The Ballad of Boot Hill Lyrics

Johnny Cash


publisher: ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
writers: Carl Perkins
album: Track 4 in album Sings the Ballads of the True West
release date: 1965
popularity : 9 users have visited this page.
genres: Rock Folk, World, & Country
styles: Country Rock/Acoustic
length: 3:50

Cover Art

Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West cover art
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Ira Hayes
Ira Hayes

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Gather round me people there's a story I would tell
About a brave young Indian you should remember well
From the land of the Pima Indian a proud and noble band
Who farmed the Phoenix valley in Arizona land

Down the ditches for a thousand years
The water grew Ira's peoples' crops
'Till the white man stole the water rights
And the sparklin' water stopped

Now Ira's folks were hungry
And their land grew crops of weeds
When war came, Ira volunteered
And forgot the white man's greed

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

There they battled up Iwo Jima's hill
Two hundred and fifty men
But only twenty-seven
Lived to walk back down again

And when the fight was over
And when Old Glory raised
Among the men who held it high
Was the Indian, Ira Hayes

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Ira returned a hero
Celebrated through the land
He was wined and speeched and honored
Everybody shook his hand

But he was just a Pima Indian
No water, no crops, no chance
At home nobody cared what Ira'd done
And when did the Indians dance

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Then Ira started drinkin' hard
Jail was often his home
They'd let him raise the flag and lower it
Like you'd throw a dog a bone

He died drunk one mornin'
Alone in the land he fought to save
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch
Was a grave for Ira Hayes

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Yeah, call him drunken Ira Hayes
But his land is just as dry
And his ghost is lyin' thirsty
In the ditch where Ira died


Track Listing

  • 1 Hiawatha's Vision
  • 2 The Road to Kaintuck
  • 3 The Shifting, Whispering Sands, Part I
  • 4 The Ballad of Boot Hill
  • 5 I Ride an Old Paint
  • 6 Hardin Wouldn't Run
  • 7 Mister Garfield
  • 8 The Streets of Laredo
  • 9 Johnny Reb
  • 10 A Letter From Home
  • 11 Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie
  • 12 Mean as Hell
  • 13 Sam Hall
  • 14 25 Minutes to Go
  • 15 The Blizzard
  • 16 Sweet Betsy From Pike
  • 17 Green Grow the Lilacs
  • 18 Stampede
  • 19 The Shifting, Whispering Sands, Part II
  • 20 Reflections