The Ghost of Texas Hero Sam Bass Led Me to His Secret Treasure

Sam Cliff
13 min readDec 12, 2022

Part 1 — An Exclusive Historical Discovery Documented for Humankind


For circumstances beyond my control, in the past month I got slapped with the official title of “public danger” and became an outlaw in my own home. Taking my life back into my own hands from a serial hoarder and abusive daily shaming and belittling for my medical condition, well, yeah, I’ll hit the road. Tried the VRBO and AirBnB offerings, but for whatever reason, both I tried to book cancelled on me. Maintenance related, but still almost a pattern if I kept trying.

I picked a budget extended stay place with a little kitchen; a furnished studio apartment — definitely a better deal than trying to get a legit 6 or 12 month lease and filling it with…stuff… The hoarder wanted to leave first and get a new place for three (3) months at $3,000 a month, unfurnished. That’s what happens when you fill the house with unfulfilling shit — there’s no room anywhere for love in such a depressing mess of a place.

Standing outside my temporary lodging, across a couple streets was an empty field that continued over the horizon. An old fence, like really old posts and barbed wire, and wide as the eye could see. Rolling hills, so maybe a creek? The idea to explore also came from being kicked out of my home — for protection, I bought a Sig Sauer 1911 Air Pistol and wanted to practice with it. Hear how it sounds, considering it’s all metal with a blowback slide. Enough to be a deterrent I figure.

Checking out the local ordinances, they’re very rural still, allowing for archery and air guns on 10 acres 150 feet away from a building (with reasonable safety for trajectory landing), and firearms like shotguns on 50 acres or more I think. Basically pretty open for seasonal hunting which is a community staple. Texas genuinely provides amazing natural resources in some areas, and this is one. Later I’d find signs of bird hunters — shotgun shells, a Topo Chico bottle and a 32 oz Corona Extra bottle.

Tracking a Trail

After years in the Cub Scouts and losing interest by the time it was Boy Scout recruitment, as I’d found guitar much more appealing then (and still love it), my wilderness skills are quite above average. Roughing is a family tradition going back easily to my Father’s Father, a Mason who moved around a lot with the family in tow. Mostly the West Coast…



Sam Cliff

Gonzo School of Journalism, BA & MA, Guitarist, OCTX, IG austin_on_guitar