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​Johnson County War

This song is by Chris LeDoux and appears on the album Powder River (1989).

Headed for Wyoming, in 1882
A woman, a team, and a wagon
Gonna make our dreams come true
Settled in the foothills
Of the Big Horn mountain slope
Life is sweet we lived on the meat
Of the deer and the antelope

We cut house logs on the mountain
With the team we hauled 'em down
Peeled 'em and we stacked 'em up
For a house and bought some ground
Traded for some cattle
And turned 'em out on the range
The skies were blue and we never knew
How things were gonna change

Oh Powder River, you're muddy and you're wide
How many men have died along your shores
When you brand a man a rustler, he's gotta take a side
There's no middle ground in this Johnson County War

Well, the neighbors stopped by yesterday
While I was outside choppin' some wood
And they filled me in on the local news
Ain't none of it sounded good
Said, they'd been some cattle stealin'
By some no count outlaw bands
We'd all been branded rustlers
By the ranchers of this land

Well, it was us against the cattlemen
The years just made it worse
First the drought and then the tough winter
Johnson County had been dealt a curse
Then their came the story
'Bout the two dry Gulch attacks
Ranger Jones and John Tisdale
Both been shot in the back

Oh Powder River, you're muddy and you're wide
How many men have died along your shores
When you brand a man a rustler, he's gotta take a side
There's no middle ground in this Johnson County War

Then last night at supper time
A riders stopped by chance
They said cattleman and hired guns
Just burned the K. C. Ranch
Two men had died this mornin'
Shot down in the snow
Now the vigilante army was march to Buffalo

Well, the county was in an uproar
And every man saddled up to ride
Caught the cattlemen at the T.A. Ranch
And surrounded all four sides
We hailed the house with bullets
Swore they was going to pay
But the calvery came across the plains
And once again saved the day

Well, they marched them off to Cheyenne
No one went to jail
Cattlemen were all turned loose
And the hired guns hit the trail
And I guess the only justice
Wasn't much to say the least
Last winter me and mine ate mighty fine
On the cattle baron's beef

Oh Powder River, you're muddy and you're wide
How many men have died along your shores
When you brand a man a rustler, he's gotta take a side
There's no middle ground in this Johnson County War
There's no middle ground in this Johnson County War

Written by:

Chris LeDoux Wikipedia16