The Ballad of Gilbert and Gwen


{G}The first time I saw {Am}Gilbert, I was {C}standing next to {G}Gwen,

{C}Just about to {D7}kiss her pretty {G}cheek.

It was {C}out in Lincoln {D7}County, where {G}Billy the Kid is {C}from,

At the {D7}saloon at White Oaks, {D}when I heard him {G}speak.

“Watch it, now,” he {Am}said to me.  I {C}didn’t see a {G}gun,

But I {C}felt no need or {D7}wish to start a {G}fight.

The sa{C}loon was filling {D7}quickly.  Curtis {G}played his vio{C}lin.

Just a{D7}nother White Oaks {D}dance hall Saturday {G}night.


Gilbert was a {Am}Mexican, {C}Gwen a pretty {G}blond,

Gwen’s {C}husband, Dennis, {D7}meek, a quiet {G}man.

{C}Gwen and Dennis {D7}and their son seemed a {G}happy fami{C}ly

After{D7}noons when {D}they came into {G}town.

But, when Gwen, her boots and {Am}Stetson, {C}left that happy {G}home,

To ride {C}fences with {D7}the wild Mexi{G}can,

{C}No one up at {D7}White Oaks drinking {G}beer at the sa{C}loon

Was sur{D7}prised to see it {D}come to such an {G}end.


But the end came sometime {Am}later, after {C}Gwen sent Gilbert {G}out

To {C}fetch her clothes from {D7}Dennis at their {G}house.

When Gilbert {C}knocked upon the {D7}screen door, Dennis {G}hit him with one {C}shot,

In an {D7}eye and through his {D}neck where it came {G}out.

Dennis went to {Am}jail, of course, but {C}Gilbert didn’t {G}die.

Gwen {C}doesn’t wear her {D7}Stetson any{G}more.

The {C}last time I saw {D7}Gilbert, he was {G}sitting by the {C}stove,

At the sa{D7}loon, where {D}Gwen was tending {G}bar.


His cane leaned in the {Am}corner.  His {C}eye was loosely {G}shut.

I {C}told him I was {D7}glad to see him {G}walk.

“Me, {C}too,” he said with {D7}quietness we’d {G}never known he {C}had.

And we {D7}quickly turned to {D}other White Oaks {G}talk.

Gwen, a yearning {Am}femme fatale, a {C}cowboy’s life she {G}wanted,

But she {C}never knew just {D7}how it all would {G}end.

{C}Out in Lincoln {D7}County, at the {G}old White Oaks sa{C}loon,

A{D7}nother story’s {D}just around the {G}bend.


Tooled {C}in a saddle {D7}made by Harlan {G}Webb,

A {C}cowboy’s life’s a {D7}surge and then an {G}ebb.

A {C}cowboy’s life’s a {D7}flame, an ember, {G}. . . .