Frank A. Terry (1925)
They called him Square-deal Sanderson, down Fallen River way,
A poker face, with eyes of steel, and when he made gun-play,
His draw was just like lightning, that made men catch their breath,
And fall, or leap back out of range beyond that belching death.
He didn't always shoot to kill: he'd give his gun a twist,
And ere you'd touched your trigger he'd got you through the wrist.
You never saw him stunting; but off the trail one day
I heard some shots, and, peeping through saw Sanderson at play.
He'd been firing at a tree-trunk on which he'd cut a knot;
And by the look of things I guess he'd got it ev'ry shot.
He'd call round once or twice a year, then hit the trail again;
From North to South, from East to West, his tracks were ever plain.
He never picked a quarrel; he never owed a sou;
Square-deal was his name, and he was square deal through and through.
Animals adored him: a man once kicked a dog;
Sanderson's left arm shot out and felled him like a log.
I shan't forget the night in Jackson's Poker Dive,
And the look upon his face when he saw Bully Deane arrive.
Now, Bully was a "two gun" man, a killer, real darned bad;
He'd cheat at cards and cheat you at the "draw" if you'd be had.
Well, Square-deal flashed a roll of notes, and Bully saw the pile,
And said, "Say, stranger, what d'yer say to poker for a while?"
They played, and Bully lost at first... it always was the same,
Until the stakes grew higher, then he played another game.
Square-deal said, "Well, I'll play these", and Deane discarded one,
Then as he dealt another, like a shot out of a gun
Square-deal knifed his hand and card right through the table-top.
His gun flashed out: "You cur", he said, "You see I've got the drop:
You've got three aces in your hand; the joker's at the back;
The other card my knife's gone through was dealt beneath the pack.
I've waited for you, Bully Deane, and got you fixed at last:
And now we'll have a little chat about your dirty past:
About the girl you lured from home, from a husband clean and white,
Who left her unprotected while he went to France to fight.
You told her lies about him, until at last she fell.
She fled with you one night, and then you made her life a hell.
You clubbed her, kicked her, starved her, you played the Devil's
Her husband found her dying, and learnt about her shame.
And when he followed after you, you waited in his track,
You didn't fight him like a man, you shot him in the back.
That youngster was my brother, the woman was his wife.
I've waited now for three long years, and sworn to have your life.
I ought to shoot you like a dog, I guess I've got the right,
But you're going to get a square deal from Sanderson to-night.
Now keep your left hand on the board, I'm going to sheathe my gun,
And then you're going to start for yours the minute I say "One"!
Square-deal drew his hand back slow, and let his iron drop,
Then brought it back to touch the bully's; 'cross the table top.
Then quickly changing hands he got the knife into his right,
"That makes us both left-handed, and the fairest way to fight.
And, furthermore, you're going to get a start in case you whine,
I'll give you to the table edge before I start for mine.
Now draw your hand back slowly, then dive quick for your gun."
The Bully's hand went slowly back, and Square-deal shouted "One".
Then like a flash of lightning that rends the clouds apart
Square-deal's hand swept back and shot the bully through the heart.
His head fell on the table; his left hand hit the floor;
His gun was in its holster... he hadn't time to draw.
Then Square-deal lifted up his eyes towards the ceiling there,
And murmured: "Brother, Sonny Boy, I reckon that's all square".
Then standing up, he sheathed his iron, not looking left or right,
With head erect and shoulders squared he walked into the night.