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.

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