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Rustler's Gallows

Updated on March 3, 2016

By: Wayne Brown

They hemmed me up in Cedar Canyon, a posse of ten men

Chasin’ down a cattle rustler, intent on bringin’ my hide in

In the end, it doesn’t matter how good you are with a gun

With a posse of this size, you’re out numbered by ten to one



The Sheriff yanked me from my hidey hole all covered in dirt

Tied me in my saddle then started my horse trotting with his quirt

We’re bound for that Northfolk calaboose to wait for my court date

Then a jury will decide if hangin’ or freedom shall be my fate



This old jail cell is mighty small and the bed is past worn any use

If I had any friends left maybe they’d break me out of this calaboose

But my friends are long since dead, either they were hanged or shot

When you take to rustling cattle, that grisly fate is often a poke’s lot



Ol’ Slim got caught up in WebsterCounty red-handed with a herd

Them pokes threw a rope over a limb; hung without even a word

Charley Watson got smoked right out in the open movin’ a few cattle

One shot from a buffalo gun took him dead right out of his saddle



Some folks say I’m lucky, the only living one left from the gang

Others say they can’t wait to see me climb the gallows to hang

Stealin’ cattle don’t endear a man to his neighbors and friends

One day you’re ridin’ high and livin’ good; then it all quickly ends



That judge sittin’ up on the court bench don’t look like no easy sort

We’re waitin’ now for that jury to come back with their final report

Now here they come filing back in; each one looking for his seat

All their faces are wrinkled and hard, their eyes and mine can’t meet



Now the judge is passed the verdict on a paper from their hand

He raps his gravel and the Sheriff says that everyone must stand

The judge glances at the paper and then he looked me up and said

John Henry Jones, guilty say they, I say you hang until you’re dead



I hear the workers hammering the nails as the gallows they do erect

Seems like a whole lot of trouble to go to just to stretch my fool neck

But that’s neither here nor there; I am guilty of my choices so they say

Tomorrow this bunch is gonna hang me just as the sun is breakin’ day



The morning sun is rising with golden rays bringing the light of day

They’ve got me dressed and in my boots and soon I’ll be on my way

I’ll make that last climb up the gallows steps where the rope there awaits

They’ll slip it round my neck, the trap will drop, and I will meet my fate



So listen close all you young cowhands; listen closely to my last word

Don’t you rob, cheat, kill, or steal another man’s cattle from his herd

For if that becomes the life you choose, one day you will come to see

How soon you will climb these gallows, take the rope, and follow me



© Copyright WBrown2010. All Rights Reserved


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