He was killing mad, was Dallas Ford,
When Tim Nettles was robbed that day
He believed in justice by the sword,
And the man who fled would pay.
Old Sheriff Briggs was laid up hard
When the dirty deed was done;
So Dallas gathered the crowd around
When he’d loaded up his gun.
“My friend’s been robbed this afternoon,”
Dallas Ford said to the crowd.
“We’ll have to kill that robber soon!”
His words rang clear and loud.
“If the choice is ours,” Tim Nettles cried;
“It is not our job to kill.”
“Kill him dead,” Big Dallas sighed,
“Or the hangman’s gallows will.”
They tracked him through the mountain land—
Dallas Ford was full of fury;
They’d bury the bandit in the sand,
They’d kill him in a hurry.
The posse soon was growing short—
Its men were dropping back.
As they made the town they gave report:
Dallas Ford would give no slack.
He wanted death and only death—
Capture would be a sin;
He wished to still the robber’s breath,
Not just to bring him in.
He rode alone, this Dallas Ford—
He’d chased the rest away
By pushing justice by the sword
Until the final day.
The killer couldn’t get away,
Dallas Ford had worn him down;
He caught him at the end of day,
Fifty miles from town.
Dallas Ford could have chosen life,
But he wanted death instead;
He drew his old Colt forty-five,
And shot the robber in his bed.
He turned him over on his back
And gave a cry of fear;
So this was the man they had to track,
And the death trail ended here!
Now damn his justice by the sword!
And on himself he turned his gun;
He’d sent a boy on to the Lord;
He’d killed his only son.
—Kirby Jonas, November 15, 1997
If you liked this poem, click the link below to read the full-length story of Tom McLean, the outlaw who is running for all he’s worth for the border . . .