Barnabas T. Bullion came from a powerful East Coast family. He began mining into Big Thunder Mountain, after hearing of the gold in its hills. He bought a drilling machine from inventor Jason Chandler and hired workers to do the digging for him in the small town of Tumbleweed. Though Chandler warned him of the ill that came to the greedy, he didn’t care. Gold was his birthright, by the virtue of his name, and the ultimate gold strike was his destiny.
But the superstitions proved to be right. The mines have been plagued by mysterious forces and natural disasters. Tumbleweed was nearly destroyed by towns and floods. But none of that dissuaded Barnabas. The Big Thunder Mining Company remained in business. He kept digging every day, discovering new veins of gold along the way. He even extended the mining to other settlements, such as Rainbow Ridge.
Barnabas was a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. He became close friends with the society’s president, Jason Chandler - the same man who sold him the mining drill. They exchanged letters, went on expeditions together, and Chandler frequently visited the mining settlements. Bullion visited SEA clubs around the world.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
A portrait of Barnabas is hanging in the queue of the Magic Kingdom’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The same portrait can be seen in the window of the Panhandle Hotel in Rainbow Ridge at Disneyland.
There is a letter between Barnabas and Jason Chandler sitting in the queue, as well. Jason expresses sympathy to him about another disturbance, but points out that he warned that nothing good would come of the mining. He contacted Madame Zarkov at the Museum of the Weird, and they both agreed that he needs to halt the mining. Nevertheless, he wishes him the best, and looks forward to seeing him again.
Barnabas is referenced at the Tropical Hideaway at Adventureland in Disneyland. A meeting place for the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, there are oars on the wall commemorating different expeditions society members have taken part of. Bullion has an oar commemorating his expedition in the Colorado River. Other members, such as Lord Henry Mystic and Harrison Hightower III, can also be seen on the wall.
Disney Kingdoms: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Barnabas is a main character in the Disney Kingdoms: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad comic published by Marvel. He is the owner of the mines in Rainbow Ridge. Barnabas is desperately trying to get the mining operations to work, but Wilkes, his foreman, has kept him in the dark on how bad the mining conditions are. His daughter, Abigail, gets involved with a band of outlaws and discovers the truth. She hopes her father will listen to reason, but he’s too stubborn to see the proof until it’s shoved in his face.
Barnabas was made to be more sympathetic in the Marvel comic. He was less concerned about wealth and more concerned with keeping Rainbow Ridge afloat.
- Barnabas’s appearance was based on Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter, who designed the original attraction. While working on the Marvel comic, the artists referenced photographs of Baxter for some of the comic’s illustrations. Bullion's sympathetic depiction in the comic was at Baxter's request, who didn't much care for being cast in an antagonistic role.
- Henry Ravenswood was likely an influence on Barnabas, as they share some similarities -
- They both have daughters (in the Disney Kingdoms continuity) with Barnabas having Abigail and Henry having Mélanie.
- They both ignored warnings about the mines.
- They are known for their greed and stubbornness.