We was camped on the plains at the head of Cimarron
When along comes a stranger and he stops to argue some
Well he looked so very foolish we begun to look around
And we thinks he is a greenhorn and just escaped from town.
We asked him if he'd had a bite. He hadn't had a smear
So we opened up the chuck box and forked him out a share
He took a cup of coffee, some biscuits, and some beans
Then he started in to talk about them foreign kings and queens
And all about the Spanish War and fighting on the seas
With pistols as big as beef steers and rifles big as trees
And all about old John Paul Jones, that fightin' son-of-a-gun.
He says he was the rankest cuss that ever drawed a gun
Such an educated feller, his thoughts just come in herds
Every living sentence had ten jaw-breaking words.
He just keeps on a-talking 'til he makes us all dang sick
And we begun to figure out some way to play a trick.
He said that he had lost his job upon the Santa Fe
And he was goin' 'cross the plains to strike the old S.P.
He never said how come it; some trouble with the boss.
But he asked if he might borrow a nice fresh saddle horse.
Well this tickled all the boys to death, they laughed right up their sleeves
We'll give you a horse just as fresh as you please.
Old Shorty grabbed his lariat and he roped old Zebra Dun,
And the boys they all settled back a-waitin' for the fun.
Now old Dunny was an outlaw growed so awful wild,
That he could paw the moon down boys; he could jump a mile.
Old Dun stood right quiet as if he did not know
Until we got him saddled and ready for the show.
When the stranger hit the saddle, old Dunny quit the earth.
And he traveled right straight up for all that he was worth.
A-pitchin' and a-squealin' and havin' wall-eyed fits.
His hind feet perpendicular, his front feet in the bits.
You could see them snowy mountains under Dunny every jump
But the stranger, he seemed growed there just like the camel's hump
He leaned back in the saddle and he twirled his black mustache
Just like a summer boarder a-waiting for his hash.
He punched him in the shoulder and he spurred him when he whirled,
To show us earth-bound punchers he was the top wolf of the world.
When the stranger had dismounted once more unto the ground
We knew he was a salty-dog and not some boy from town.
Now the boss had been standin' and a-watchin' of the show.
He walked up to the stranger and he said, "You need not go."
"If you can use the catch rope like you rode old Zebra Dun
Then you're the boy I'm looking for since the year of one."
Well he sure could use the catch rope, and he did not use it slow
He could sure four-foot 'em there ten times in a row
And when the herd stampeded he was always on the spot
To set them critters milling like the boiling of a pot.
Well there's one thing, and a sure thing, I've learned since I've been born
Every educated feller ain't no dang plumb green horn.