The Michael Jordan of frontier lawmen – Marshal Bass Reeves
Marshal Bass Reeves : In the lore of the American West, where heroes are made up of both lawmen and outlaws, there is a story of a man as tough as Billy the Kid,as quick as a horse and as proficient with a rifle as Wild Bill Hickok. Pony Express. At 6 feet two, Deputy US Marshal Marshal Bass Reeves was as imposing as his mustache. It was said that his spit was so forceful that it would shatter bricks.
Biographer Art Burton said he was like the Michael Jordan of frontier law. He can whip any two men with his bare hands.
Reeves roamed the heart of Indian and Oklahoma territories with near impunity — a nightmare for any outlaw, said Burton, an African American studies expert. While doing the study, I kept shaking my head, thinking, “People are not going to believe this,” he said.
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You’d think such a Wild West story would almost tell itself. But when Burton began researching a book on Reeves, he continued to hit dead ends as he tried to trace the Marshal Bass Reeves family tree. Burton added that when a woman answered the phone, she said that she had never heard of it. “I said, ‘Well, he’s an African American who was a deputy US marshal.’ And she was very gracious about it; she said, ‘I’m sorry, sir, we don’t have black history here.'”
Before he was a lawman, Reeves was a runaway, runaway slave from Texas. Eventually, the former slave gained notoriety—and not without consequence—by apprehending white individuals. And yet its extraordinary story was largely forgotten like a ghost town — and Oklahomans say its time has come. A man said, “He’s the stuff of legend.” I can’t imagine him being white, and having the kind of career he’s had, and it’s not already a big motion picture, maybe many times over.”
For actor David Oyelowo, Bas Reeves’ story has the same elements as The Lone Ranger – only better. He said, “It’s one thing to be a white guy on a pretty awesome horse and wearing a mask.” It’s another thing entirely to accomplish it on a budget. You’re a black man coming out of slavery, and you’ve been doing it for 30-plus years, and nobody’s paying attention to you? It seems almost intentional, that we’re Don’t know much about.”
Oyelowo spoke with “Sunday Morning” this past spring about trying to right a history wrong by producing an eight-part series for Paramount+ (CBS’s sister network) and executive-dubbed “Lawman: Marshal Bass Reeves.”
Starring seasoned actors like Donald Sutherland and Dennis Quaid, it’s a massive production that was primarily filmed on a Texas ranch.
Man, it’s awesome to do a Western, Kaid exclaimed. It seems like I’m twelve again. It is, in fact.
Quaid was equally impressed by Reeves’ real-life loyalty to the law: “The thing was, Bass Reeves was really the real deal. That’s what he really was.”
Oyelowo claimed that in order to perfect his speech patterns, he listened to recordings of slave tales kept at the Library of Congress. He also picked up riding and rope skills. I’m often searching for chances to frighten myself, and this one succeeded admirably! He grinned.
He had his sense of what Reeves should be like. However, the part also served as a reminder that brilliance is always illuminated by light, regardless of how long it takes. I spend my life according to the tenet that, in Oyelowo’s words, “the best weapon against prejudice is excellence.” “He was excellent. It was hard to say, ‘Oh, he’s a black man who’s unworthy, who should be subjugated.’ You couldn’t dismiss him like that. And that’s why it’s wrong not to celebrate him.”
Marshall Bass Reeves lived to be 71, spending his final years in the frontier town of Muskogee, where Reeves is still remembered at the Three Rivers Museum and celebrated annually at the Marshal Bass Reeves Western History Conference.
No one knows where Reeves is buried – and perhaps that only adds to the mystery.
To Art Burton, that doesn’t matter; the child in him wants to express gratitude to Reeves for granting him and other African Americans recognition for their own mythology.
I’ve often wondered, in Old West legends, where we were. stated Burton. Thus, it seems as though God heard my plea and sent me with someone who told me, “Well, we were part of the scene,” before to my passing.
To view the Lawmen: Marshal Bass Reeves trailer, click the player below.