Quotes and Words of the Old West

“I got the world by the tail with a downhill pull.” – Sam Bass

“A pair of six-shooters beats a pair of sixes.” — Belle Starr

“I’ve never hanged a man. It is the law that has done it.” — Judge Isaac Parker

“You’all can go to hell. I am going to Texas.”  — Davy Crockett after serving three terms as a Tennessee congressman.

“He had a quiet way of taking the most desperate characters into custody which invariably gave one the impression that the city was able to enforce her mandates and preserve her dignity. It wasn’t considered policy to draw a gun on Wyatt, unless you got the drop and meant to burn powder without any preliminary talk.” — Dodge CityKansas Times, July 7, 1877.

“I take no sass but sarsaparilla.” — John Wesley Hardin, explaining his deadly disposition,

Dodge boomed with a roar that split the nation’s ears and still echoes in her memory.”  — Stuart N. Lake, author

“I was happy in the midst of dangers and inconveniences.” – Daniel Boone

“The mosquitoes continue to infest us in such manner that we can scarcely exist. My dog even howls with the torture he experiences.” —Meriwether Lewis

“Whenever you get into a row be sure and not shoot too quick. Take time. I’ve known many a feller slip up for shootin in a hurry.” — Wild Bill Hickok

Billy the Kid

Billy the Kid

“I like to dance, but not in the air.” – Billy the Kid

“… Wild Bill had his faults, grievous ones, perhaps … He would get drunk, gamble, and indulge in the general licentiousness characteristic of the border in the early days, yet even when full of the vile libel of the name of whiskey which was dealt over the bars at exorbitant prices, he was gentle as a child, unless aroused to anger by intended insults. … He was loyal in his friendship, generous to a fault, and invariably espoused the cause of the weaker against the stronger one in a quarrel.”  — Captain Jack Crawford, who scouted with Wild Bill before they both followed the gold rush to Deadwood.

“The wildest, roughest, wickedest honky tonk between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast.” – The New York Times commenting on the Birdcage Theater in TombstoneArizona.

“The grimly humorous phrase about our town was that Tombstone had ‘a man for breakfast every morning.’” — Josephine Sarah Marcus, actress (Josie would later marry Wyatt Earp)

When a group of rowdy outlaws went on a terror in a Texas town, shooting out the lights and windows, killing several citizens, the town quickly requested help from the Texas Rangers to come and quell the “riot.” When Pat Dooling arrived and stepped off the train, the town officials immediately looked around for the other rangers. “I’m the ranger,” said Dooling. “Did they only send ONE ranger?” the town folk asked. To which, Dooling responded: “you’ve only got one riot, haven’t you?” He soon quelled the riot and boarded the next train.

Sheriff Pat Garrett

Sheriff Pat Garrett

Pat Garrett was asked if he was nervous when, in the dark, he shot and killed Billy the Kid. “No,” he answered quickly. “A fellow with nerves wouldn’t last long in the business I’m in.”

“The South!  The poor South!  God knows what will become of her.” – John C. Calhoun, an American politician and the strongest proponent of Southern rights, on his deathbed in 1850.

“The past is sufficient to show that bushwhackers have been arrested… charged with bank robbery, and they most all have been mobbed without trials… I have lived as a respectable citizen and obeyed the laws of the United States to the best of my knowledge.” — Jesse James in a letter to a frontier editor

“All this country needs is a little more water and a better class of people to move in,” said a newcomer near Fort SmithArkansas. The cowboy he was talking to grinned and responded, “Yeah, they say that’s all Hell needs.”

“I do not regret one moment of my life.” — Lillie Langtry

“All my life I wanted to be a bank robber. Carry a gun and wear a mask. Now that it’s happened I guess I’m just about the best bank robber they ever had. And I sure am happy.” — John Dillinger

“I know the law… I am it’s greatest transgressor.” — Judge Roy Bean

Black Bart, Outlaw

Black Bart, Outlaw

“I’ve labored long and hard for bread
For honor and for riches
But on my corns too long you’ve tread
You fine haired sons of bitches.”
— Black Bart

“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

“Poor John, he has been hunted down and shot like a wild beast and never was a boy more innocent.” – Cole Younger, talking about his late brother, who had been wanted for the murder of a deputy sheriff, whom he killed in a jailbreak.

“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.” — Daniel Boone

After a horse thief had been arrested and tried, he was found innocent by a jury. When they filed back into the courtroom and the foreman stated the verdict, he liked the sound of his voice so much, it took him over an hour of fancy talking to tell the court that the defendant had been found innocent of all charges.  When he was finally done pontificating, the judge shook his head and said: “You’ll have to reconsider, the defendant was hung a couple of hours ago.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *