The Badlands Stampede
The crack of gunfire fills the hills,
and the cattle stir in fright.
Quickly turning from the sound,
500 head take flight.
A thousand hoof-beats shake the earth,
as a dust storm trails behind.
At the sound, I mount my horse,
the stampeding herd to find.
As gunfire signals rustlers
intent to steal my cattle,
my trusty dog runs close behind
and we go off to battle.
With lasso on my saddle
and Winchester at my side,
I urge my horse towards the dust
and frantic do I ride.
I circle the stampeding steers –
to cross their path is folly,
in case my horse should stumble,
and I widow my sweet Polly.
We reach the pass before the herd,
and my dog Buck drives them through.
I drag some branches across the gap,
they’re all trapped, bar two.
Old Buck is sent to round them up
as I wait with rifle cocked,
then watch two cowboys slow their steeds,
as they see the pass is blocked.
The canyon echoes with my shots,
as I fire a warning round.
Then the rustlers tug their horses’ reins
and turn them back around.
They can’t see where I’m shooting from,
for I’m hidden in the rocks.
One fires his revolver back at me
but wayward are his shots.
A bullet hits the other’s arm,
and he yells in angry pain.
This time my ambush foiled their plans,
but they’ll be back again.
They turn tail at a frantic speed,
between the canyon walls.
I pat my stock horse on the neck,
as a lone coyote calls.
As I herd the steers back to the ranch,
I decide to hire more hands.
Cattle rustlers make life hard,
within these wild “Badlands”.
by John Hansen ©
Cattle Rustling, Raiding, Duffing
Cattle raiding is the act of stealing cattle.
In Australia such stealing is often referred to as duffing, and the perpetrator as a duffer. In North America, especially in cowboy culture, cattle theft is dubbed rustling and an individual who engages in it is a rustler.
In the American Old West rustling was considered a serious offense, and it did frequently result in lynching (hanging) by vigilantes.
Historically, the act of cattle rustling is quite ancient, with the first suspected raids conducted over seven thousand years ago