|Texas Outlaw Sam Bass|
Later in this article is a brief description of the Union Pacific train robbery that occurred on September 18, 1877 at Big Springs Nebraska.
The Sam Bass Caves in Texas
Sam Bass and his gang stole a good deal of money in the period of just a few years and it's been said that he hid some of the loot in remote caves in Texas. If your travels take you to the Lone Star State you may want to add these interesting sites to your Texas trip planner.
|Cave entrance near Burnet Texas|
One cave said to be used by Sam Bass is today within the Lone Star Caverns State Park. Longhorn Caverns State Park is located in Burnet County Texas. This is about 63 miles northwest of Austin and about 10 miles north of Marble Falls in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Longhorn Caverns is on Park Road 4 accessed to the west off of U.S. Hwy 281 and north of Marble Falls.
The park operates 363 days per year, closing only on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.When you take one of the guided tours of the fascinating caverns and their colorful and unique structures you'll have a chance to see one of the the entrances to a cave reportedly used almost 150 years ago by Sam Bass and supposdly was used to store some of his plunder. Be sure to climb the observation tower for a great view of the surrounding Texas Hill Country. The observation tower was built in 1935 by the CCC.
Nothing says that an outlaw can have only one cave to hide out in. Many say that Sam Bass also hid out in a cave just south of Denton Texas. While the location today is on private land, the cave is located in a hill that's easily seen from Interstate 35 W. The hill is named Signal Hill and there's also a story that treasure was hid their as well but by this date the site certainly has been thoroughly searched and explored.
|Longhorn Caverns Observation Tower|
There have been many rumors to surface that said Sam Bass used a cave which today resides near Grapevine Lake. Being so long ago nobody knows for certain if this is true or not but the location is in the area that Bass was known to hang around. Grapevine Lake is located just north/northwest of today's DFW International Airport between Dallas and Fort Worth. A very interesting exploration of the cave's location with photos can be seen at website www.http://thiseclecticlife.com/2014/02/17/denton-cave-sam-bass/
The Union Pacific Train Robbery at Big Springs Nebraska
The robbery of the Union Pacific gold train in Big Springs Nebraska was one of the biggest train holdups ever. After taking over the train depot and destroying the telegraph, Sam Bass and five companions from Texas stopped the Union Pacific express train which just so happened to be taking a large amount of gold east. In fact, this particular train was carrying a very large amount of gold coins.
Bass and his gang reportedly took some $60,000 in the robbery. This kind of stolen loot made Sam Bass a very wanted man. The stolen money was in $20 gold pieces freshly minted at the San Francisco Mint. This was a great deal of money in that era. The story of the robbery is that the gang initially found only about $450 but just before leaving they came across the crates of gold pieces.
The gang was violent. They pistol whipped a freight agent on the Union Pacific train. History states that this was and still stands as the largest Union Pacific robbery to ever occur. This type of heist made Sam Bass one of the great train robbers and very much in the sights of the country's lawmen. What's also amazing is that the Big Springs Nebraska train robbery involving this large amount of loot was the gang's first ever train holdup.
By the late 1870's Bass had not only the Texas Rangers on his trail but also the Pinkerton detectives. One of the surest ways for an outlaw to be in the sights of the Pinkertons was to rob a train. This is what brought the Pinkertons to Missouri looking for Jesse James and his gang. In the case of Sam Bass, he was tied in to other train and stagecoach robberies and was wanted by the Pinkertons and local law enforcement as well as the governor of Texas. Another one of Bass' train holdups occurred in Allen Texas, today another far northern suburb of Dallas. That robbery involved a Texas and Pacific Railroad train.
In the late 1800's when western local law enforcement might have been shorthanded, the Pinkertons really functioned as a quasi police force.
A Short Career
Sam Bass met his end in Round Rock Texas, just a few miles north of Austin, in 1878. His was not an especially long criminal career. Bass died at the age of 27 after being gunned down by a lawman in Round Rock where Bass and others had planned to rob the Williamson County Bank. During the shootout in Round Rock Bass shot and killed one deputy and seriously wounded another.
See the Western Trips articles on the links below...
Jesse James and the Blue Cut Train Robbery
The Most Famous Stagecoach Driver Charley Parkhurst
Yuma Territorial Prison / The First Female Stagecoach Robber
|1800's structure in old town Round Rock, TX|
It was said that two people were firing rifles at the fleeing gang, one a Texas ranger, as they were attempting to mount their horses for their escape. One gang member was killed and Bass was mortally wounded. Sam Bass was able to flee the shooting on horseback with another gang member but had to dismount outside of town because of pain. They were not immediately pursued. The next day a search party found the wounded Bass resting against a tree and brought him back to Round Rock where he died on July 21st. This was merely eight years after had originally arrived in Texas from Mississippi.
(Article and photos copyright 2014 Western Trips)