There is a man sitting on the railroad track. They never called him Lost John before, but now they do, because he's in trouble deep. He's about to leave the stage. The blues hit him like a hammer hits the nail. Something is out of whack. He could travel the world, he thinks, but it would only be to return to the arms of Nettie Moore. So what's the point? It is all struggle and strife and anything might go wrong. He might not even make it back home alive.
But what do you expect from the oldest son of a crazy man? Time is running out for him. While on the road he has done a lot of bad things and hiding in a cowboy band is no longer an option. The countdown has begun, there will be a prize to pay, but even as the net is closing in on him, he'll still walk through a blazing fire for his Nettie Moore.
Looking back on a long life he can tell the world has gone berserk. Like everybody else he was brought up in one religion or another, never paid any attention, but now that he is reaching the end of his trail, he's beginning to believe what the scriptures tell.
He'd like to go back one more time to the loneliest place on earth with that huge cross in the empty fields, the place where the Southern crosses the Yellow Dog, just to get away from people's opinions and orders from the D.A.
All the time that Nettie's not with him, bad luck women follow him around, nagging him to be careful in this dance and to lay of the booze. How he misses his Nettie Moore. There is no none left here to tell.
He wonders why his baby never looked so good before, then realizes he has to wonder no more. He is going to need all night to eat all that food she prepared for his last meal. Earlier he faced his judge who said “rise” and he rose and he said: Whatever you have to say won't come as any surprise to me. Just don't call me any names.
Shivering in his cell he can tell it's getting light outside, temperature is down. Vengeance was on his mind all night, plotting a different ending, to make the powers that be come to grips with fate. He'd like to teach them how to keep their business straight. But in the meantime it is Nettie Moore who rules his heart. You couldn't cut their love apart and when he is with her, all his grieve gives way. He could live with her forever and it would be like a heavenly day. But the world has gone black before his eyes.
Now that he is about to meet his maker at the end of winter, when the river is on the rise, he'll raise a voice of praise. He is standing in the light, wishing to God it were night. Then the world goes black before his eyes.