Claude Dallas and Clyde Wood – Through the looking glass (Part Two)

continued from yesterday’s post:

Part 2:  To Protect and Defend – “Freeze scumball!”

Okay, here’s a similar case, only backward:

A man living in the woods.  Might have poached a deer, or a bobcat. 

Two protectors and defenders with time on their hands visit him and one makes a fatal mistake.  Officer pulls a gun on a man who’s not in the mood for it:

When the dust settled the man without a badge served 22 years in the slammer.  No talk of reducing this one.

Claude Dallas

(Ian Tyson, Tom Russell, 1986.)

In a land the Spanish once had
Called the Northern Mystery,
Where rivers run and disappear
And the Mustang still lives free,
By the Devil’s wash and the coyote hole
In the wild Owyee Range,
Somewhere in the sage tonight
The wind calls out his name.
Aye, aye, aye.

Come gather round me, buckaroos,
And the story I will tell:
The fugitive Claude Dallas
Who just broke out jail.
You might think this tale is history
From before the West was won,
But the events that I’ll describe took place
In nineteen-eighty-one.

He was born out in Virginia,
Left home when school was through.
In the deserts of Nevada,
He became a buckaroo.
He learned the ways of cattle.
He learned to sit a horse.
He always packed a pistol
And he practiced deadly force.

Then Claude he became a trapper.
He dreamed of the bygone days.
He studied bobcat logic
In the wild and silent ways,
In the bloody runs near paradise,
In the monitors down south,
Trapping cats and coyotes,
Living hand and mouth.
Aye, aye, aye.

Then Claude took to living all alone
Out many miles from town.
A friend, Jim Stevens, brought supplies
And he stayed to hang around.
That day two wardens, Pogue and Elms,
Drove in to check Claude out.
They were seeking violations
And to see what Claude’s about.

Now Claude had hung some venison,
Had a bobcat pelt or two.
Pogue claimed they were out of season.
He says, “Dallas, you’re all through.”
But Dallas would not leave his camp.
He refused to go to town.
As the wind howled through the bull camp,
They stared each other down.

It’s hard to say what happened next.
Perhaps we’ll never know.
They were going to take Claude in to jail,
And he’d vowed he’d never go.
Jim Stevens heard the gunfire,
And when he turned around,
Bill Pogue was fallin’ backwards.
Conley Elms, he fell face-down.
Aye, aye, aye.

Jim Stevens walked on over.
There was a gun near Bill Pogue’s hand.
It’s hard to say who’d drawn his first,
But Claude had made his stand.
Claude said, “I’m justified, Jim.
They were going to cut me down.
A man’s got a right to hang some meat
When he’s livin’ this far from town.”

It took eighteen men and fifteen months
To finally run Claude down.
In the sage outside of paradise,
They drove him to the ground.
Convicted up in Idaho,
Manslaughter by decree,
Thirty years at maximum,
But soon Claude would break free.

There’s two sides to this story.
There may be no right or wrong.
The lawman and the renegade
Have graced a thousand songs.
So the story is an old one.
Conclusion’s hard to draw.
But Claude’s out in the sage tonight.
He may be the last outlaw.
Aye, aye, aye.

Idaho outlaw Claude Dallas freed from jail

BOISE (AP) — Idaho’s most infamous outlaw, Claude Dallas, was released from prison Sunday morning after serving 22 years for the slayings of two state officers in 1981.

Dallas, 54, gained notoriety as both a callous criminal and a modern-day mountain man at odds with the government. He was released Sunday after his 30-year term was cut by eight years for good behavior.

Dallas wore a light blue shirt, prison-issue jeans and a denim jacket as he walked out of the Idaho Correctional Institution in Orofino at 4:55 a.m., said Teresa Jones, an Idaho Department of Correction spokeswoman.

“He doesn’t want to talk to the media or make a big deal out of his release,” said Kevin Kempf, the prison warden. “He just wants to go live his life.”

Dallas was picked up by a family member. He was convicted of manslaughter in 1982 for the shooting deaths of Conley Elms and Bill Pogue, officers for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game who were investigating reports of bobcat poaching by Dallas in remote southeast Idaho.

Pogue, who had drawn his own weapon, was hit first with a shot from Dallas’ handgun. Dallas then shot Elms two times in the chest before using a rifle to fire one round into each man’s head.

The case made national headlines and turned Dallas into an anti-government folk hero for some — a reputation only heightened by a 1986 jailbreak. Dallas hid for nearly a year before he was caught and sent back to prison. He was charged in the escape, but acquitted by a jury after he testified he had to break out because prison guards threatened his life.


If a police officer stops you for a minor violation and points a gun at you, do you:

Think he’s a highly trained professional and he’s only protecting you and defending you?


Wonder if he’s ever killed anyone else in the line of duty and liked the feeling?


Think he might shoot you because you sassed him? (See Woods, above)


Joke and clown around to lower the tension? (Not recommended)


Think he might shoot you because he’s having a bad day and knows he can get by with it?


Think he might shoot you by accident? (Happens too frequently to make the front page)


Wonder whether the piece is ‘on safety’? ( It ain’t.)


Wonder why they don’t drug-test these guys now and then? (They don’t)


Wonder whether he’ll plant evidence in your vehicle? (If you sassed him and he doesn’t shoot you)


Breathe deeply and be grateful you live in America and you’re protected from criminals?



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