Pecos Bill finds a Hard Outfit
A New Mexico Tall Tale
S. E. Schlosser
Well now, Texas jest became too tame for Pecos Bill once he killed off all the bad men, so he struck out for New Mexico, looking for a hard outfit. He asked an old trapper he met on the way where he could find a hard outfit, and the trapper directed Bill to a place where the fellers bit nails in half for fun. It sounded like a promisin' place to Bill, so he set off. But his durned fool hoss got its neck broke on the way, and Bill found himself afoot.
Bill went a walkin' with his saddle on his back. Suddenly, he come face to face with a rattlesnake 'round about fifteen feet long and lookin' fer trouble. Now Bill wanted to be fair to the rattler, so he let it get in a few jabs before he beat the stuffin' out of it. Being a kind man, when the snake was beat, he picked it up, wrapped it around his neck and carried it along with him.
They was a headin' through a narrow canyon when a cougar thought he'd have a bit of fun and jumped them. Bill never turned a hair. He jest put down his saddle and then whipped the tarnation out of the cougar. Hair flew everywhere, blocking the light sose the jackrabbits thought it was night and went to bed. Finally that cat were so beat he cried like a lost kitten and jest licked Bill's hand.
So Bill saddles him up and they tear off across them hills like forked lightening. Whenever Bill wanted to calm that cougar down, he'd just give him a tap with the rattlesnake. They set such a pace that they soon rolled into the hard outfit the trapper'd told Bill about. Quick as a wink, Bill jumps off the cougar, helps himself to some beans and coffee, wipes his mouth with a prickly pear and turns to look at the toughs sittin' around the fire.
"Who's the boss around here, anyhow?" he asks.
"I was," said a big mountain of a feller about seven foot tall and wide, "but you are now, stranger!"