The first and biggest robbery of the a Union Pacific train took place on the moonlit night of September 18, 1877., just above the Colorado border near the town of Big Springs, Nebraska. Sam Bass, a Texas lawman turned brigand and five hardcase companions had already taken the stationmaster captive and destroyed the telegraph before the eastbound express train stopped to pick up the mail. The outlaws swept through the train and pried open strongboxes containing a total of $60,000 in currency and shiny $20 gold coins newly minted in San Francisco. They had to leave behind $300,000 in gold bullion because the bars were too heavy to carry away on horseback. They did take the time, however, to collect another $13,000 in cash plus many gold watches and rings from the passengers. Then the robbers disappeared into the darkness, stopping to cook supper and divide up the loot at the remains of Lone Tree, a towering cottonwood near the Platte River. For many years, rumor had it that the outlaws buried some of their gold coins near the tree, but none was ever found. Bass and his boys had attracted attention before the train heist when they robbed seven stagecoaches in Dakota Territory. But the Nebraska train robbery was a much more ambitious endeavor. Lawmen were under pressure to find the bandits, who had split into pairs and ridden off in different directions. Within a few weeks, three of them had been killed while resisting arrest. But Bass made it back to Texas unscathed and formed a new outlaw band. The Pinkertons where hot on his trail. A special unit was formed inside the Texas Rangers to track him down. The Rangers got to him first, killing him on his 27th birthday in 1878. Additional notes: A mint condition 1877 S $20 gold coin currently is valued at $2000 - $4000 each in today's market.