(July 21, 1851 - July 21, 1878)
Sam Bass was orphaned at 12 and went to live with his uncle. He ran away to Denton, Texas worked odd jobs and raced his Denton mares. He met Joel Collins, herded cattle to Nebraska, lost that money in Deadwood, South Dakota and began to rob stagecoaches. With a group of others, Sam robbed an eastbound train in Big Springs, Nebraska and relieved it of $60,000. The gang split up. Three were caught and killed in shootouts.
Sam Bass formed a new gang and proceeded to rob two stagecoaches and three trains, but the winnings for each was little. A new gang member, Jim Murphy, came onboard and he would prove to be a traitor. Sam was unhappy with the take from the train robberies, so he turned to banks. The gang scouted the bank in Round Rock, Texas twice and decided to rob it on July 20, 1878. Murphy told the Texas Rangers.
The gang arrived a day early to inspect the bank one more time. Sam Bass, Seaborn Barnes and Frank Jackson went to a general merchandise store. Two local sheriffs thought they saw a concealed weapon on one stranger. They followed Sam, Seaborn. and Frank. One sheriff boldly asked if Seaborn was carrying a gun. That sheriff was dropped to the floor by a bullet, the other sheriff shot Sam in the hand, but also fell from a chest wound. The gunfire alerted the Texas Rangers and when the gang ran from the store to their horses, Seaborn toppled from a bullet to the head and Sam collapsed from a wound that would prove fatal. Frank made it to his horse, helped Sam on his and they rode out of town.
Sam was found the next day not far from town. He was brought back to Round Rock and died on his 27th birthday.
Sam Bass is buried in the Round Rock Cemetery in Round Rock, Texas. Seaborn Barnes, also, killed that day is buried nearby.
Information compiled by Steve Grimm
Books About Sam Bass
Sam Bass and Gang by Rick Miller
The latest book on Sam Bass and it is a good one. The author has a great writing style and the references are outstanding. This may be the biography to end all. At least until next time.
The Tenderfoot Bandits by Paula Reed and Grover Ted Tate
This book covers the lives of Sam Bass and Joel Collins. It's a good book that is well organized.
A Sketch of Sam Bass, the Bandit by Charles L. Martin
It has been a while since I read this book and I remember it as being good.
A True Story of Sam Bass by Sam Bass Cafe
A small pamphlet from a defunct cafe in Round Rock, Texas.