Vigilantes 1864

 Vigilantes at Bannack 2001

Vigilantes 1864

Cold cruel winds blow down intent

upon the Bannack mining camp.

Just days before an Innocent

had spilled his guts, the saddle tramp

Told one and all:  the Road Agents

were sheriff’s men, which none could trump.

In Virginia, Nevada, all up Alder Gulch,

Catholic and Mason, from South and from North,

Stormed forth the Committee for Vigilance-

defend their homes, they swore the oath.

‘Cross rivers frozen and sagebrush adrift,

a vision, revelation, to the very last pale horse.

Come ghosts of the hundred murdered before.

Come Deputy Ray, you will kill no more.

Come Deputy Stinson, leave your saloon whore.

Come damned Sheriff Plummer, let us finish this chore.

Come dance in the gallows, plead for your souls.

Come peace to Montana, 10 January 1864.

 

(c) jcs 18.01.01

Reposted in honor of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering at Elko, Nevada, this week. Bannack became first capital of Montana Territory on May 26, 1864.

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