Click here to listen to the song.
Porter Rockwell, dusty hero;
Buckskin shirt; guns at his side.
Silver spurs and leather legging;
Lathered horse; this man can ride.
Flowing hair yet balding gently.
Cool blue eyes at forty-five.
Marshall fearless; scout, frontiersman;
Keeps long hair to stay alive.
It started young at seventeen;
In New York state he joined the Mormon clan.
With Joseph as his teacher then,
He learned through many hardships he could stand.
He learned to be a man.
Persecutions, mobs and lynch men;
Hate was growing, violence fast.
Prison walls for Port and Joseph,
But they knew it would not last.
Land was virgin in the west wide.
Mormons want a brighter sky.
Brigham bold was prophet-leader.
They will climb the mountains high.
Port broke the trail; he scouted hard.
The buffalo became a daily chore.
The job was long but Port was strong;
He did his task and them he asked for more.
A lawman he became.
Huntington was wild and reckless;
Stole a mare on New Year's day.
Port was asked to find the horse thief;
Scattered tracks helped point the way.
Then pushing through the cedar lands,
The lawman stalked along the hidden trail.
Cold and hunger, sleepless nights,
And early dawn will show he can not fail.
He'll bring in his man.
Shadow stalking to the barn now.
Huntington has gun in hand.
Shifting eyes search every corner.
If he must he'll make a stand.
Leading Brown Sal by the halter,
Sal becomes a vital shield.
But the corral must be opened;
Lowering poles one will not yield.
Then pulling hard to free the gate,
The fearless outlaw makes a hearty yank.
Sal plunges hard exposing Hunt.
The pole has speared into the horse's flank.
And Port guns down his man.
Lifting lightly in the saddle,
The warrior now is fifty-five.
Aristocratic, bold yet mellow,
God is kind; Port's still alive.
Rumors sharp, the tongues are crooked;
Libel rides on every sound.
Haughty cranks from eastern papers,
They want Porter in the ground.
It autumn now at sixty-five.
Soft death found Porter lying on the hay.
His lifeless body carried limp
Into the early sunlight of the day.
Port just did his best;
And now he wants to rest.
© Allen Hackworth 2000