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.