A hot wind blew over the prairie, a light whiff of smoke in the air.
The cattle were restless and wary. The night riders better take care.
We lost Little Joe and three mounts in a deep dry wash early that day.
A hard wall of water came rushing and swept Big Ed's best pal away.
Big Ed, he pulled duty as night hawk. I offered to stand watch instead.
He said that the horses would keep him from thinking 'bout Joe being dead.
I bedded down out from the others. My buckskin was grazing near by.
I listened to him softly breathing and saw our pale firelight die.
A lone rider spied from a distance, his viewpoint atop a tall knoll.
That rider – he
watched our campfire go down to its last burning coal.
I woke to a shout in the darkness. The cattle were starting to run.
The top hands all scrambled for horses. All of them bolted but one.
I jumped to the back of my buckskin. There's one certainr thing that I've learned.
If I could catch up to the leaders, then somehow the herd could be turned.
That lone rider came out of nowhere. His catch rope was stiff in his hand.
An angel sent down here from Heaven, he turned back that whole demon band.
So slowly they circled each other. They stopped and then stood deathly still.
I never caught sign of that rider. I reckon that I never will.
Too many years passed since that happened. I'm weary right down to my soul.
That rider – he watched our campfire go down to its last burning coal.