Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

No matter what the secular world keeps proclaiming, Jesus is still the reason for the season. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

James Copeland: land pirate

James Copeland the outlaw was known as a "land pirate"
Led a gang in Mississippi that were mean and irate
Adding to the gravity
He was known for depravity
And he did to the law what ladies do while they gyrate

He had rich benefactors, the family Wages
With dealings more "heathen" than painted Osages
They paid him to kill
But he never would tell
So he finally got the noose after nine years in cages

Friday, September 28, 2012

Lovers of Myra Belle Shirley: aka Belle Starr

Cole Younger and Belle fill under a spell
that lasted many a day.
He was on the run for things he had done
so they shacked up in a cabin to play.
Soon time was at hand, he rejoined the band,
leaving Belle who started to show.
Soon out popped a girl, who she named Pearl,
and it's still thought her father was Cole.
The next man to feed, a man named Jim Reed,
a robber just like the last.
The pair up and looted, then quickly scooted,
only to find they spent it too fast.
But Reed's luck was raw, and he was slow on the draw,
and so he bit the dust.
Yet it was soon found that a new beau was around,
Blue Duck now gave Belle his trust.
Their new gang would hustle the livestock they rustle,
and some would actually say these two did care.
It was proven when Blue Duck ran out of luck
and Belle did more than her share.
He was sentenced to die, the ol' "hang 'um high,"
but Belle kept the legal fight going.
There would be no noose, he was eventually cut loose,
but for Belle there would be no knowing.
Not one to tarry, Belle would soon marry
her aka namesake Sam Starr.
But their wheelin' and dealin' got them six-months for stealin',
and their romance was now from afar.
When they left jail behind, right back to the grind,
they always sought a dishonest dollar.
But Sam would soon fall, killed in a brawl,
and Belle found another man to collar.
His name was Jim July, another on the sly,
it was obvious Belle had the itch.
She packed her own gun, joined in on the fun:
today they'd just call her a "bitch."
But a life of crime dunks a soul in slime,
and there's always victims who hurt.
So when one is despised, don't be surprised,

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Abilene: wild beginnings

In the early days of Abilene
A wide open town in Kansas it would seem
They had a few who served the law
Those quick on the draw
But for the most part it was wicked and mean

You would see a gunfight pert near every day
Many came to the town honest then started to stray
Life was an oddity
And death was a commodity
For residents in Abilene in its heyday

Many a souls there quaked and quivered
Hoping by day-break they'd be delivered
The drunks had stopped drinkin'
By morning they're stinkin'
And shoot 'um ups slowed cuz' gun hands shivered

But mornings turned to noon and then to night
And hangovers gave way to the call of dance hall delight
Between dealings quite shady
They'd court a scarlet lady
And just for kicks they'd cause someone fright

Cowboys and floozies danced cheek-to-cheek
Then turned and switched partners for a whole new treat
Cowboys chose pokin'
Or opium smokin'
Yes, every known sin was on an Abilene street

Don't turn down a drink or you'll be called out
Don't be caught with a hole-card or you'll feel a clout
Keep your horse off the pool table
And your paws off Aunt Mable
And you might live to see what Abilene's all about

It was thick with thieves and moral disease
With most everybody doing just as they please
But all the disorder
Lost to law and order
But a good hoop and holler can still be heard on the breeze

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dayton Graham: Arizona Ranger

From Bisbee Sheriff to Arizona Ranger
Dayton Graham lived a life of danger
But his feud with Bill Smith
In truth not a myth
Proved that he and Stubbornness were no stranger

When Graham and Tom Vaughn first met the outlaw
They were in Douglas but their plan had a flaw
They gave Smith an inch
And he drew in a pinch
And shot down both men of the law

A bullet to the neck laid Vaughn low
To the arm and chest had Graham about to go
On Death's door he did hover
But soon did recover
And he swore to give Smith the final blow

He took to the trail and started trackin'
And found him in a saloon chip stackin'
It was hot bullet weather
As both men slapped leather
And filled the saloon with shots crackin'

At that moment he remembered some sound advice
"Don't let an outlaw ever best ya' twice"
So three shots, one to the head
Left Bill Smith lying dead
Showing if you shoot a lawman beware of the price

Friday, September 21, 2012

Bob Meldrum: a bloody-handed lawman

Legend has it Bob Meldrum worked with Tom Horn
Though his ethics were different and his morals were torn
But he got 'er done
A quick-triggered gun
Who then found himself the subject of scorn

The star that he wore was bought and paid for
By mine owners and ranchers with profits galore
So they turned a blind eye
When more men did die
Then those who were locked behind a cell door

When Meldrum killed Bowen they threw him in jail
But the Snake River Cattlemen raised his huge bail
He then chose to scram
Six-years on the lam
Justice sometimes clearly moves like a snail

He chose to surrender and go through a trial
Some think it was rigged but they did it with style
A manslaughter conviction
With prison restriction
For five to seven years, "you'll be gone for awhile"

Yet just three months later Meldrum was free
Paroled to a rancher who took custody
So his life killing men
While still wearing tin
Would fade making saddles anonymously

Robert Williamson: Three-Legged Willie

Judge Robert Williamson was known as "Three-Legged Willie"
On account of a peg-leg he had attached to the knee
It looked mighty weird
Though the man was revered
For upholding the law in Shelby County

He set-up court behind the general store
And let folks know it wouldn't be lawless no more
Some were glad
Yet some were mad
And tried their best to run him out the door

A local rowdy saw the judge and started to snicker
Then he drew and threw his pig-sticker
It impaled the bench
But the judge didn't flinch
He knew brains over braun was quicker

"This is the law in Shelby County," barked the fool
So the judge drew his pistol to over-rule
His superior show
Made the heckler eat crow
And stand with his mouth agape about to drool

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

William "Bill" Brazzleton: stage robber

Bill Brazzleton the outlaw was vicious and mean
He killed his first man by the age of fifteen
He was full of surprises
Wore many disguises
When robbing stagecoaches of gold, silver, and green

He went from a traveling show to taking the stages
Giving up honest work for other mens' wages
But with such a switch
There's always a hitch
The law wants to put them in cages

His criminal life turned out fairly brief
So the local stage lines breathed a sigh of relief
One of Brazzleton's men
Choose to betray him
And the loss of his life brought no sobs, pain, or grief

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chandler Bank Robbery: the Bill Cook Gang

When the fierce Bill Cook Gang did steal
The Chandler Bank money with zeal
The Creek Light Horse Police
Chose to release
A posse to make the gang kneel

They tailed them 'crossed the Cherokee Strip
Yet several split-off like rats off a ship
But near Supulpa was found
Two outlaws a-ground
Who quickly pulled triggers and let bullets rip

Munson and Gordon were very irate
They had thought justice was blind in this state
But the posse gun fire
Made both men expire
And go straight away to seek out hell's gate

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Kit Ross: back shooter

Kit Ross was a Cherokee half-breed
Who lived by a selfish creed
He started a feud
With an action quite rude
He rode into the Davis' house on a steed

Jonathan Davis ejected the drunk
With a few choice words, like "you skunk"
He protected his wife
Who was sick during the strife
And did not need the hassle from a punk

Davis let the event fade away
While Ross let hatred gain sway
After two years passed
Ross' time came at last
To pull the trigger on a sad sorry day

Davis said he thought there'd be snow
And Ross agreed with him... though
He then drew his piece
And two shots did release
And both to his back don't you know

It was obvious Ross had been drinking
When he gave-in to this criminal inkling
But then at Fort Smith
His plea turned to myth
He would not go free cuz' booze did his thinking

No boozer believes in responsibility
He told the jury, "they done it to me"
And the day of his sentence
Still no repentance
He'd go to his Maker still ignorant as can be

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Joe Stinson: gunslinging bar keep

From soldier to miner to bar keep slinging lead
Quick temper, quick trigger, though few ended dead
He drank away fame
Which altered his aim
He even missed a kill at point-blank to the head

Reddy McCann was the man, or so the story goes
The man was disfigured, lost part of his nose
The two had fought early
McCann came back more surly
Yet Stinson chose bullets over more manly blows

The alcohol habit did Joe Stinson in
Rye whiskey, rye whiskey -- no beer and no gin
A drink at all cost
Til everything lost
He died in a "home" piss-poor in his sin

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dutch Henry: outlaw

German born of Dutch descent his name was Henry Borne
Dutch Henry was his alias that many men would scorn
By a twist of fate
He chose the states
And became a person no one would mourn

A member of the 7th CAV, known for Custer's folly
Mustered out in the sixties, he was anything but jolly
He joined the ranks of fools
Stole twenty government mules
And he was arrested soon after, by golly

At Fort Smith he was taken and charged with the crime
Then sent off to prison to do all his time
But three months was enough
He thought it too rough
So he escaped from the grit and the grime

He soon built a rep that was second to none
A horse thief with a gang up to 300 guns
He'd send forth the word
And they'd bring in the herd
The law wanted Dutch who he kept on the run

Well, Bat Masterson finally took ol' Dutch in
Only to find out he escaped justice again
The law was encumbered
But Dutch's days were numbered
He soon found himself doing twenty in the pen

When he got out he wanted to sob
He found that progress put him out of a job
The horse was "has been"
The auto now "in"
So for the rest of his days he was a miserable slob

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Bucket of Blood: Big Steve Long and the Moyer Brothers

Big Steve Long and the Moyer's, Con and Ace
Did deeds they now wish they could erase
They should've been behind bars
But wore self-appointed stars
Which made the law in Laramie City a disgrace

The Moyer's founded the city as it stood
But turned it into their own private hood
They owned the saloon
Their outlaw cocoon
Aptly named "The Bucket of Blood"

The card games in the back room were fixed
So the Moyer's could profit from tricks
When accused of the scam
A six-shooter went "Blam!"
Til the town folk got tired of these hicks

A miner called "Hard Luck" was ambushed by Long
He wanted to rob him but things went all wrong
The gunman was shot
The miner was not
And a case could be made that he didn't belong

The fiance of Long treated his wound
Then made the decision her marriage was doomed
She told of his deeds
To the vigilantes
And their anger festered and bloomed

Boswell the rancher took charge of the mob
To put three corrupt lawmen out of a job
From the bar they were taken
In boots they were shakin'
A fair consequence after they chose to rob

The unholy trio went lickety-split
To an unfinished cabin with nooses now fit
From rafters they hung
Their Swan Song was sung
Hell hounds now chase them deep in the Pit

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thomas Riley: when a gunman quits

Tom Riley's an outlaw who knew when to quit
It began when he shot Sheriff Tim Smith then split
From Carson to Dayton
With a new posse waitin'
Cuz' Asa Kenyon spotted the fleeing nit-wit

He mounted a horse and started to ride
While the non-posse townfolk found places to hide
They shouted and pointed
Their thoughts were disjointed
They wanted to see Riley shackled and fried

Bullets were whizzing passed ears on the run
Riley dropped H.A. Comins with a shot from his gun
But with ammo now low
He chose how to go
He blew his own brains out, so the posse still won

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ned Buntline: the murder charge

A byline for Buntline came after a Navy hitch
First in Cincinnati, then to Nashville he did switch
With a sensational rag
Ned Buntline's Own mag
Where some called him, "genius," and some, "son of a bitch"

Charged with murder in forty-six, a mob took Buntline to lynch
Before a trial they grabbed a noose and tightened it to pinch
They strung him up high
But he didn't die
And the whole affair soon had a stench

They found him "not guilty" on his day in court
And the mob would now like to go back and abort
"We're sorry as heck
For the scar on your neck
We'd each like to buy you a rye whiskey quart"

Monday, September 3, 2012

Richard "Dick" Smith: outlaw

When Tom Pringle took a stroll Dick Smith gunned him down
In the Choctaw Nation, near Wheelock he was found
They say that Smith tried
The dirty deed to hide
But they found his boot print on the bloody muddy ground

Smith removed the tacks from the soles of his shoes
Trying to get away with murder by making new clues
But the holes left behind
Still matched up real fine
So they hung him at Fort Smith while singing the blues

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Texas Rangers: fugitives from San Antonio Colony

Jim Putnam, Lon Oden, and fellow Ranger John Hughes
Went to San Antonio Colony on a tip with some news
They arrested Desi Duran
Who they left with Putnam
Cuz' they saw three more outlaws bidding the town their adieus

The two Rangers chased down the bad trio
And they killed the one known as Florencio
And when they got back
They stopped a mob attack
On Putnam, who said "woe is meo"

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Texas Rangers: the Shafter Silver Mine Affair

A Shafter silver mine was watched by two Rangers
When their undercover man came out with three strangers
Their lot was now cast
So the ore thieves drew fast
But the lawmen drew faster, alleviating the dangers

John Hughes, Lon Oden, and Ernest St. Leon
Fulfilled their sworn duty, of that we can agree on
The thieves made their choice
And now lost their voice
As their blood stains the ground the cattle still pee on

Friday, August 31, 2012

Thomas Thompson and James O'Holeran: whiskey runners

O'Holeran and Thompson sold whiskey to the Chickasaw
For gold dust and pelts and a romp with a squaw
Then Thompson did kill
And throw down a well
His partner for saying he wanted it all

Now Thompson was jailed on account of the grudge
And given his turn before the Hanging Judge
He told all his lies
Then said his good-byes
Til the noose round his neck left a thick bloody smudge

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Noratto Ponce vs Sheriff Harry Morse

Noratto Ponce killed a man in a poker feud
Then he left before being arrested, how rude
So Sheriff Harry Morse
And a deputy of course
Chose to ride after the despicable dude

When they found him they all started shootin'
They fired while cussin' and hootin'
Well the outlaw was shot
And his horse... dead on the spot
But Ponce slipped away and kept lootin'

Weeks passed before Morse got a tip
To the Rojos home Ponce did slip
He tried once more to flee
But got hot lead for free
And blood from his carcass did drip

Saturday, August 25, 2012

John Stephens: ax murderer

John Stephens left the Delaware reservation
He sought witnesses with the intent of retaliation
Annie Kerr and Dr. Pyle
Had testified at his trial
So he upped his larceny to mutilation

Into the first house Stephens did creep
He found Kerr and her son sound asleep
With an ax he did culp
Leaving both a bloody pulp
Forgetting "what you sow you shall reap."

He went on to the home of Dr. Pyle
They say what he did there took awhile
He caved in two heads
Then beat their child until dead
And when he left they say he did smile

Judge Isaac Parker handled the case
That publicized John Stephens disgrace
The testimony revived
Cause Dr. Pyle's wife survived
And a noose was quickly fastened in place

Seaborn Kalijah: whiskey runner to merciless killer

Seaborn Kalijah sold whiskey to the Creek
Til he was arrested with a future now bleak
But in his bid to be free
He mutilated three
Til they caught him again and hung the merciless freak

Kid Wade: horse thief

Kid Wade was a horse thief of some renown
He took over the Middleton gang after Doc went down
But he made such a ruckus
And then escaped justice
Til and angry mob lynched him in town

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Steer Branded "Murder"

Gilliland feuded with Henry Harrison Powe
And one day they decided to go toe-to-toe
Powe went to Boot Hill
Cowboys say, "A clean kill"
And the steer with the brand tells the law what they know

A steer with the "Murder" brand
For years did wander the land
An odd Texas mystery
But true to its history
When a posse of Rangers killed Fine Gilliland

Laura Bullion AKA Della Rose: outlaw

Laura Bullion had an alias -- Della Rose
With famous outlaws she did more than just pose
With outlaws she laid
Til they taught her their trade
Until her wardrobe became prison clothes

Eugene Bunch: unlikely outlaw

Eugene Bunch was a well-educated teacher
He spoke soft and polite like a preacher
But he side-stepped his brains
And took up robbing trains
Til the law killed him in the swamp like a creature

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Jim Clark: unreformed outlaw

Jim Clark was an ex-Quantril rider
Who once tried to be a lawful gunfighter
But the Council he stoked
At his anger filled joke
"I'll kill two for two bits. Pass the cider."

Black Face Charlie: outlaw

Charlie Bryant was a recognized outlaw
Because of a physical flaw
Cuz' a fight while still young
Sent black powder from the gun
Into his face and made it quite raw

Bill Brown: outlaw

Gunmen like Bill Brown are a pity
Especially with eyesight so shitty
He sought to shoot Moore
But Ralph Tate hit the floor
So they hung him and it wasn't pretty

Charles E. Boles: Black Bart

Charles Boles was the famous Black Bart
Who uplifted stage-robbing to an art
With a hood and a duster
He proved he could muster
Enough money to bed down a tart

Friday, August 17, 2012

Death of Sam Brown

A gunman named Long-Haired Sam Brown
Put fifteen men down with a frown
Til he met his Grim Reaper
A simple innkeeper
Who left him face-up on the ground

Billy the Kid Escapes

Once when Billy the Kid was in jail
Bob Ollinger crowed without fail
Until Billy broke free
And with both barrels did he
Plug Bob like a quivering quail

Billy Breckenridge vs Curly Bill Brocius

Billy Breckenridge carried a star
They say he was fearless by far
So when Curly Bill Brocius
Began acting atrocious
Billy's bullet carved out a face scar

Leonard Brock: trainrobber

Train robber Leonard Calvert Brock
Was part of the Burrow Brothers flock
He was caught and convicted
For the things he did wicked
Then jumped to his death in the cell block

Monday, August 13, 2012

William Cowper Brann: gun toting journalist

William Cowper Brann
was a newspaper man
who seemed ta' dip his pen in acid.
His acidic editorials
caused many men ta' broil:
an' they'd swear he talked hard
cuz' his manhood was flaccid.
He ticked-off town folk
all over Texas,
first at the Tribune,
then at the Post.
But when he published his own rag,
the Iconoclast,
that's when ol' Brann
ticked-off the most.
His scathing claims
behind folks names
nearly got him roasted.
The rag was sold,
but then he got bold,
it was restarted with topics well-toasted.
Subscribers did flock
ta' the editorial shock,
they scoured it like a dime novel.
But T.E. Davis
took personal offense,
an' he swore that he would make Brann grovel.
With emotions igniting
cuz' of his type of writing,
Brann always carried a gun.
So Davis an' Brann
did an' Old West man-ta'-man:
both figured ta' see this thing done.
They drew the line
an' spoke their mind
as they stood on the streets of Waco.
Davis drew faster,
shot a round from his blaster,
an' swore that he killed the "A" hole.
The bullet drew blood,
it gushed like a flood,
it hit hard in the side an' he whirled.
Brann drew his own piece
an' four shots did release,
until Davis dropped an' curled.
Four-fer'-four with the gun
an' Davis was done:
from fair weather ta' hotter than Hell.
Brann equally died
from the wound in his side:
one acid pen caused two men ta' kill.
They say that the pen
is mightier than a sword;
but if it's ta' be wielded,
make sure you are shielded,
or you may soon spill forth your own gourd.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Gus Bogles: an onery cuss

Outlaws aren't outlaws
fer' havin' much smarts,
most are meaner than polecats
or dumber than dirt.
If they had ta' make a livin'
by honest means,
most law-breakers
would be in a world of hurt.
One such rogue named Bogles,
his first name Gus,
had a sole claim ta' fame
of bein' an onery cuss.
On June twenty-seventh,
in eighteen-eighty an' seven,
Gus killed a gent named J.D.
A railroad official
just doin' his job,
tellin' Gus he couldn't ride fer' free.
Gus wrapped a strap
around J.D.'s neck,
an' pistol-whipped the life out of him.
He stripped him near bare
of shoes, trousers, an' coat,
an' even his hat with wide brim.
They say he got on that train
without ticket ta' ride,
an' never a moments hesitation.
Leavin' behind
the corpse of J.D.
beside the rail-house station.
The law was sent forth
ta' follow the course
an' put ol' Gus in custody.
They nabbed him right quick,
an' jailed him at Fort Smith,
where Judge Isaac Parker said,
"What is yer' plea?"
They say in his cell
like a demon he'd yell:
he agitated all an' never cared.
But before the hanging judge
he plead "innocent" cuz'
down deep he really was scared.
Before a conviction
he never would say,
"I done what I done
an' would do it again."
Nor would he say,
"I done it...
an' that's a fact,
but now I'm sorry fer' my sin."
Cuz' Gus was unrepentant
throughout the ordeal,
even after he chose ta' confess.
He cared not a wit
fer' the good life he took,
just fer' his own
that he made such a mess.
Judge Parker could see
the fear in ol' Gus,
now that the tables did turn.
He chose ta' not man-up,
the choice of a coward:
now guilty an' his stomach did churn.
On July the sixth,
Gus would see his last sun:
he'd dangle at the end of a rope.
With no one ta' blame
fer' his death but himself:
he earned Hell's dunce cap as a dope.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Benjamin Bickerstaff: rebel soldier, rebel rouser

Benjamin F. Bickerstaff,
better known as "Ben,"
got his start in Sulphur Springs in the Lone Star State.
When the Civil War commenced,
Ben's kind were incensed
ta' find out killin' was their fate.
With well-trained guerrillas
Ben killed the blue-coat fella's,
an' found he didn't mind at all.
So come the end of the war,
with a chance ta' be poor,
he chose instead ta' be an outlaw.
He went back ta' Sulphur Springs
ta' do his dirty things,
cuz' he reckoned local folk would protect him.
They were rebel sympathizers,
blue-belly despisers,
an' would never back a Yankee on a whim.
When Ben met a freed slave
he sent him ta' the grave,
an' cared not a wit who knew the fact.
He rounded up near twenty men
ta' raid supply depots of the Union:
no wish ta' defend... he chose ta' attack.
In fair weather or muck an' mud
they'd steal the wares an' spill the blood:
they were an itch the Yankees couldn't scratch.
Losses put the Yanks out of sorts,
so they built-up several forts,
with three full companies ta' help with the catch.
The local folk stayed mum,
or simply acted dumb,
many were convinced Ben was a hero.
They thought he fought a cause,
an' gave him their applause,
until they found out Ben was just a zero.
When Yankee pickin's got harder
he considered himself smarter,
an' took his gang ta' the town of Alvarado.
He figured that the bounty
taken from a different county
would not cause local favortism ta' go.
He didn't take into account
when they charged in on their mounts
that the folks in Alvarado had a say.
The citizens were warned,
an' they came out fully armed,
an' several rebels bit the dust that day.
He had conned the local folk,
since his "cause" was just a joke,
he had always been in it strictly for the money.
But the locals came out smilin'
when Bickerstaff's riff raff were dyin':
somethin' they were told sounded funny.
Ben's criminal prank
was met point-blank,
the blast nearly took off his head.
Double-ought buck ta' the face
ended Ben's life in disgrace,
an' the locals were glad he was dead.

Monday, July 30, 2012

John X Beidler: voracious vigilante

Some say that German-born Beidler, John X,
would rather have a good fight than bad sex,
an' I suppose many men might say the same.
But his vigilante ways
in the wild west days
are the reason you an' I might know his name.
When the law was non-existent
Beidler was insistent,
an' never feared an outlaw face-ta'-face.
He'd take 'um one-by-one,
or with a group he'd share the fun,
an' never did he end up in disgrace.
He first plied this trade in Kansas
when cowboys over-stepped their chances:
they were boozin', breakin', an' shootin' up the town.
Their actions stuck in Beidler's craw,
who used a small Howitzer ta' draw,
an' turned every cowpoke smile into a frown.
It was loaded with printers type,
an' caused some media hype,
as he single-handedly sent them on the run.
The cowboys had fits,
fer' weeks they plucked out bits,
fer' gettin' out of hand with their fun.
From then on the high-brow ta' shanty
would be touched by the vigilante,
if any of them did what they shouldn't do.
To Montana he took his trade,
without a mask an' never afraid:
he dared outlaw's kin to come after him too.
But he never had no takers
from kith an' kin of law-breakers:
they all had heard tell of his reputation.
Beidler was squat an' he was mean,
with a walrus mustache an' a loyal team,
an' he kept his rifle closer than any female relation.
Some folks even said
he took the rifle ta' bed,
an' he knew how ta' shoot it...
of that there's no denyin'.
Beidler was a distractor
fer' the lesser criminal factor,
but desperadoes kept pushin'...
an' ended up dyin'.
When badmen stole hope,
an' good folks couldn't cope,
Beidler an' his crew would answer the call.
They never would mope,
they'd bring their own rope,
an' dish out some vigilante law.
But when a police force was hired
Beidler an' his crew retired,
they were happy ta' let progress have its day.
Yet they had done much
fer' towns in the clutch
 of badmen goin' further astray.
Sweet memory divine
of towin' the line,
an' never steppin' over the bounds.
Many criminals were pinched,
about half of them lynched:
sent down ta' be chased by hellhounds.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Charles Bassett: level-headed lawman

Any town with a level-headed lawman
has a beneficial asset.
An' one of the best
in all the West
was Charles "Charlie" Bassett.
Bassett was the first sheriff
in Ford County an' Dodge City.
With a star made of tin
he was ready ta' begin
in the summer of eighteen-seventy an' three.
Bassett's law-dog career
spanned pert' near thirty years,
an' each of them he held his head up high.
He had no fancy rig,
an' no lickety-split quick draw,
so folks often wondered why he didn't die.
I suppose it can be said,
why no outlaw shot him dead,
cuz' he kept his wits about him at all times.
In the heat of the moment
Bassett kept his cool:
choosing not ta' spark any further crimes.
When judgin' character traits,
Bassett seemed ta' be first rate,
he always surrounded himself with better men.
They weren't better at the law,
just better on the draw,
an' Bassett chose a strategy ta' use them.
He deputized Wyatt Earp,
a law dog like his brothers.
An' he backed up Ed an' Bat Masterson,
who respected him like many others.
Bassett backed Earp's play
when trackin' James "Spike" Kennedy,
the rogue who killed showgirl Dora Hand.
Yet, quite often he took the lead
when facing the outlaw breed,
his level-head was priceless in command.
Perhaps ya' might recall
a lead-slingin' brawl
between Cock-Eyed Frank Loving an' Levi Richardson.
It got down ta' the nitty-gritty,
leavin' Richardson far from pretty,
an' Bassett came on scene with a holstered gun.
Loving aimed at the chest
of the badge wearin' guest,
an' Bassett deliberately advanced.
He soon stood face-ta'-face,
of fear there was no trace,
an' seemed ta' put Cock-Eyed Frank in a trance.
At that point the killin' was done,
Bassett reached out an' took the gun,
then put on the bracelets made of steel.
An' just like every other bad gent
awaitin' justice fer' consequence,
Loving swore he was gettin' a raw deal.
But Bassett only caught 'um,
then he brought 'um in,
he never saw himself as judge or jury.
Three decades with a star,
during a time few got that far:
his body ached --
but his heart never did weary.
He now stands with the best
in a league above the rest,
where badmen will never be allowed.
He ditched danger fer' fun,
shootin' Cupid's arrows instead of a gun,
while huntin' frisky fillies in the clouds.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reese Anderson: vigilante justice

Reese Anderson ain't known fer' much in history.
He was a cowpoke who lived by the rule,
"I'll do unto you as you do unto me."
He worked fer' Granville Stuart,
who had a ranch up Montana way.
He worked hard an played harder,
an' didn't have a lot ta' say.
Cowpokin's a hard enough job as it is
without rustlers an' horse thieves an' such.
It's why ranchers like cowboys like Reese,
good men who come thru' in a clutch.
Reese up an' volunteered
ta' lead a dozen peers
throughout the Lower Judith Basin.
The bandits an' robbers,
rustlers an' thieves,
all of 'um they commenced ta' chasin'.
Many a bad hombre
chose ta' hideout
between Judith rivers an' Musselshell.
Reese an' his crew
caught twenty-three of the fools,
with a one-way ticket ta' Hell.
Ya' see, they were caught red-handed,
with cattle an' cayuse mix-branded.
And since each chose ta' play,
they now rue the day,
cuz' of what vigilante justice demanded.
Justice demanded payment in full
from takers,
who never give back.
So Reese an' his crew --
vigilant vigilantes --
made nooses ta' stretch each one's neck.
Caught with the cattle,
an' caught with the horses,
the twenty-three outlaws
had no recourse.
Ya' need not feel sorry,
an' ya' need not feel sad,
cuz' they each had a choice
an' they chose ta' be bad.
They thought honest folks
were chickens fer' pluckin',
til the noose touched their necks
then they started cluckin'.
"Forgive us,
we're sorry,
we won't sin again."
"We know that ya' won't,"
said Reese an' his men.
They swatted hind-quarters,
the horses did jump,
the outlaws all dangled,
an' half took a dump.
Well, crime isn't pretty,
an' it rarely does pay.
An' there will always be a day of reckoning...
an' that day was their day.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Malachi Allen: lost temper, lost arm, lost life

Have ya' heard of Malachi Allen?
He was just another foolish felon
who thought pure cussedness would serve him well.
He swore his life was goin' ta' Hades,
as a gunman in the eighteen-eighties,
but if it was... his choices paid the bill.
He quarreled with Cy an' Shadrach
over a saddle an' tack,
an' shot them both dead in the Chickasaw Nation.
It was the fifteenth of July
when he done in Shadrach an' Cy,
proven he cared not a wit fer' human relations.
A posse was assembled,
of his peers it did resemble,
an' Deputy Marshall McAlester led the way.
They cornered the desperado,
but peacefully he would not go,
so they fought a vicious gun battle that day.
Malachi came ta' harm
with a bullet in his arm,
he tried ta' fight but could not pull the trigger.
So he was apprehended,
his futile flight up-ended,
the posse saw the irony an' snickered.
To Fort Smith they all came,
where Isaac Parker gained fame,
as the judge who loved ta' hang 'um high.
Malachi's arm they did amputate,
another casualty of his hate,
but it did not stop his appointed day ta' die.
On the gallows he heard townfolk jest,
as they watched in their Sunday best,
cuz' a hangin' party was a big event.
Now too late ta' be undone,
the cruel acts he did fer' fun,
one final drop an' he would be Hell bent.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Erastus Yager: confession is good for the soul

Erastus Yager, aka Red,
earned his bounty with fear an' dread,
as an outlaw with the Sheriff Henry Plummer Gang.
They called themselves the Innocents,
though they'd never be mistaken fer' country gents,
cuz' they were meaner than a wounded polecat bearin' fangs.
They robbed the town of mucho money,
they killed fer' sport, an' thought it funny,
an' Yager figured he'd always have it made.
Yager wanted ta' live life large,
an' thought he could do it with Plummer in charge,
an' he'd do what he was told ta' make the grade.
He'd rob an' he'd steal,
an' shoot hot lead from cold steel,
as long as there was money fer' the takin'.
He even had no qualms
of takin' kids from moms,
if a ransom from the kin could be shaken.
But meanness trumps not intelligence,
which was lacking in most Innocents,
something Yager found out way too late.
Yager was sent with the dispatch
with the plans Plummer did hatch,
but vigilantes there did lay in wait.
In December they did hold him,
fer' his crimes they did scold him,
but they let him live while he squealed on others.
His meanness shrank away,
the coward squealed fer' days,
he blabbed non-stop about his outlaw brothers.
Fer' fear of the hangman's noose
Yager's tongue was really loose:
he spilled his guts in every conceivable way.
Twenty-six key members of the gang
were revealed when Yager sang,
an' vigilante justice was about ta' have its day.
The members fell one-by-one,
they danced in the air or dropped by the gun,
living large cost all of them their breath.
An' in Stinking Valley on January 4th,
in eighteen-sixty an' four,
Erastus Yager had his date with death.
I'm sure that Yager thought
with squealin' he had bought
his freedom from the hands of the vigilantes.
But the consequence of sin
had finally done him in,
an' he couldn't help but piss his man-size panties.
It's said, "confession is good for the soul,"
but the only ones that would know
find it hard ta' turn back an' tell.
Cuz' they're the good or bad,
the happy an' the sad,
who have already gone ta' heaven or hell.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jesse Tyler: one unlucky lawman

Perhaps some men shouldn't be lawmen.
If yer' unlucky at cards
ya' might lose yer' shirt.
If yer' unlucky at love
yer' feelin's get hurt.
But if ya' put on a badge
an' don't have much luck,
ya' best be quick on the draw
or learn how ta' duck.
Jess Tyler put on a badge
in the state of Utah.
When he first wore the star
he felt rather tall.
He tried ta' be honest,
he tried ta' be true,
he handled his duties
an' lived by the rules.
He sought cattle rustlers,
he'd chase a horse thief,
he'd dump on mean drunks
fer' spreadin' their grief.
He'd punch a loud braggart,
he'd slap a "ho's" tail,
he'd bully a bully
then slap 'um in jail.
But times they did change,
life runs many courses.
He was sued by a horse thief's wife
fer' takin' back the stolen horses.
He would trail Butch Cassidy
an' others of the Wild Bunch.
Even sought the Sundance Kid
after somebody's hunch.
While other lawmen caught the "most wanted"
an' made themslves a name,
the infamous still eluded Jess,
he captured no big game.
He then was bested by some rustlers
in eighteen-ninety an' nine.
He should have seen it comin',
he should have read the signs.
Tyler's luck was a fadin',
at this rate it couldn't last.
He was headin' fer' a casket,
an' it looked like the die was cast.
On May 16th, in nineteen-double-oh,
Tyler led a posse near Thompson, Utah.
They sought Harvey Logan an' his rustlers,
who escaped them up a draw.
They sought them near,
they sought them wide,
they'd catch a glimpse,
then they would hide.
An' the posse soon did grumble,
a few were saddle sore,
but Tyler kept them movin',
more places to explore.
They saw a camp just off a piece,
a welcomed situation.
"There's injuns a campin',
lets go seek information."
They didn't want ta' rile 'um,
an' they didn't want 'um ta' run.
Tyler an' Sam Jenkins dismounted
an' left behind their guns.
Up ta' the camp they sauntered,
they came up unaware
that it was the rustlers camp,
an' in their sites they had 'um square.
Jenkins an' Tyler turned ta' flee,
but Logan aimed an' shot.
The smoke appeared an' cordite burned,
both lawmen laid ta' rot.
Both unarmed,
both shot in the back,
Tyler's luck had run its course.
He probably felt
as he lay dyin'
like the ass end of a horse.
When ya' take upon yer' chest a star
an' ya' hunt down onery men,
you should never leave yer' guns behind,
unless ya' want yer' life ta' end.
Now the posse saw
the two lawmen fall,
an' they spurred each cayuse.
They all fled
with fear an' dread,
an' cryin', "What's the use?"
The lawmen laid upon the ground
with creepy crawlies an' critters around,
two whole days while the cowards started drinkin'.
The courage of the posse
came back when eyes were glossy,
an' they went ta' fetch the corpses --
both of them now stinkin'.

Never leave yer' guns behind, boys.
Never leave yer' guns behind.
And fer' those whose courage
          comes in a bottle --
          you'll only tarnish the stars that shine.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

William Towerly: a Billy the Kid wannabe

His name was Billy Towerly,
a Billy Bonney wannabe,
he had heard the tales of "the Kid."
Penny Dreadfuls set the stage,
an' dime novels were the rage,
where myth turned to legend beneath the lid.
Born in eighteen-seventy,
his mother thought him heavenly,
she spoiled him... though the family wasn't rich.
She should have kept him in school
ta' learn about the Golden Rule,
instead his life developed a major glitch.
Billy started to act proud,
an' run with the wrong crowd:
they taught him to make money stealin' horses.
He was just a teen,
barely even weaned,
an' had yet ta' master fillies wearin' corsets.
He may have dreamt of glory
in the Indian Territory,
but unlike Bonney he only found disgrace.
With him there was no mystery,
his first claim ta' fame in history
was shootin' Deputy Frank Dalton in the face.
Dalton laid upon the ground,
his chest had taken a round
from one of Billy's partners -- Dave Smith.
A wounded man did Billy face,
when he shot him in disgrace,
once in the mouth an' once in the head.
Another lawman named James Cole
began ta' tally up a toll,
like taking aim an' shootin' Dave Smith dead.
Cole also shot Lee Dixon an' his wife,
after failed attempts ta' take his life,
an' Towerly fled... showin' his yellow streak.
At seventeen he feared ta' roam,
so he hitched his britches an' ran back home:
when times got tough he ran back to his mother.
Billy hid out near Atoka
in this living hand of poka',
but the law called his bluff an' sent another.
Lawmen Ed Stokley an' Bill Moody
saw Billy as the booty,
an' set their minds ta' take him at all cost.
"Hands up, Billy," they did shout,
but Billy tried ta' shoot it out:
Billy tried a quick draw but he lost.
A bullet to his leg,
popped open like a keg,
another bullet quickly hit his shoulder.
Billy fell an' dropped his gun,
he knew his bid fer' fame was done,
he probably wouldn't even get much older.
To try now would just be silly,
so Stokley approached Billy,
but Billy grabbed his gun an' pulled the trigger.
To the groin an' to the heart,
Stokley thought he'd played it smart,
so two bullets in him now just didn't figure.
Stokley breathed his last,
a heart-wrenching gasp,
an' Moody swore that Billy would die the same.
Yet Billy's mother an' sis
came at Moody really pissed:
their attack made them players in the game.
A woman's work is never done
when her kid has an empty gun:
the hellcats tried ta' buy Billy time.
When the trigger-finger itches,
but his targets don't wear britches,
Moody's reason over-looked the crime.
The lawman cast the bitches off,
he saw Billy scramblin' an' did scoff,
he quickly stepped back out onto the porch.
He saw his partner dead,
an' he again saw red:
his anger was the flame an' he the torch.
Good-bye Billy Towerly,
just another Billy the Kid wannabe.
How goes it now with yer' legacy?
Yer' name is now a joke
to all the common folk,
who only write of yer' stupidity.
The boy who would be Bonney,
then ran back to his mommy --
an' she tried her very best ta' save.
He was lost from the start,
when he took the myth ta' heart,
an' made his way to an early grave. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

John Thornton: outlaw, drunk, pervert, and fool

I can't say fer' sure
but I do reckon
demons can reside in men.
They act the cur,
as if they were beckoned,
like outlaw John Thornton.
Jumbo John,
or Tub, Tubby, Tub'o'lard Thornton
was as evil as they get.
He beat his wife,
molested an' raped his daughter,
an' that ain't the worst of it yet.
The little gal
married her sweetheart pal
in a bid fer' a new life an' freedom.
But her pervert pa
clenched his jaw
an' swore ta' get between 'um.
The drunken sod,
who feared not God,
adhered to Hell's manifesto.
The honeymoon was bust,
it succumbed ta' blood lust:
John shot her with his pistol.
The trial was short,
a revenge seeking court:
"You will hang by yer' neck until dead."
On June twenty-eight,
eighteen-ninety an' two,
the noose nearly took off his head.
It was no surprise,
considerin' his size,
that his head nearly left his bod.
It was now too late,
as John met his fate,
with a new found fear of God.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cyrus Skinner: He lived cruel, he died a coward

Have ya' heard tell of Cyrus Skinner?
He was a loser,
not a winner,
though he did have his way a time or two.
With swinging double-doors,
an' sawdust on the floors,
whiskey flowing freely,
an' fantan tables too,
Skinner was a proprietor
of a couple unlucky saloons:
unlucky for patrons that is.
For most customers
the whiskey was watered,
the fantan was rigged,
an' the poker decks were marked.
The saloon girls were dirty,
the barkeep was squirrely,
an' they all looked for purses ta' pinch.
They'd take paper money,
they'd crave silver coins,
they'd sweep up the gold dust,
an' palming nuggets was a cinch.
Skinner's business sense was fair,
though in practice
not fair at all.
His tarnished rep began ta' grow
an' a certain someone came ta' call.
Sheriff Henry Plummer,
whose star was just as tarnished
as Skinner's reputation,
said, "Come out ta' Bannack,
a town in Montana,
where you will serve more than libation."
He'd serve ta' spy
on the drunk an' the high,
the miners who had information.
With whispers or shouts
they'd give up the routes,
as long as the alcohol flowed.
When there were shipments in wagons,
or stagecoach strong-boxes,
the Plummer's gang always showed.
Plummer mocked the law
by wearing a star,
an' he called his gang Innocents.
Skinner was cut from the very same cloth,
he cared not a hoot nor a holler.
He would never repent
or give recompense,
his only care was to steal his next dollar.
Skinner rarely rode with the outlaw band,
cuz' he was the inside man.
The info was key
so he had ta' stay free,
but sometimes the word came too late.
One day came the call
for a really big haul,
an' Skinner took it as fate.
He enlisted Bob Zachery,
another bad hombre,
the two of them held-up the stage.
They came down with gold fever,
they murdered the driver,
an' the townfolk heated with rage.
Two-hundred an' fifty-thousand in gold!
Neither had seen so much loot.
They were tempted ta' hide it,
an' tempted ta' run,
but they chose not ta' feel Plummer's boot.
The gang did divide it,
then kept stealin' more,
they felt unstoppable
with the "law" on their side.
Their acts became bolder,
their attitudes meaner,
killin' with sick twisted pride.
Skinner was there when a Bannack was killed,
his pal took him down in cold blood.
Then Skinner skinned the scalp off the redman
ta' place within his bar.
He didn't even clean off the crude.
But the Plummer gang had run its course,
their cruelty fueled a fire.
Vigilantes ran them down:
justice was their desire.
Plummer was caught,
then he was lynched
on the tenth of January,
in eighteen and sixty-four.
The gang tried ta' run,
but was caught one-by-one,
an' the citizens swore
this was the end.
Skinner believed there was no evidence
that linked him to the Innocents,
so he brazenly stayed at the bar.
But when men are about
ta' have their necks stretched
they'd even sell out their mothers.
Skinner's name
was attached ta' much blame,
thanks ta' his outlaw "brothers."
He was given a gift
on the twenty-fifth,
a necktie made out of hemp.
He broke free an' did run,
he begged, "Please shoot me with yer' gun."
He cringed in fear of the noose.
His captors said, "No.
You chose this show.
Your cruelty cooked yer' own goose."

Friday, June 22, 2012

Belle Siddon: Gambler, Pal Gal, Madame

Belle Siddon,
aka Madame Vestal,
aka Lurline Monte Verde,
was at first dealt a good hand
from well-to-do stock,
an' she was highly educated in Missouri.
But times, they do change,
Civil War took the reins,
an' many a plan became blurry.
From Southern lass
to Confederate spy,
Belle parlayed her status
for information with lies.
But wars go away
an' loyalties change,
an' Belle later married
a U.S. Army sawbones:
stationed down Texas way.
Stayed as true as she could
til his last breath did pass,
then found she must fend fer' herself.
No trophy wives then
like there is today,
Pride had some sway
an' Belle filled her own shelf.
She had a knack fer' gambling,
an' ran a few casinos
in Wichita, Denver, and Deadwood.
Supply and demand
always goes hand-in-hand:
clean cards,
dirty women,
straight whiskey.
And if she was cheatin... she was good.
Lawmen an' badmen,
both gunmen fer' hire,
sought Lady Luck in Belle's place.
They'd gamble an' cuss,
drink sour mash an' fuss,
pinch bottoms
an' get a slap 'cross the face.
If Lady Luck's a no show,
they'd bed them a "ho,"
or belly on up ta' the bar.
They'd swear off of gamblin',
but always return,
even if the trip was quite far.
Once a Southern Belle
not always a Southern Belle,
she knew all her needs
an' did fill 'um.
But she still was a woman,
a romantic at heart,
an' fell hard when Cupid came callin'.
Yet her choice of men
in her new life an' trade
would even cause whores ta' start bawlin'.
Archie McLaughlin,
notorious robber,
he craved the strong-box from the stage.
Yet robbing ain't easy
with love in the mix
cuz' Archie would tell Belle his plans:
after all, she'd been a spy.
But Belle's tongue had loosened
since the days of the war.
With too much ta' drink,
or in a rage,
Belle would speak out of turn.
Her slip of the tongue
sent vigilantes on the run,
an' they caught up with Archie
still ridin' the stage.
They brought the noose.
Arch brought the neck.
They had themselves a "necktie party."
Out in the boonies,
swingin' from a tree,
that was the end of "poor" Archie.
Belle took it hard,
he was dead cuz' of her,
an' how could she love a dead lover?
She wept out of grief,
she needed relief,
she wanted to hide undercover.
Deadwood's a place
where you pick yer' poison...
an' Belle, she soon was addicted.
She tried ta' forget
her disgrace an' lost love.
She traded her memories fer' opium.
Then off ta' the coast,
San Francisco was calling,
time ta' begin again.
Belle thought she knew what she wanted,
but she was still haunted:
Pain had hitched a ride.
For lack of her lover
she puffed on the pipe.
They found her sprawled out
in the opium den...
on the night that she died.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jim and John Reynolds: Good men to Bad men

If ya' push men far enough,
they just might break.
Arrest good men on false charges,
they just might take.
Jim and John Reynolds
from down Texas way,
traveled North ta' Colorado,
near Bayou Salado,
'bout eighteen-sixty an' three.
They were a dandy pair,
had money ta' spare,
yet no visible means of support.
Of course, that's what the townsfolk say.
There weren't a speck of evidence
ta' prove the claim, "they're highwaymen."
But they did -- apparently --
commit the crime of coming from Texas.
Lone Star boys
with Confederate noise
found themselves interred
in this Northern Territory.
Shipped away ta' Denver
as Southern sympathizers,
their money taken by the town collaborators,
or "justified" legalizers.
The brothers hated lock-up,
so bust out they did...
and skedaddled.
Back home ta' the Lone Star.
They weren't Confederate,
but now they are:
signed on as irregulars.
The Colorado Yankees
with their legal hanky-panky
had no notion
that they're about ta' get the spurs.
Like burrs beneath a saddle,
or snakes that slither and rattle,
the Reynolds Brothers recruited a gang.
Well, back North they did ride.
They did plan ta' hit and hide.
Their first hit took down
forty-thousand in gold.
The brother's claimed it for Jeff Davis:
the South needed the loot.
But a dozen members of the gang
chose dollars over loyalty:
took a share and did scoot.
Legend has it,
the brother's buried the rest.
And they would add
a lot more to the cache.
Hatred hollowed out their hearts
over the way they were mistreated.
A string of robberies followed,
it eased their pain a pinch...
like another pinch of gold dust --
ten thousand dollars worth.
But like any other gamble
luck would run its course,
and cards were dealt
that turned a losing hand.
In the Spring of sixty-four
one member was no more:
sent before his Maker with hot lead.
Jake Stowe and Brother John
still free ta' mosey on.
Yet Brother Jim
and four more men
were caught,
and sentenced ta' life.
Some Yankees felt justice was ill-served.
They felt that Johnny Rebs
should rate a rope.
Colonel John Chivington,
of the 3rd Colorado Cavalry,
stepped in
an' gave Southern haters hope.
He convened a second (secret) trial
that lasted just a little while
an' off ta' Ft. Leavenworth he sent the five.
The chosen troops
or guardians
came right back in a few days...
on a trip that should have lasted weeks.
Captain Cree and his troops
said the Rebs did try escaping.
They shot them down when they were on the run.
But their story had some holes,
some rather gaping,
the famous scout Dick Wooten
found the prisoners were killed for fun.
The cons were lashed ta' trees,
near a ghost town,
The bodies were shot ta' hell,
laden down with lead.
The order came from Chivington,
but the people had their doubts.
A fine upstanding officer,
even a Methodist minister.
"No," they said,
"He's not a man ta' fear."
But three months later
Chivington was responsible
for the infamous Sand Creek Massacre --
which changed the minds of many
over the earlier affair.
nothing was done.
Brother John stayed away
for seven long years.
He came back North
for the cash that he did stash.
But he tried ta' make another killing,
a few more robberies ta' be filling
his coffers up as high as they would go.
Til bullets finally found him,
he went like Brother Jim:
down ta' Hell ta' be reunited.
But they say as John lay dying
he told a drunk a secret:
he told him where ta' seek to an' fro.
But the piss-poor outlaw,
a fellow named Brown,
drank away his memory.
He never found the cache,
an' the legend was bound ta' grow.
So if ya' crave an' adventure,
an' ya' want ta' find some gold,
cruise up ta' Handcart Gulch an' Spanish Peaks.
There's a hefty treasure waiting,
though it might cost ya' yer' soul --
like it cost the Reynolds Gang,
an' those damned Yankees, don't ya' know.