This poem features a true Western character that met a bad end...Tom Horn

Tom Horn

To ride the range all day
Running cattle did not pay
You searched more for a thrill
Then you found it in the kill

Scouted for Uncle Sam
Sought those who were on the lam
Apache tongue you know
Helped take down Geronimo

Pinkertons hired you then
Paid you well to hunt for men
You seemed to lust for blood
Came later in a flood

You done it all old son
Made a living by the gun
Chased outlaws on the trail
Tracked hard men and did not fail

Wyoming was your home
Far from there you did not roam
Big ranchers ruled the land
Foreign money in their hand

Homesteaders came to stay
Free land called those far away
Land barons paid your bills
You shot settlers from the hills

You warned them to clear out
If they stayed there was no doubt
That soon they would be dead
From ambush filled with hot lead

Winchester ‘94
Did your dirty work and more
They say you had no heart
Was it that way from the start?

Then came that fateful day
A lad shot from far away
The best shot that you made
And for that your life was paid

A marshal lured you in
He then filled you full of gin
You bragged about the way
The Nickell boy died that day

They hung you out to dry
Ranchers would not testify
The jury was not moved
Though your guilt could not be proved

The locals were dismayed
An example must be made
The old ways would not stand
1900 was at hand

You hung there in ‘03
From a gallows not a tree
You calmly met your fate
As Julian made you wait

Your story’s been retold
Of a man who broke the mold
Of an outlaw out for pay
Or a good man gone astray

We all know in the end
There are laws we should not bend
The Lord don’t hold a grudge
Only He could be your judge

Steve Dickson 2012

American Cowboy Picture

Tom Horn


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