Buried treasure: Legendary outlaw’s Texas ranch could hold surprise

Newly listed S&S Ranch believed to be the hideout of notorious train robber Sam Bass

Sam Bass and S&S Ranch in Palo Pinto County (The History Junkie, 2S Ranch)
Sam Bass and S&S Ranch in Palo Pinto County (The History Junkie, 2S Ranch)

A recently listed Texas ranch property may hold a lost buried treasure, according to local legends.

S&S Ranch in Palo Pinto County was recently listed on the market, and is located roughly 80 miles from Dallas-Fort Worth, KSAT reports. While the ranch boasts many attractive features — including multiple stock tanks, roadways, and cattle pens — its association with notorious outlaw Sam Bass might be the most attractive.

“This is where the famous train robber and outlaw, Sam Bass, hid from the law,” a press release from the ranch states. “According to lore, his money could be hidden somewhere in this valley. In recent years the property has been used as ranch land.”

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According to the release, Sam Bass Hollow runs through the 2,649-acre property. Sam Bass was a notorious train robber, and ever since his death, rumors have circulated about loot he supposedly hid there but never retrieved before receiving a fatal bullet wound in 1878.

Born on a farm two miles from Mitchell, Indiana, on July 21, 1851, Bass was orphaned at a young age and received no formal schooling. At 18, he traveled to Rosedale, Mississippi, where he worked for a year in Charles’ Mill.

In 1870, he joined up with a teamster there named Scott Mayes, who was headed to Denton, Texas, and there found employment as a farmhand for Sheriff W. F. “Dad” Eagan. It was during this time that Bass engaged in many unlawful activities, particularly gambling, through which he earned enough money to quit his job.

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Then, after selling a herd of cattle in 1875 to the northern markets in Nebraska and using the proceeds to take up gold prospecting in the Black Hills, the two were left completely broke, and eventually turned to robbing stagecoaches.

Bass is said to have buried his loot from robbing stagecoaches, trains and banks in several places, including the Texas Hill Country. Some of the notable rumored locations include deep in the Longhorn Caverns outside Burnet in Hill Country, a creek bed near the community of Castell in Llano County marked by a rock in the fork of a tree, and inside a hollow tree somewhere in Round Rock.

The S&S Ranch is believed to have been Bass’s hideout, so the possibility of there being more treasure hidden in the valley is likely, though its value is unknown. The ranch is being sold for $8,500 an acre, which translates to just over $22.5 million, according to the marketing team.

“Sitting under a one hour and 30-minute drive from Fort Worth and within minutes to the lake, this land will create an incredible opportunity for an investor to develop or hold,” said Sam Demel of The Demel Group with Burt Ladner, who represents the listing.

Or, perhaps, to go prospecting…

[KSAT] — James Bell