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Deception in Cactus Centre

From The Sun, March 8, 1914. By Arthur Chapman.

We are strong, down here in Cactus, for the majesty of law,
But a heart throb’s sure to stop us ‘ere we make the halter draw;
That is why we freed a hoss thief that was caught near Bridger’s Buttes,
Though he rode Slim Johnson’s pinto and he trailed three stolen brutes;
We was all prepared to send him where he’d join more of his kind
When he says, “Gents, just one minute, in my shirt front youse’ll find
A package that I’d gaze on, if it’s all the same to youse.”
So our leader reached in, rough like, and drew out two baby shoes.

Well, we stood around there awkward, and we sorter scuffed our feet;
You could hear our spurs make music, and it sounded soft and sweet;
We was due to start proceedin’s, it was gittin’ cold and late,
But somehow we’d lost our ferver to enact the role of fate;
We jest milled there in the moonlight, and nobody said a word;
Some was lookin’ to their saddles, but at last Bear Hawkins stirred
And he freed this hoss thief feller, and we rode away by twos,
‘Cause you can’t hang anybody who is packin’ baby shoes.

Yes, of course the law was cheated, for we found the game was old;
He had worked the same at Sage Crick, and at Range View, we was told;
And he never had no children, and the shoes he’d simply found;
Such we learned, with other details when the story got around;
But in spite of all the laughter that we’ve drawed down by our act
We would play the same cards over—that’s a cold, hard twisted fact;
So we scorn the jeers of Piñon, and we don’t mind Lone Tree’s hoots,
‘Cause we know they’d do what we done when we found them baby boots.

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