The Sam Bass Gang of Texas


Sam Bass Gang, photo courtesy City of Roundrock, Tx and Robert G. McCubbin, Jr.

Sam Bass Gang, photo courtesy City of Roundrock, Tx and Robert G. McCubbin, Jr.

When Sam Bass was working as a cowboy, he and three other men drove a large herd up from Texas to Kansas. Once the cattle were sold, however, they decided to keep the cattle owner’s money and headed to Deadwood, South Dakota. In no time they had gambled away and the men turned to outlawry. They then formed the Black Hills Bandits, where they robbed stagecoaches and pulled off the Big Springs train robbery in Nebraska.

Sam Bass escaped to Texas, where he formed the Bass Gang who began to rob trains and banks in the Lone Star State. Members of the gang included  Thomas Spotswood, Arkansas Johnson, Frank Jackson, Henry Underwood, Sam Pipes, Seaborn Barnes, and Albert Herndon.

In the spring of 1878, the Bass Gang held up two stagecoaches and four trains within 25 miles of Dallas. The gang quickly found themselves the target of a spirited chase across North Texas by a special company of Texas Rangers. Bass eluded his pursuers until one of his party, Jim Murphy, turned informer. As Bass band rode south intending to rob a small bank in Round Rock, Texas, Murphy informed the Texas Rangers of Sam’s plans. When the gang arrived at the Round Rock bank on July 19, 1878, the Rangers were waiting and in in the inevitable gunfight, Seaborn Barnes was shot in the head and Bass was severely wounded. Though he made it to his horse and rode out of town, he was found lying helpless in a pasture north of town the next day. He was then brought back to Round Rock where he died on July 21st.

For South Dakota and Nebraska robberies, see the Black Hills Bandits.

By Kathy Weiser-Alexander, December 2018.

Also See:

Highwaymen of the Railroads

Outlaws on the Frontier

Outlaw & Scoundrel Photo Galleries

Sam Bass and His Train Robber Gang

3 thoughts on “The Sam Bass Gang of Texas”

  1. I have an ancestor who’s name was James “Jim” Burns whom was also among the Same Bass gang. He was shot and killed in the shoot out between the gang and Texas Rangers. Ironically one of the Texas Rangers was James Burn’s cousin.

  2. Very confused on all the photos of Sam Bass your photo is supposed to be the only one but who is in all the other claimed photos

    1. Hi Tim, I remember being confused a bit too when it was brought to our attention and we changed the photos we had of Sam Bass. Our version, and information, came from the City of Round Rock Texas website, which includes the note: “Earlier versions of this web page used two photos that frequently have been claimed to be of Sam Bass and his gang, but are disputed. They have been replaced with an authenticated photo.

      Here is the link to their website page with the image in question.

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