Fellow Texas Ranger, Alonzo Oden once described Bass Outlaw, aka Baz Outlaw, as “So kind… more sympathetic, more tender, more patient than all of us when necessary.” Except “Bass [can’t] leave liquor alone and when Bass [is] drunk, Bass [is] a maniac”.* Bass joined the Texas Rangers in 1885. He served in Company E & D. He was a bit of a mystery man who came to Texas from Georgia. As he was fearless and lightning fast with a Colt, he was promoted to Sergeant. He was found drunk while on duty in Alpine, TX and was forced to resign. Eventually, he became a U.S. Deputy Marshal and sometimes worked in conjunction with the Rangers. In April of 1894, Bass Outlaw was in El Paso to testify in court. He became intoxicated and ran into Constable John Selman who escorted him to Tillie Howard’s sporting house to sober up. Later, Tillie blew her police whistle and while responding, Ranger McKidrict was shot in the head by Bass. In the ensuing gun battle, John Selman delivered a fatal shot above Bass’ heart. Bass Outlaw was carried to the rear of Barnum’s Saloon. Four hours later, he was dead. Subsequently, County Judge F.E. Hunter ordered Sheriff Simmons to surrender 3 weapons to Tom C. Powell (the undertaker) to recover burial expenses. The guns are identified by SN in the court order. Bass Outlaw was certain to have been proud to own these engraved Colts. He ‘earned’ the price of it by riding hard and shooting straight: 5 1/2″ bbl, .44-40, nickeled, scroll engraved with fairly full coverage. Two piece mother of pearl grips feature a Mexican Eagle and snake carved opposite. One left side for the left hand gun, the other the right side for the right hand gun. Nice bore, nice Colt markings but the backstrap inscription is very faint, mechanically crisp and tight. Overall gun shows use with moderate wear and some rounding to the corners. Generous amount of original nickel-the balance cleaned to a semi-bright gray. This is a rare opportunity to own a solidly documented Colt once owned by a most colorful lawman. Complete with Factory Letter stating it was shipped to El Paso, Texas. A couple years after we found the first Bass Outlaw gun, we discovered he had actually owned a matched pair of the Colt’s. As Fate would have it, we located the mate and were able to reunite the pair. In looking at the carvings on the grips, we can see that the first Bass gun was his left-hand gun, and the second one was his right-hand gun. Below are photos of each gun, starting with the left-hand gun. *Excerpts from: ‘Classic Gunfights’ by Bob Boze Bell; True West Publishing.
Sold by Merz in 2005, and in 2011.