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"Badlands" Lyrics


The sheriff was a lucky man

Or at least he’d been so far

It was the only way he’d lived so long

In a badlands town like ours

He came here from a better place

Out east beyond the range

He had a good and godly soul

But one night that all changed

Back then, Old Nick was robbing banks

All up and down the line

His desperadoes hadn’t found us yet

But it was just a matter of time

So when a band of men on coal-black horses

Came to town

The sheriff and his posse sprung a trap

And circled ‘em ‘round

“Now, we don’t want any trouble Nick,”

The goodly sheriff said

“If you turn around and leave right now, I won’t have to shoot you dead”

Old Nick laughed when we drew our guns

his men didn’t even flinch

His big dog let out a mournful howl

And it sounded something like this

(C, ad lib)

Their eyes locked ‘cross the dusty square

Yellow on bright blue

My pistol grip was slick with sweat

So my aim wasn’t quite true

Still, I’m sure before all hell broke loose

I put a round or two in Nick

Then the horses’s hooves stirred up the dirt

And the haze became too thick

I fired off a few more shots

Before an eerie silence fell

And I thought I saw two glowing eyes

Like two candles lit in hell

When the dust finally settled down

I couldn’t believe my eyes

Old Nick and all his men stood there

Unhurt and still alive

The posse all lay on the ground with

holes shot through their chests

Except the sheriff with his silver star

still shining on his vest

When Old Nick saw him standing there,

He gave an evil hiss

He said “Follow me, if you dare,

and we’ll put an end to this!”

Nick led his men back down the street

And then back out of town

The sheriff and I mounted up

So we could ride ‘em down

We chased ‘em ‘cross the darkening plains

Into the setting sun

I rode behind the shining star

One bullet in my gun

When the desperadoes rode up on a train

We followed suit

The sheriff was determined to end

He and Nick’s dispute

In the last dregs of the dying light

We climbed aboard the train

Its sides were black, its boiler steamed,

Its lonely whistle sang


We stepped inside of the caboose

And I saw Nick up ahead

Grinning back at both of us

Surrounded by the dead

He beckoned for us to follow

As he pressed on through the train

And we passed out of the world of men

Into the world of Cain

On that ghost train I saw devils

Of every shape and size

Some were playing faro,

and some were playing dice

There were skeletons in Stetsons

And decomposed ranch hands

All dancing to the ghoulish song

Of a dead mariachi band


As we traveled on I noticed

The sheriff’s star began to dim

It was harder to see through the dark

Separating me and him

Then all at once he disappeared

Behind a door of flame

It was then that I began to see

The truth of Old Nick’s game

From behind the door I heard a shot

And then a human scream

Then everything slowed down

Like I was stuck inside a dream

I busted through the door to find

The silver star was gone

There were now two pairs of yellow eyes

Where there had once been one

I lost all hope when I saw the thing

That used to be a man

And as I looked into its yellow eyes

I began to understand

If I wanted to escape Old Nick

And set my own soul free

I only had one chance left

My last bullet was for me

Now some folks say the sheriff

And Nick shot each other down

Others say he took his silver star

To a better town

But he’s just another lost soul

Serving on the devil’s train

And sometimes I still hear its whistle

Howling across the range


So that’s the story of a good and godly man

And how he fell

Lost his silver star and ended up

On the 3:10 out of hell

So if you ever think you’re proof against

Old Nick and all his friends

Remember how our lucky sheriff

Met his evil end


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