After the trek from Missouri ta’ Montana,
John Johnson made a name fer’ himself
as both sheriff an’ mountain man.
He took ta’ the hills an’ set his traps;
beaver, deer, bear, an’ buffalo,
all sayin’ “Catch me if ya’ can.”
He loved the life,
even took an Indian wife,
who bore him a healthy child.
But while Johnson was away from home
a band of Crow came callin’,
an’ did things that would make him riled.
They didn’t just take what they wanted,
they killed what was left in the end.
So when Johnson came back,
an’ saw the aftermath of the attack,
he emotionally went over the bend.
He stayed there alone,
warmed by the hate
that countered the cold of his heart.
His private war had begun,
an’ many would fall,
the Crow would pay dearly for their part.
Whenever a Crow came into his sight
it was like steppin’ into a killin’ zone.
or even outnumbered,
Johnson’s skill fer’ killin’ had been honed.
With rifle or knife,
hatchet or rock,
anything at all could be used.
He would never see a human
when he looked at a Crow,
on account of how his wife had been abused.
He saw only animals,
an’ animals were his trade;
ta’ be caught, ta’ be killed, ta’ be eaten.
He even acquired the strange moniker
of “Liver-Eating Johnson”
after a witness saw him kill ‘um, cut ‘um,
an’ then sink his teeth in.
Score upon score of Crow bit the dust,
for ten years his hate found its foe.
Then down from the mountain
ta’ carry a star,
Johnson did finally go.
He put on the badge in Coulson, Montana,
an’ he ruled with a rifle an’ fist.
He never did carry a six-gun,
an’ never started a “Dead Man’s” list.
With his mountain exploits
an’ peculiar peacekeeping,
even Buffalo Bill tried ta’ hire him fer’ shows.
But Johnson had tired of civilized life,
an’ took off ta’ where nobody knows.
He had no need fer’ fame,
but his legend still grew,
even faster after he up an’ disappeared.
“What a crock,” he must think,
of his legend nowadays,
it would be funny if he suddenly appeared.
His name has been changed,
an’ facts rearranged,
all fer’ the sake of a film.
Just remember what he ate,
after he began ta’ hate,
an’ he stuck in his knife ta’ the helm.
© JW Thomas