Honored Guest

About Kirby Jonas
Books and Recordings
Contacting Kirby Jonas


Back to Honored Guests
Back on home


About Kirby Jonas:

Kirby Frank Jonas was born in 1965 in Bozeman Montana. He lived along a once-remote road in a rambling vee in the mountains known as Bear Canyon, where cattle range gave way to spruce and fir, and the wild country was forever ingrained in him. It was there he gained his love for the Old West, listening late at night to his daddy tell stories and sing western ballads, and watching television westerns such as Gunsmoke, The Virginian and the Big Valley, and listening to a well-worn long playing record of Davey Crockett.

Jonas next lived on a remote farm in the middle of Civil War battlefield country near Broad Run, Virginia. That was followed by a move to Shelley, Idaho, where he completed all of his school years, wrote his first book (The Tumbleweed) in the sixth grade and his second (The Vigilante) as a senior in high school. He has since written six published novels and two which are forthcoming, one which was co-authored by his older brother Jamie. He is currently co-authoring a novel entitled Yaqui Gold. His partner is none other than his hero, actor Clint Walker, star of the TV Western Cheyenne.

Besides writing novels, Jonas also paints wildlife and the West. He has done all of his cover art and hundreds of other pieces. He is a songwriter and guitar player and singer of old Western ballads and trail songs. Jonas enjoys the joking title given to him by his friends, "The Renaissance Cowboy."

After living in Arizona to research his first two books, and traveling through nine countries in Europe, to get his glimpse of the world, Jonas settled permanently in Pocatello, Idaho. He has made a living fighting forest fires for the Bureau of Land Management in five western states, worked for the Idaho Fish and Game Department, been a security guard and a guard for Wells Fargo in Phoenix Arizona. He was employed as an officer for the Pocatello city police and currently works as a city firefighter. He and his wife, Debbie, have four children, Cheyenne Kaycee, Jacob Talon, Clay Logan, and Matthew Morgan


The Empty Saddle of Old Paint

The Gunfight

Dallas Ford


The Empty Saddle of Old Paint

I walk alone to the old corral and stand there in the dust;
This ranch once made us money, but now it's just a bust.
A wind comes rustlin' down, shakin' dreams out of the trees,
And my memories are ridin' on that cool southwestern breeze.

I place a hand on the old top rail--it's smooth now with the years;
I see a gray horse tail hair, and I choke back all the tears.
It's caught there on a splinter, the one rough spot on the rail,
The only thing that's left of Paint--just a hair out of his tail.

There's a saddle hanging rough and rotted, at the shed that sits nearby,
I couldn't put it on another horse, no matter how I'd try.
That saddle fit you perfectly, just like it was built there
Right over the spotted pattern of your perty pinto hair.

There's a trail up through the jagged pines, another on the ridge;
A rough road follows the river, then crosses the old bridge.
One path leads up high, into the snowy mountains,
We found that path ten years ago, that led to Bear Creek's fountains.

There's many trails we've ridden, friend, and I'd just like to know,
Which is the one you follow, and where do you like to go.
Where do you ride tonight, Old Paint? Your empty saddle's hangin' here;
Are there still some trails we missed that always keep you roamin' near?

I don't guess there's some cowboy's spirit a-ridin' you 'round Heaven,
For no man but me could ride you, here on the old Bar Seven.
And as for me, Old Paint, I spend a lot of my time hikin';
For since you left, my own two hooves are just more to my likin'.

I've tried to make another friend out of a horse like you,
But I just can't seem to find one that's anywhere near so true.
The song says I die first, and then Paint packs me away,
So tell me, friend, why you said good-bye, and I buried you that day.

1995, Kirby Jonas 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Gunfight

They climbed down from their weary mounts
and faced off on the street;
Wild Ned with two guns on Slick Joe had come to meet.
They eyed each other up and down, both rugged, long, and lean;
Two of the fastest, meanest men the West had ever seen.
I don't know where old Wild Ned went or what became of Joe--
For after the embarrassment of that gunfight, a-driftin' they did go.
They had to have their battle, like all opposing forces,
But the shame of it is, both missed their mark--they killed each other's horses.

1995, Kirby Jonas 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Dallas Ford

He was killing mad, was Dallas Ford,
When the bank was robbed that day;
He believed in justice by the sword,
And the man who fled would pay.

Old Sheriff Briggs was out of town
When the dirty deed was done;
So Dallas gathered the crowd around
When he'd loaded up his gun.

"Our bank's been robbed this afternoon,"
Dallas Ford said to the crowd.
"We'll have to kill that robber soon."
His words rang clear and loud.

"If the choice is ours," the banker cried;
"It is not our job to kill."
"Kill him dead," Big Dallas sighed,
"Or the hangman's gallows will."

They tracked him through the mountain land--
Dallas Ford was full of fury;
They'd bury the bandit in the sand,
They'd kill him in a hurry.

The posse soon was growing short--
Its men were dropping back.
As they made the town they gave report:
Dallas Ford would give no slack.

He wanted death and only death--
Capture would be a sin;
He wished to still the robber's breath,
Not just to bring him in.

He rode alone, this Dallas Ford--
He'd chased the rest away
By pushing justice by the sword
Until the final day.

The killer couldn't get away,
Dallas Ford had worn him down;
He caught him at the end of day,
Fifty miles from town.

Dallas Ford could have chosen life,
But he wanted death instead;
He drew his old Colt forty-five,
To shoot the robber in his bed.

He turned him over on his back
And gave a cry of fear;
So this was the man they had to track,
And the death trail ended here!

Now damn his justice by the sword!
And on himself he turned his gun;
He'd sent a boy on to the Lord;
He'd killed his only son.

1997, Kirby Jonas 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Books and Recordings

Kirby Jonas is known across the West as "The New Louis L'Amour." He has written seven best selling Western novels, all available through his website, through major book chains, or through Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, Walmart.com, or borders.com. Jonas has three books recorded on audio tape by James Drury ("the Virginian") and is currently working on a book with actor Clint Walker.


Contacting Kirby Jonas

Visit Kirby Jonas' web site for information about Kirby and his writing, his art, his horses, a mailing list and message board, great links, and more.



Our thanks to Gene O'Quinn for the inspiration for this feature about Kirby Jonas.







 What's New | Poems

 Features | Events  

The BAR-D Roundup | Cowboy Poetry Week

Poetry Submissions 

Subscribe | Newsletter | Contact Us

  Join Us!


Authors retain copyright to their work; obtain an author's
permission before using a poem in any form.


CowboyPoetry.com is a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc., a Federal and California tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.  


Site copyright information