Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Big Iron On His Hip

"A great many people have an idea that old-time westerners spent half their time shooting at each other ... a few did carry them openly but they were range men or from across the line.  Ed Dalton was one of those Americans who packed a gun; it was said that he was wanted on the other side, also that the Mounties were looking for a chance to pick him up; this I do know, he was always on his guard.  He rode around the Twin Butte country a lot, but any time he stopped in at a ranch he was mighty careful always to sit with his back to the wall and facing the door.  I was at a picnic one day when Ed rode in with a couple of girl friends and joined us.  We were enjoying his company for he was a most likable fellow and a great favorite with the girls, but a Mountie also rode in and Ed quietly disappeared. The Mountie saw him pulling out but Ed had his gun on his hip so I suppose the Mountie thought it was better not to try to make an arrest right then and there and that night Ed drifted.  I heard later that he had shot it out in Montana and been killed."  Sixty Years in an Old Cow town by A.L. Freebairn.  (Today's title courtesy of Marty Robbins, Gunfighter Ballads.)