Tuesday, October 27, 2009

William H. Anderson: Bring Um' Back Bill

Back in the eighteen-seventies,
within the Texas border,
was a feller' named William H. Anderson
who had a natural talent fer' law an' order.
If a stranger shot a ranger
then escaped over the hill,
they sought the man with a never quit plan,
known by some as "Bring um' Back Bill."
An' if another kind committed a crime,
a hopin' ta' make it pay,
it were a sure bet with Bill trackin' um',
he'd bring um' in ta' see a court day.
Yep, crime was mighty costly
fer' those who took the chance.
Once caught ya' see, there were options, three;
do yer' time, pay yer' fine, or take yer' place at a rope dance.
So never mistake this Bill Anderson
with the cutthroat who rode with Quantrill,
cuz' Bloody Bill took ta' killin' the innocent,
while the innocent had nothin' ta' fear from Bring um' Back Bill.
Course facts do prove that this Bill too
began the Civil War wearin' Confederate gray.
Then after some thinkin' he changed ta' Yankee blue,
switched ta' an Illinois regiment from his birth state.
Though he opted fer' Texas ta' make his home
an' take ta' wearin' the star.
Ta' be one of the best after some of the worst
was a choice he hoped would take him far.
If ya' judged by miles he truly went far,
cuz' he never stopped at the border.
From state ta' state, even Canada or Mexico,
he'd go anywhere ta' dish out law an' order.
Course Lady Luck don't follow that law,
the Law of Average is her guide.
An' we'd argue she weren't much of a lady
steppin' aside on the day that Bring um' Back Bill died.
He was given the chore ta' bring in Bill Collins,
last survivor of the Joel Collins gang.
The goal of course was ta' bring him in,
an' give him a trial before he'd hang.
Anderson gave chase, he dogged him hard
up ta' little Pembina in Manitoba, north of the U.S.
Though it looked as if Collins figured dyin' there
was jus' as easy as a rope, I guess.
Both Bill's drew their steel
an' commenced the deal
by throwin' led in the other's direction.
An' both died in the fight,
though only one in the right,
with a chance at a heavenly resurrection.
An' on that day the Good Lord may say,
I need the devil taken back ta' hell...
Send out the man
with the grit an' the sand,
none other than Bring um' Back Bill.

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