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Updated on October 17, 2012

By: Wayne Brown

Whippoorwill’s call breaks the silence of the night

The blazing sun’s last rays are just a dim horizon light

Campfire coffee slowly boils in a worn old tin pot

Side-meat jerky will have to do, it’s all that we’ve got

We wash our necks in the nearby cool-running stream

Saddle up our horses and harness up those teams

A new day on the trail movin’ freight by wagonload

Ridin’ shotgun escort to fight off robbers on the road

We’re three days out on a four day run to Santa Fe

On a trail that follows the sun in along a westerly way

Just one more night of skirting the wild Indian Nation

Before we arrive safely at the ol’ Santa Fe way-station

‘Gold Rush Johnny’ is drivin’ the lead wagon on this run

Ol’ Jack Sprinkles is riding beside with his trusty shotgun

I’m settin’ a saddle mare and closing up the dusty rear

Bound and determined to get the freight on out there

That ol’ sun soon begins to set like it always seems to do

We bed down for our last night and try to get a wink or two

We’re makin’ good time; by tomorrow’s sunset into Santa Fe

Sure don’t need no trouble in the miles yet along our way

Bedded down on my saddle roll lying flat on my back

I watch the yellow moon climb the sky along a starry track

This is a dangerous land but the night sky welcomes us all

I watch a shooting star go by then into a light sleep I fall

Morning comes with a light rain, clouds roll about the sky

Wind is out of the west, tumbleweeds rolling quickly by

The rain is a welcome sight to me; less dust ridin’ the rear

Time now to pack it all up and get this freight out of here

The robbers hit when least expected; just outside of Santa Fe

Rode right down on us out of the rocks in the bright light of day

Shouting and shooting, trying to everything to raise our fright

Thinking we would run rather than stand our ground and fight

Jack Sprinkles dropped the first as he rode toward the wagon

Shot-gunned him from the saddle and left him stirrup-draggin’

By now ol’ Jack Sprinkles had the lead wagon at all out full run

My mare runnin’ with her head as I had both hands full of gun

An outlaw bunch short on brains and even worse with a gun

They chased us on the fly as we whittled at them one by one

When I fired my Henry and sent the third of six to the ground

Three pulled up hard on the chase and headed off eastbound

Ridin’ into Santa Fe, I trotted the mare up front from the rear

Jack Sprinkles just grinned as I went by, his shotgun ready there

“You’re a mighty fine shot, Mr. Sprinkles, you saved our butt again”

“You ain’t so bad yourself,” He replied then gave me a quick grin

We hit the way-station in Santa Fe with all the freight in hand

Safe but tuckered plum out from the trek across the badland

A few days rest and we’ll pack it up; head back the other way

Headin’ on back to St Joe, with some freight from Santa Fe

©Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved.

17 October 2012


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    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @50 Caliber....The only toy I remember was what we called a "double-barrel stopper gun". It had two barrels and it shot corks attached with strings to the barrel. Thanks much, Dusty! ~WB

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Wayne, you really brought this home, I can't imagine kids playing anything but cowboys and Indians, you really did large here, I always wanted to shoot a feller with a double barrel, as a kid. I really thought the old side by side was the best. Don't recall for sure, but I don't remember them making a toy side by side, I reckon they would sold a bunch.

      Thanks for a great tale, voted up,


    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @BlossomSB....I wish I could have shared it with him. Thanks much! ~WB

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      6 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Fascinating! My Dad would have loved this!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Gypsy Rose Lee...Thank you and thanks for sharing it. Lots of fans of the old west so you are in good company! ~WB

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      I really enjoyed this. Voted up and awesome. Love the wild, wild west. Passing this on.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @ladyjane1....Great to hear from you. I thought maybe you had gone off to Hollywood! You know how I like those western tales so it comes a bit easier there. Thanks much! ~WB

    • ladyjane1 profile image


      6 years ago from Texas

      I still love the way you tell a story pal. good job Cheers to you!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @teaches12345....Thank you! So glad you enjoyed it. ~WB

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Just what I like, a story of the old west with cowboys and robbers and trains. I love it! You had me pulled in here, Wayne. Great story from a talented writer. Voted up!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @ImKarn23....I think part of the interest of those times was how apparent it must have been to anyone at the time how responsible they were for their own survival. People had to be tough and face whatever life brought them. Like the outlaw, Josey Wales, said, "When things get that way, you got to get mad-dog mad." We've come a long way since Henry Ford rolled his first car off the assembly line and gave man an alternative to riding a horse or wagon....but we'll never be a tougher lot than back in those days. Thanks much! ~WB

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 

      6 years ago

      Mmmmmm...i swear that in my last life i was a cowgirl - and even tho i was born in canada in the coldest freakin' city in the world - i'm still mostly cowgirl with a little bit of bikergirl tossed in for good measure!

      I would LOVE this trek - other than the bad guys of course - but - i'd feel so safe with you and Mr. Jack Sprinkles..

      Sharing with the hub-munity...

      miss ya, Waynexx

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @tirelesstraveler....So glad you enjoyed it...a very intriguing time where just staying alive was a daily chore. Thanks much! ~WB

      @Phyllis Doyle...Thanks so much. I really enjoy writing on the subject if I can just continue to find more angles. ~WB

      @breakfastpop...Thank you. I have the same I've lived in that time. ~WB

      @The Frog Prince....Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it! ~WB

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      6 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Well told in the Wayne Brown way.


    • breakfastpop profile image


      6 years ago

      When I was a kid, I was hooked on westerns. Sometimes I think that in a former life I was a pioneer. Your stories and poems bring it all back to me. You are awesome!

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Wayne, I love your poems about the old west and camping out under the big sky. Reading your poetry and short stories is truly a pleasure. This one really takes the reader to a different place and time. Well done, Mr. Brown!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      Love the wild west. People were resourceful and didn't put up with riff-Raff. Apparently my great grandparents crossed the prairies in a wagon train.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @CMerritt...Thanks so much, Chris. The old west always gets a good response...think I'm gonna have to write about the same things two or three times! LOL! ~WB

      @Diana Lee....Thanks much, Diana. So glad you found it entertaining. ~WB

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 

      6 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      I enjoy your poems, Wayne. It's a great way to tell a tale. I'm always drawn to a good western.

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Dog Gone it Wayne, I love it!

      As you know me by now, I LOVE the old west......this one is first class!

      I was actually right there with them, as I read stuff.


    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @drbj...Wow! The buying power of a quarter! I can remember going to the movie with a dollar, paying admission, buying popcorn, a pickle, and a drink, and coming away with change...that doesn't happen with a $20 bill today! Thanks much, Doc! ~WB

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      Loved this, Will. Very realistic. I grew up watching Hopalong Cassidy at the Saturday morning movies. He never met a bad guy he couldn't kill. But he was fair, never shot anyone in the back.

      BTW - My dad gave me a quarter every Saturday to see a movie, buy popcorn, and pay for a bus ride both ways. Those days are gone forever. :)

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @rcrumple...It is hard for me to imagine kids of today not having that particular entertainment. I still love watching the old black and white westerns. Sometimes they are a bit corny in spots but still fun. Glad that I could tell a story in verse that held your interest on the subject. Thanks much! ~WB

    • rcrumple profile image


      6 years ago from Kentucky

      Wayne - Growing up in the days of western movies in abundance, this reminded me so much of a great film. To maintain the great tale of the West and keep the prose was a true statement of your talent, my friend. I thoroughly enjoyed this! Great Job!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @writer20...Thank you, Joyce. I always know that I am on the right track when I catch your attention! ~WB

      @34th Bomb Group...I know what you mean! I love the old west and this sure comes a lot easier! LOL! Thanks much! ~WB

      @fpherj48...LOL! That's about it! Thanks much! ~WB

      @GClark...Thank you for continuing to pay attention. I do appreciate your kind words! ~WB

    • GClark profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Absolutely wonderful imagery created with your words! You are such a talented writer - thanks for continuing to share.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Wow....It sure was dangerous back then, being a UPS man!!! ... UP+++

    • 34th Bomb Group profile image

      34th Bomb Group 

      6 years ago from Western New York State

      Thank you! A nice break from all the "serious" stuff and I, too, love the Old West angle.

      Keep it up!!

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Your story that's how I thought it, is great. I loved it.

      Voted up and awesome, Joyce.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Genna East...Thank you! I started writing this one a long while back and sort of laid it aside. I ran across it the other day, read the first verse and knew that it had to be finished. Glad that I did...I was needing to do something western! ~WB

      @lrc7815...Last night's debate just did not punch my buttons. I didn't care for the format....too much left hanging. I really did not get the impression that there was any real impact from it as a result. My greatest inspiration from it was to write a letter to Candy Crowley but I got over that! LOL! Anyway....this held my attention and inspiration to a greater degree. Glad you enjoyed it, Linda! ~WB

      @Jackie Lynnley....Thank you! You would probably also like my poem entitled "Horse Thief" if you get a chance to read it. It is one of the featured items on my profile. I really like writing about the old west but I've to give a rest to rekindle my inspirational juices a bit. So glad you liked this one! ~WB

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Love great stories set in poem. This is right up my alley. Great job!

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      6 years ago from Central Virginia

      Wayne, I was anticipating your take on the debate and look what I found! I love the old West so this was way up there on my lists of pleasures. I love it. Great job sir!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I love the western theme. Between you and Will Starr, I always look forward to reading your hubs about the old west. :-) There is so much realism to this poem, I felt I was there – or wished I was in my imagination until the bullets stared to fly. This was exciting and poignant in a straightforward way that said much more! Up ++.


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