Dutch Henry: outlaw

German born of Dutch descent his name was Henry Borne
Dutch Henry was his alias that many men would scorn
By a twist of fate
He chose the States
And became a person no one would mourn

A member of the 7th CAV, known for Custer’s folly
Mustered out in the sixties, he was anything but jolly
He joined the ranks of fools
Stole twenty government mules
And he was arrested soon after, by golly

At Fort Smith he was taken and charged with the crime
Then sent off to prison to do all his time
But three months was enough
He thought it too rough
So he escaped from the grit and the grime

He soon built a rep that was second to none
A horse thief with a gang up to 300 guns
He’d send forth the word
And they’d bring in the herd
The law wanted Dutch who was kept on the run

Well, Bat Masterson finally took ol’ Dutch in
Only to find out he escaped justice again
The law was encumbered
But Dutch’s days were numbered
He soon found himself doing twenty in the pen

When he got out he wanted to sob
He found that progress put him out of a job
The horse was “has been”
The auto now “in”
So for the rest of his days he was a miserable slob

© JW Thomas


Ned Buntline: the murder charge


A byline for Buntline came after a Navy hitch

First in Cincinnati, then to Nashville he did switch

With a sensational rag

Ned Buntline’s Own mag

Where some called him, “genius,” and some, “son of a bitch”


Charged with murder in forty-six, a mob took Buntline to lynch

Before a trial they grabbed a noose and tightened it to pinch

They strung him up high

But he didn’t die

And the whole affair soon had a stench


They found him “not guilty” on his day in court

And the mob would now like to go back and abort

“We’re sorry as heck

For the scar on your neck

We’d each like to buy you a rye whiskey quart”


Johnny Ringo: nothing like the legend


We buy fiction over fact,

not just the American way, but a human trait.

Do we think all tales are benign

an’ less interesting if we tell them straight?

“Johnny Ringo”

the name befits the legend told.

Chosen instead of his real name,

he was known to his kin as John Ringgold.

So many have claimed

he was the fastest gun of them all.

But when compared ta’ facts

none of the claims ever stand tall.

It’s assumed he was born in Missouri,

since it’s known that’s where he attended school.

He could read, write, an’ do figures,

which is far more than most gunmen could do.

He even loved ta’ quote Shakespeare,

which is quite rare as outlaws go.

So ignorance was not ta’ blame

fer’ how his life sank so low.

Yet somehow he never learned honor,

he would play both sides of the law.

While wearin’ a star, he’d still rustle cattle.

Can anyone claim that’s not a flaw?

But his tin time was brief,

it obviously cramped his style.

Cuz’ outlaws are the same everywhere,

they lack what it takes ta’ go the extra mile.

They want easy pickin’s, they don’t want ta’ work,

an’ they’d rather get drunk an’ get rowdy.

Pert’ near every shot that Ringo did fire

came after his brain was quite cloudy.

Like the bloke with the joke

at the expense of a filly passin’ by,

who Ringo pistol-whipped,

then shot in the neck, an’ left him ta’ die.

We also know of his time with the Clanton’s an’ McLowery’s

durin’ the time he was in Tombstone.

Though even then when he used his guns

he rarely acted alone.

It’s believed he was one of four men who

bushwhacked Virgil Earp, an’ perhaps Morgan, his brother.

An’ why the famed Wyatt Earp

sought revenge on Ringo, fer’ one or the other.

Though history’s not clear on the actual demise

of the not-so-infamous Johnny Ringo,

cuz’ two others lay claim to what Earp professed,

bringin’ down the outlaw with no soul.

Ringo’s body was found in Turkey Creek Canyon

in eighteen-eighty an’ two.

His scalp was removed, but not by an injun’

which adds ta’ the mystery too.

One bit of truth, when Ringo still lived,

that proves he was less of a man,

was the day of his arrest with John Wesley Hardin,

when shock an’ fear kept a gun from his hand.

One gimpy ol’ Ranger, “McNelly’s Bulldog,”

John Armstrong’s the title he bore,

held back deputies as he went ahead

ta’ take down the outlaw he swore.

The prize was Hardin, but he wasn’t alone,

four others around him did sit.

Mannen Clements, Bill Taylor, Jim Mann, an’ then Ringo,

all were suppose ta’ have grit.

Yet when the proceedings commenced

Hardin jumped first, followed quickly by young Jim Mann.

But Hardin was cold-cocked, an’ Mann was shot dead,

while Ringo an’ the others just sat on their cans.

Yes, Ringo did nothin’, fearstruck it would seem,

he never made a move ta’ draw steel.

Yep, this is the true man of legend,

how strange is the American ideal.

Take away the dark nights, an’ the back-shot advantage,

then pour out the whiskey he drank.

All you’d have left is a boy with a toy,

with no whiskey nerve his quick draw’s a blank.



© JW Thomas