This is one of my favorite cowboy songs. It comes from the singing of Slim Critchlow; it was a poem by Bennett Foster and Slim put it to music, and recorded it in 1968. Unfortunately there's a word in the seoncd verse that I've never been able to make out. I can't find the song on the web or in Glenn Orhlin's Hell-Bound Train or anwyhere else. So this is a lyric addition with a request for the mysterious word, or even a good suggestion for what would fit.
THE LAST WAGON
Words: Bennett Foster. Music: Slim Critchlow.
Someday when the barbed wire flings its band
Like a fisherman's net round the last range land
The last roundup wagon will roll away
To the last bedground at the end of the day.
Lord, don't let me live to see.
The last [???????] will jingle into
The last corrall while the night birds sing
The last cooking fires will flicker bright
By the dwarf mesquite on that roundup night
Lord, where will that bedground be?
And then in the morning from tarp and tent
The roundup crew, on their work intent,
Will answer the call of the wagon boss.
On the dew-wet range their circles cross.
Lord, where will those circles end?
The drives will come from flat and hill
And the cattle bawl while the irons grow chill
And silent men watch their last herd go.
While notched in the hills the sun sinks low.
Lord, how will you make amends?
Last roundup crew, last wagon boss;
How can you measure the thing that is lost?
What will live on the grass-grown range?
All will be lost and what will be gained?
Lord, how will you comfort me?