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The Bodie Lynchings

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(Inspired by the 1943 classic western, The Oxbow Incident which stared Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews and Anthony Quinn. It followed a posse who set out to seek vengeance for the murder of a rancher, as the movie progressed the posse became a lynch mob taking the law into their own hands with harrowing consequences.)

 

Five strangers rode into Bodie, a small gold mining town They didn't look at anybody and kept their heads down At the Citizens bank they halted, it had been a long ride Four then entered the bank and one kept watch outside. The sheriff heard shots and came running, but they got away Bar one who was badly wounded and on the dust he lay But the bank teller and two townsfolk were now lying dead The sheriff called on the townsfolk, "we need a posse" he said. The Sheriff was concerned that the gang would come back To rescue the robber who'd been wounded in the attack He deputised a posse to pursue them, to pick up their trail But stayed behind in town, to ensure any rescue would fail. A posse and deputy assembled then rode out of town And took the trail due west as the sun was going down After about three hours riding they saw a flicker of light They all checked their weapons ; ready for a gunfight. They dismounted their horses and walked half a mile "We've got them" said the deputy who gave a big smile "They'll be doing no more thieving we'll make sure of that" Around a roaring camp fire three men and a boy sat. The deputy ran forward and drew his colt forty five Ready to take the outlaws; either dead or alive The posse then joined him told the men to keep still Told them if they moved, they wouldn't hesitate to kill. One of men said" whats going on ?,we're just camping here " A posse member lashed out and drew blood from his ear The deputy asked them "where's the money from the bank ?" They looked at each other bewildered, all their faces a blank. One of the posse saw something that caught his eye He kicked it away from the fire and let out a loud cry "It's a money bag from the bank; I think we've got our men" "That's not ours" said one of the men" you are mistaken". The young boy then spoke up said "I found it a way back There was nothing in it ; it was just an empty sack " One of the posse said "let's hang em there's a tree over there" They protested their innocence, but the posse didn't care. They tied the men up and marched them, over to the tree One brought over four ropes to hang them, no trial or mercy One of the posse protested "what we're doing ain't right If they were the outlaws they'd have put up a good fight". The others all ignored him and they got the nooses ready Then sat them on their horses whilst two held them steady The deputy drew his pistol and fired two shots in the air Their horses bolted forward and they were left hanging there. The deputy said " we'll leave em, be to others a warning We'll camp here tonight and head back in the morning" At sunrise they got up and made their way back to town Two riders approached them; the posse slowed down. It was the sheriff and a deputy who drew alongside Sheriff said "they came back but their partner had died But they're all safely in jail now we took em by surprise The circuit judge is coming they'll all hang I surmise". There was a eerie silence as the sheriffs words sank in They'd got the wrong folk who hadn't done anything They told the sheriff everything who listened in silence They'd hung four people who'd committed no offence. He said "we'll get a wagon and cut their bodies down And give them a decent burial in the cemetery in town You'll all have to go before the judge, we'll let him decide Whether you acted within the law or committed homicide". Written 4th September 2020

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020




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Date: 1/16/2021 8:04:00 AM
Congratulations on your win. What a story/write and picture. You did a great job. Enjoy your win/day with blessings....................
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 1/16/2021 8:09:00 AM
Thank you very much Paula, im happy you enjoyed it, I love stories of the old west. Hope your weekend is going well. Tom
Date: 11/26/2020 9:07:00 PM
Hi Tom, you mentioned this poem in a reply to a comment to the “Funny Thing that Happened On the Way to My Hanging” trilogy, so I had to check this out. Another awesome story poem! You are a master story teller, the Louis Lamoure of the poetry world.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 11/27/2020 1:19:00 AM
Thank you very much Jennifer, hope you had a lovely thanksgiving. Sadly we don't celebrate it here, Glad you enjoyed it. Louis L'Amour, I must have read every western book he ever wrote and thats where the inspiration came from I suppose. Tom
Date: 9/13/2020 7:55:00 AM
Tom they were accused of killing a rancher, Mr Kincaid. They hung the the three but when the sheriff caught up to the posse, he told them Kincaid was still alive....
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michael tor
Date: 9/14/2020 4:53:00 PM
Thanks Tom greetings back enjoy Turkey...
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/14/2020 10:46:00 AM
Thank you Michael, it was such a long time ago that I saw the movie but have never forgotten it. Hope you're well, greetings from Turkey. Tom
Date: 9/13/2020 3:03:00 AM
Long ago I saw the movie you mentioned. Your fine poem reminded me of how mad I got watching the injustice and stupidity of men carrying out mob/lynch justice. You give us a message in this gem and also an interesting story, so well delivered. A true pleasure reading this morn. A fav.. God bless.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/14/2020 10:45:00 AM
Thank you Robert. Apologies for late response, after seeing the movie I read the book, such a harrowing story. Greetings from Turkey, I hope you and yours are okay. Tom
Date: 9/12/2020 10:56:00 PM
Well, after that I now so need to watch the movie, you kinda had me hanging on every word there, Tom, brilliant narrative . . . : )
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/14/2020 10:43:00 AM
Thank you Indiana, it was made in 1943 and shows how man has a dark side towards his fellow man. It only takes one to fire up a lynch mob with devastating results. Greetings from Turkey. Tom
Date: 9/10/2020 1:39:00 PM
Splendid narration that kept me thrilled right through. I hope those murderers will get their reward.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/10/2020 11:10:00 PM
Lovely to see you Victor, I hope you're well. Greetings from Turkey Tom
Date: 9/10/2020 12:17:00 PM
Tom I enjoyed reading every bit of this, it was like watching the movie! How sad. it is heart breaking. It is said ‘It is better to pardon1000 criminals than hang an innocent man’!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/10/2020 11:08:00 PM
Thank you very much Krish, the old west was renowned for rough justice, love your quote. Greetings from Turkey, im here for three weeks. Hope you're well. Tom
Date: 9/10/2020 8:06:00 AM
Tom, I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of western justice, though blind as it was. Lesson learned. Leave sleeping dogs and empty bank bags alone. -Richard
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/10/2020 8:14:00 AM
Thank you very much Richard, justice back then was swift and sometimes brutal. Sad that even today you hear of grave injustices. Hope you're well Tom
Date: 9/9/2020 9:38:00 PM
G'day Tom ... a great story put to rhyme. Hollywood certainly knew how to make the wild west even wilder, but I dare say these events happening and they're still happening today - well done Tom - Lindsay
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/9/2020 10:59:00 PM
Thank you Lindsay, I love stories about the old west. You're right even today this goes on. Tom
Date: 9/8/2020 2:57:00 PM
Tom this is great i love western movies,if this was playing i would watch it,spellbinding till the end , have a great day
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/8/2020 8:49:00 PM
Thank you very much Doris, I've always had a fascination for the old American west. Im pleased that you enjoyed it. Tom
Date: 9/8/2020 10:46:00 AM
Oh my, what a terrible thing to happen. I haven't seen the movie, Tom, but I hung on every line in your poem. Things like this probably happened often in the old West. An extraordinary narrative poem! Hugs, Carolyn
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/8/2020 10:56:00 AM
Thank you Carolyn, all through the movie you thought that they had got their men but turned out they hadn't, back then justice was swift, and often no trials either. Tom
Date: 9/8/2020 3:26:00 AM
Great write and goes along with the theme of the day. We need to be patient through the process of seeing justice balanced. You are great at these types of poems. Blessings to you!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/8/2020 4:40:00 AM
Thank you very much Kim, sadly today we still see this going on in poorer countries and even in our civilised societies. I do enjoy composing these kind of poems. Greetings from Turkey, im here for 3 weeks, looking in when J can. Hope you're well. Tom
Date: 9/7/2020 8:03:00 AM
Brilliant writing with incredible depth and wisdom. If humanity could only learn from it's past. Chantelle hugs
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/7/2020 9:04:00 AM
Thank you Chantelle, sadly mankind hasn't and all too often you hear of these injustices around the world. I hope you are well, greetings from Turkey. Tom
Date: 9/6/2020 2:06:00 PM
Great storytelling Tom, I can see you were inspired
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/7/2020 3:46:00 AM
Thank you S. O., even today we see great miscarriages of justice. Greetings from a hot Turkey. Tom
Date: 9/6/2020 11:43:00 AM
Very relevant to how things are handled today...We haven't changed much since that movie...Enjoyed the read...
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/7/2020 2:51:00 AM
Thank you Arturo, you're right we see injustices all around the world sadly even today. Tom
Date: 9/6/2020 11:16:00 AM
Lynching took place often in the wild west with no guilt or respect. Your story is terrific, we have seen the film also, but for their rash hard and criminal action, they will now have to be tried. - a wonderful story. Well written Tom. Blessings, Jennifer.
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JENNIFER PROXENOS
Date: 9/9/2020 8:17:00 AM
Hope you are enjoying your holiday in Turkey! Blessings, Jennifer.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/7/2020 2:49:00 AM
Thank you very much Jennifer, justice was swift back then but many were hung in error, still goes on today. Hope you're well Tom
Date: 9/6/2020 5:08:00 AM
Hello Tom, such a horrid outcome, I saw the movie a few years ago. You've written this so well. You've captured the mob mentality in your emotive piece. ~
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/6/2020 7:40:00 AM
Thank you Regina, sadly we still see that mob mentality even today. Greetings from Turkey. Tom
Date: 9/5/2020 2:32:00 PM
Great superb piece Tom, an avid western fan like myself! Truly masterpiece how you penned this one, I must check it out on YouTube. Hope all's well with you, Blessings always,Gordon
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/6/2020 7:39:00 AM
Thank you very much Gordon, sorry for late response, just arrived in Turkey, using WiFi in a restaurant. Glad you enjoyed it. Hope alls well. Tom
Date: 9/5/2020 5:00:00 AM
You are a wonderful story teller, Tom--most of us can relate to the scenes you depicted.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/5/2020 5:04:00 AM
Thank you very much Vijay, as you may have guessed I'm a big fan of Westerns. Tom
Date: 9/5/2020 1:43:00 AM
- A poem that makes me think of my father ... he loves such stories ... the last 5 - 6 years he lived he watched old cowboy movies over and over again ... even though he had seen them 10 times before :))) - Great written, Tom :) - Have a lovely weekend :) - hugs // Anne-Lise :)
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/5/2020 1:49:00 AM
Thank you very much Anne, a man after my own heart, I too love western movies. Hope you too have a wonderful weekend. Tom
Date: 9/4/2020 5:38:00 PM
Tom your cowboy poems and hanging poems are legends. This fits in well.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/5/2020 12:52:00 AM
Thank you very much Caren, something thats always fascinated me. Tom
Date: 9/4/2020 5:19:00 PM
distinctly told, tom...enjoyed the transformation of the main character.. huggs
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/5/2020 12:51:00 AM
Thank you very much Nette, im pleased you liked it. Tom
Date: 9/4/2020 2:23:00 PM
Tom~ may you get a POTD for this masterfullly wriiten piece. Your ability to detail and the...to make it rhyme? I could not do this. But fortunately you can. Well told in precise verse. You are my POTD, CONGRATULATIONS Pangies choice POTD p,us 5 trophies. A FAV, my friend Hugs, Pangie
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 9/4/2020 2:28:00 PM
Thank you very much for the vote of confidence, I love stories about the old west, must have read every book Louis L'Amour ever wrote. Have tried other forms but I always come back to rhyme. Tom