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PATONIO, THE PRIDE OF THE PLAINS (Author Uncertain - possibly Harry C. McAuliffe & Bobby Gregory) Powder River Jack Lee - 1938 Also recorded by: Big Slim The Lone Cowboy; Hank Snow; Billy Walker; Hawkshaw Hawkins; Don Edwards; Bob King; Jim Greer & The Mac-O-Chee Valley Folks; Norman Blake; Glen Ohrlin; Pop Wagner. TRIVIA: This song was originally called "Plantonio, The Pride Of The Plains", but came to be known as "Patonio, The Pride Of The Plains" (and various other spellings of the name). It is not absolutely certain who wrote it, but it is often attributed to Harry C. McAuliffe and Bobby Gregory. McAuliffe's real name was Harry Aliff and he performed under the name Big Slim the Lone Cowboy. It was first officially published in 1931 and the first known recording of the song was by Powder River Jack Lee in 1938 under the title "Platonia, The Pride Of The Plains". The lyrics vary slightly from one recording to another, but below is what seems to be the most common version: You look at the picture with a wondering eye And then at the arrow that's hanging close by And say tell a story as there's one I know Of a horse I once owned down in New Mexico He was swift as an antelope and black as a crow With a star on his forehead as white as the snow His arched neck was hidden by a long flowing mane And they called him Patanio the Pride of The Plains The country was new then, the settlers were scarce The Indians on the warpath were savage and fierce Scouts were sent out every day from the post But they never came back, so we knew they were lost One day the Captain said someone must go For help to the border of New Mexico A dozen brave fellows straightway answered, "Here!" But the Captain he spied me and said, "Son, come here" Patanio beside me, his nose in my hand Said the captain, "Your horse is the best in the land You're good for this ride, you're the lightest man here On the back of that mustang you've nothing to fear" "I'm proud of my horse, Sir," I answered, "You know Patanio and I are both willing to go" They all shook my hand as I mounted the black Patanio sped forward and I gave him his slack For eighty long miles over the plains we must go For help to the border of New Mexico The black struck a trot and he kept it all night Till just as the east was beginning to light When back from behind me there came a fierce yell We knew that the redskins were hot on our trail I rose up and jingled the bells on his rein And I stroked his neck softly and I called him by name He answered my touch with a toss of his head And his black body lengthened as onward he sped The arrows fell round me like showers of rain When in my left leg, oh, I felt a sharp pain The red blood was flowing from Patanio's side But he never once shortened his powerful stride Patanio, poor fellow, I knew he was hurt But still he dashed onward and on to the fort By good care Patanio and I were soon well Of his death long years after it hurts me to tell They write songs about him the cowboys still sing The legend lives on of his long flowing mane So look at the arrow that hangs on the wall It was shot through my leg, boot, stirrup and all On many fine horses I've since drawn the reins But none like Patanio the Pride of The Plains ********** As recorded by POWDER RIVER JACK LEE: You gaze on that picture with wondering pride And then at the arrow that hangs by my side You say tell a story, you know there is one Of the beautiful creature with eyes like the sun That name ever haunts me whereever I go I'll tell you a story, 'twill thrill you I know Of the famous cow pony I rode on the range And they called him Platonia, the Pride of the Plains He was swift as an antelope, black as a crow With a spot on his forehead whiter than snow His hair, like a lady's, was glossy and fine He was restless and proud, yet was gentle and kind But the flame in his eyes smouldered fiery and deep He would always graze by me where I lay asleep With arched neck so graceful, and dark flowing mane And I called him Platonia, the Pride of the Plains Our country was new and settlers were scarce The Indians blood-thirsty, savage and fierce Our scouts rode away and we got no report They were lost, for they never came back to the fort The captain spoke up and said someone must go And get help on the borders of New Mexico A dozen brave cowboys at once answered "Here," But the captain saw me, I was standin' right near Platonia beside me with nose in my hand The Cap knew my horse was the best in the land He says, "If there's any one soul can go through And outride the redskins, my boy, it is you" Proudly I looked at my pony, I know Platonia and I are both ready to go They all shook my hand, as I leaped he dashed forth I rode down the dark trail and swung his head North The black strikes a trot and he keeps it all night And just as the horizon started to light Not very far back there arose up a wail And we knowed the red devils wuz hot on our trail I stroked his black neck and I called him by name He answered the petting by tossing his mane His dark body lengthened and faster he sped And my rifle kept popping as onward we fled The redskins surround us, I turn his head West The arrows keep falling, a blow in the chest I speak to my pony, the best on the range Steady, Platonia, the Pride of the Plains Bloody the froth flowing down o'er his bit And arrows all marking where he has been hit Platonia, poor feller, I knowed he wuz hurt But he dashes right onward and up to the fort. I gave them the messages, there's a dull haze around My cow pony stumbles and then he goes down Though wounded and weak, I'm a feelin' right bad For the best pony comrade that man ever had But before very long we are both pulling through Of his death, years later, I'll not tell to you I have rode many ponies, I've held many reins But there's none like Platonia, the Pride of the Plains (Transcribed by Mel Priddle - March 2011)


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