowie, charismatic and well-known, wins by a wide margin. You can see it coming, can’t you.
And on 10 February, who should show up at the walls of the mission but Davy Crockett himself. Crockett has brought a number of volunteers from Tennessee. Crockett, the stuff of legends. Most of them are highly-colored. Crockett, who, upon losing his Congressional seat, told his constituents (or rather, his former constituents) that they could “go to hell, but I’m going to Texas”.
The Alamo is now staffed with 142 men.