In the 1920s, things were tough for people living in the rural areas of Texas. The economy sucked, and with the desperate times came people turning to a life of crime to get by. Bank robberies became very popular in rural Texas during this time. The extreme frequency of the robberies led the Texas Bankers Association to put out a reward for anyone who killed a bank robber caught in the act.

How Much Is A Dead Bank Robber Worth In Texas?

The Texas Bankers Association got fed up with all the robberies taking place and they began circulating flyers advertising a cash reward for the legal killing of anyone attempting to rob a bank. As you can imagine, people began keeping their eyes wide open for a potential payday.

Stories began circulating of bank robbers getting mowed down in a blaze of bullets, and heroes getting their monetary reward. Originally the reward was $500 per dead bank robber. Eventually, that reward would be raised to $5,000.

As is the case with anything having to do with a bank, there was some print. The bank had to be in good standing with the Texas Bankers Association for you to get paid for filling a bank robber with lead.

Legendary Critics Of The Cash For Dead Bank Robbers Program

When it comes to the number of bank robberies, the program was a success. The number of robberies taking place in Texas drastically reduced. Knowing that anyone at any time could put a bullethole in you for attempting a bank robbery probably made would-be robbers think twice.

The program wasn't without its critics, though. One legendary critic was Texas Ranger Frank Hammer. Hammer was the legendary lawman who tracked down the infamous Bonnie and Clyde. Supposedly, Frank Hammer said that the reward aroused the greed of men who loved money more than human life.

There were even instances when robbers turned on each other to cash in on the reward.

The Tragic Santa Claus Bank Robbery Of Cisco, Texas

The Santa Claus Bank Robbery was a tragic moment in the history of the small town of Cisco, Texas. Four robbers, one dressed as Santa, descended on the bank. A massive shootout would erupt, leaving the bank with over 200 bullet holes and multiple people gravely injured.

The big question is who fired the bullets that killed the Chief and a deputy that day. When the gunfire started, bullets flew from every direction. Police, the robbers, and citizens all exchanged shots. Some believe the big reward for a dead bank robber, with four potentially inside the bank, led to the extreme volley of gunfire.

The Reward Program In Texas Today

Oddly enough, the reward program stayed in place until the 1960s. At that point, it was changed. No longer would the reward be for a dead bank robber. Instead, it would be for information.

Today, the TBA Foundation offers rewards for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of bank robbers.

Take A Tour: Adorable Texas Home Is Actually Site Of Infamous Slaying

This is the former home of the "Blue Eyed Butcher". The details of this case would rock Houston- and appear in several television shows and even a movie.

Gallery Credit: Renee Raven

LOOK: 12 Unsolved Homicides by the Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers currently have 12 homicides that have gone cold and have not been solved or the suspect apprehended. These cases stem back to 1978.

If you have any information regarding any of the homicides below you are encouraged to call Texas Crimestoppers at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477) or you can submit a tip online here.

Gallery Credit: Lori Crofford/TSM Amarillo