Bass Outlaw – Lawman, Gunfighter, & Texas Ranger


Bass Outlaw

Bass Outlaw

Bass (Baz) L. Outlaw was a lawman, gunfighter, and Texas Ranger during the days of the American West.

Bass Outlaw was born in 1854 to Meshack Napoleon and MaryAnn Elizabeth Smith Outlaw in Lee County, Georgia. Fron a good family, Bass grew up to be a refined gentleman, but he had a serious drinking problem that continually got him into trouble. After he allegedly killed a man in Georgia around 1884, Bass, also known as Baz, fled to Texas where he became a Texas Ranger. He was soon promoted to a sergeant but, when discovered drunk on duty in Alpine, Texas, he was dismissed.

Later, he obtained an appointment as a U.S. Deputy Marshal but was continually reprimanded for drinking. In 1889, while Baz, along with U.S. Deputy Marshals John Hughes and Walter Durbin, were guarding bullion shipments from a silver mine in Mexico, a drunken Baz fought with a Mexican worker and shot him. That same year, Baz, along with fellow U.S. Deputy Marshals, John Hughes and Ira Aten, and Deputy Sheriff Will Terry, planned an ambush near Vance, Texas on the fugitive Odle brothers. Before the night was over, Baz shot down both Will and Alvin Odle.

Texas Rangers Company D 1887 in Realitos, Texas. Baz Outlaw, back row, 2nd from left

Texas Rangers Company D 1887 in Realitos, Texas. Baz Outlaw, back row, 2nd from left

On April 5, 1894, when Baz was in El Paso, Texas, he got drunk and fired a shot into Tillie Howard’s brothel. When challenged by Constable John Selman and Texas Ranger Joe McKidrict, Baz pointed his gun at the two men, shooting McKidrict’s in the head. He then shot at Selman, missing but almost blinding the constable with the gun powder blast. Selman quickly returned fire and shot Outlaw in the chest. Staggering back, Baz fired twice more, wounding Selman, before he stumbled to the ground. Surrendering, Outlaw was led to a nearby saloon where he collapsed and died four hours later. (Also See an excerpt of the book “Whiskey River Ranger: The Old West Life of Baz Outlaw” HERE


By Kathy Weiser-Alexander, updated January 2020.

Also see:

Adventures of the American West

Excerpt from Whiskey River Ranger: The Old West Life of Baz Outlaw

Gunfighters of the Old West

Old West Lawmen