Brooks first heard the song in 1988 while he was still putting together his debut album. He and his friend Randy Taylor, who co-wrote his debut single, "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)
," were playing darts at Nashville's Douglas Corner Café while Davis was performing on stage. Brooks, who was initially skeptical when Davis said the song was on hold for Willie Nelson, was embarrassed to find himself at the front of the crowd, staring at her in awe by the end of the performance.
Davis recollected in Brooks' 2017 book, The Anthology Part 1: The First Five Years
: "Now, I'd met Garth several months before, but this time he was dressed differently. He had these terrible Bermuda shorts on and his ball cap on backwards, playing darts in the back. I just didn't recognize him. When I got to 'Wolves,' not many other people are listening, but this guy just started walking slowly up to the stage until he's standing there in front of me, holding this dart in his hand, kind of pointing it at me."
Brooks, who recorded the tune after Nelson backed out, explained his reaction: "In Oklahoma, there were the two kinds of people: poor with land and poor without. But these guys that had it, they're fighting like hell just to hang on to it. That story hit me like a ton of bricks."