The Dead Robber Reward

A legendary lawman took issue with a controversial bounty system.

In the 1920s, Texas was beset by bank robberies. So in 1927, the Texas Bankers Association took action, offering a $5000 reward for any dead robber. Lawman Frank Hamer was bothered by that. Some of the “robbers” were unarmed. Others were set up by people looking for a big payday—including officers of the law.

So Hamer undertook his own investigation into the robber killings, finding that many were little more than murders.  Eventually, the association modified the reward for robbers legally killed during daylight holdups. The dead robber’s reward wasn’t rescinded until 1964.

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