Round Rock Texas is the scene of one of the most famous shootouts in Texas’ rich history of gun battles. Indiana native Sam Bass brought his gang to Round Rock in 1878 looking to rob a bank. Little did he know there was a Judas in his group’s midst.
Bass associate Jim Murphy was tired of the outlaw game. He hatched a plan to save his hide by going to the authorities and offering to lead Bass into an ambush in downtown Round Rock. In exchange for this betrayal he would be allowed to walk free from the outlaw life.
Things got tricky when a young Williamson County deputy; A.W Grimes approached Bass in a mercantile as the bandit was making a purchase. He’d noticed that Bass was strapped and since carrying a firearm was illegal in Round Rock he called him out on it.
He was shot 6 times.
All hell broke loose.
Witness accounts of the day describe the scene as pure chaos. Bass and his crew attempted to flee after gunning down Grimes. It was not to be. Sam Bass immediately caught a round from the gun of Travis County deputy Morris Moore. The wound was not fatal however. Bass hightailed it, lead was flying every which way, Moore caught a bullet that took him out of the firefight.
Bass and fellow outlaw Seaborn Barnes sprinted into a nearby alley where their horses were tethered. As they took off they were fired upon by pursuing Rangers and a citizen. Barnes toppled off his horse, dead with a bullet to the head. Bass, badly wounded, escaped but was captured the next morning. He would die two days later from his gunshot wounds.
Ed note: This article is part of a longer piece we wrote on Round Rock food culture. It was published in 2012.