They don’t call him “Shotgun Willie” for nothing.
He ran straight for his truck, kicked it in high gear all the way there, walked in the front door, and told his son-in-law to never lay a finger on her again:
“I ran for my truck and drove to the place where Steve and Lana lived and slapped Steve around.”
After slapping Steve around a little, Willie drove back to his Ridgetop, Tennessee home (where they resided at the time), when next thing you know, Steve pulled into the driveway, and began firing at the house with a .22 rifle.
Willie was standing in the barn doorway, and a bullet barely missed his head.
That’s when Willie proceeded to grab his M-1 rifle and fire right back at the crazed son-in-law.
Steve drove off, but when he came back, Willie came charging out of the garage and put a bullet into one of his tires.
“That’s when I shot his car and shot out his tire.”
And thus the legend of Shotgun Willie was born.
But did you know that’s not the only gunfight Willie Nelson has found himself in the middle of?
Nelson’s long-time stage manager/bus driver Randy “Poodie” Locke recalled the wild moment in the singer’s autobiography, Willie: An Autobiography.
It all started after a show in at the Birmingham Coliseum in Birmingham, Alabama in the late 1970s. The band – and Willie – had made their way back to the bus, which was parked in a six-story parking garage, when suddenly the sound of gunfire began to erupt around them.
“We all carried two or three guns and plenty of ammo back then. Half the band was already on the Tube, Mickey was off chasing the monkey someplace.
All of a sudden we hear ‘Kaboom! Kaboom! It’s the sound of a .357 magnum going off in the parking garage.
The echoes sound like howitzer shells exploding. It’s kind of semi-dark, and this guy comes blowing through this parking deck and jumps in the Franks Brothers’ Suburban.
Now here comes this b*tch with a f*cking pistol. ‘Kaboom!’ She’s chasing this motherf*cker. It sounds like a f*cking war.”
Finally the cops show up to try to get the chaotic scene under control:
“People are piling out of the show and they start scattering.
Here come the cops from every direction. They’re flying out of their cars, hitting the parking deck, spread-eagling the whole crowd… ‘On the deck, motherf*ckers!’… because the cops don’t know who is shooting at who.
We cut the lights and slip around the back of the bus. All you can see are police headlights in a big semi-circle and hundreds of people laying flat on the ground…all these cops are squatting down in the doorjambs, turning people over, frisking them, aiming guns at everybody, just waiting for the next shot to be fired.”
But then Willie decides to take matters into his own hands:
“And here comes Willie.
He walks off the bus wearing cutoffs and tennis shoes, and he’s got two huge Colt .45 revolvers stuck in his waist. The barrels are so long they stick out the bottom of his cutoffs.
Two shining motherf*cking pistols in plain sight of a bunch of cops nervous as sh*t.
Willie just walks over and says, ‘What’s the trouble?’ Well he’s got some kind of aura to him that just cools everything out. The cops put up their guns, the people climb off the concrete, and pretty soon Willie is signing autographs.”
Willie Nelson: Peacemaker.
Of course nobody’s going to mess with a man in cutoffs with two pistol barrels sticking out of the bottom of his shorts.