I don't think it's a conicidence, that this song came out during the height of gangster rap. But unlike Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre and other of their ilk, their were no hysterical polticians and no complaints from NOW.
Like so many of my generation, this was the song that taught me that country could be cool. This dark, violent, "love song" with the coolest dude on the planet. I still get chills.
Here's an earlier version of the song, with slightly different lyrics. I think it proves that Cash was well aware of popular culture when he updated it for American Recordings: