So you say you wanna hear a story, do you? Well that's good, cause I got a lot of 'em to tell. Any of you ever heard the legend of Green Eyed Red? No?! Who was Green Eyed Red? Why, Green Eyed Red was only one of the most infamous personages ever to roam these here parts. Pull up a chair and I'll tell you all about it. Go on then, there's plenty of room for everybody. I guess it must be going on fifty years ago now, but I remember it as plain as I'm sittin' here today.
It was back in '67 or '68. The Civil War had ended a couple of years previous, but the wounds were still fresh in mind and spirit, if not in body. Nebraska had only just become a state, and the Union Pacific was layin' down rail faster than a jackrabbit can high-tail it from a coyote. And everywhere the railroad went, towns sprung up alongside it. Some of 'em are still around today, all growed up into cities, but a lot more of 'em sunk back into the mud outta which they come. Mean little towns they was, full of crooked lawmen, thieves, gamblers, gunfighters, and prostit- well, full of some of the most lowdown, shifty-eyed, bad tempered varmints you'd never want to meet.
And that's where this story begins: in a vile little hole called Dusty Hollow, where the crookedest Mayor ever to fix an election must've sold his soul to the Devil and some Eastern bankers to procure a rail stop. He owned almost everything in Dusty Hollow, including most of the people. Those few honest folk he couldn't buy, he ran outta there, if they were lucky. The unlucky ones, well, they weren't never heard from again. He let his son-in-law, a vicious brute who was also the Sheriff, run rampant over the town and handle the dirty work. But what old Mayor Wilkins and Sheriff Mears didn't count on was Green Eyed Red showin' up and settin' things right.
Now, there were a lot of wild stories about Red back in those days, more of 'em lies than not. Some called him the Red Bandit and claimed he robbed banks or trains. Some said he was a deserter from the Union Army, others swore it was the Confederate. Some called him a cold-blooded killer, while a few maintained he was a modern-day Robin Hood. Why, there were even one or two who insisted he wasn't even a 'he,' but nobody paid those folks any mind. And now I'm getting' ahead of myself, but I'll come back to all that in good time.
The redheaded stranger who rode into Dusty Hollow one fine day wasn't lookin' for nothin' more than a hot bath, a soft bed, and a friendly game of cards. Twasn't lookin' for any trouble, but as it often happens, trouble came a-knockin' all on its own. And that trouble started when Green Eyed Red moseyed up to Maclay's Saloon and laid eyes on the purtiest barmaid West of the Mississippi - or East, for that matter. 'Ol Red's sense just flew right out the window that day, and Dusty Hollow would never be the same.
So you all just sit back for a spell, cause this ain't no short story. Somebody stoke that fire, and I wouldn't say no to a strong cup of coffee. Now, where was I? Oh yeah. I may be old, but my memory hasn't failed me yet, and I can remember every detail of the legend of Green Eyed Red. I'm a-gonna tell it to you just like it happened, and I'll swear on a stack of Bibles, every word of it is true.