Bass Reeves, U.S. Deputy Marshal
July (unknown day), 1838 – January 12, 1910
BAD NEWS FOR OUTLAWS: THE REMARKABLE LIFE OF BASS REEVES, DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL
in the saddle, with a wide-brimmed black hat and twin Colt pistols on
his belt, Bass Reeves seemed bigger than life. Outlaws feared him.
Law-abiding citizens respected him. As a peace officer, he was cunning
and fearless. When a lawbreaker heard Bass Reeves had his warrant, he
knew it was the end of the trail, because Bass always got his man, dead
or alive. He achieved all this in spite of whites who didn’t like the
notion of a black lawman. Born into slavery in 1838, Bass had a hard and
violent life, but he also had a strong sense of right and wrong that
others admired. When Judge Isaac Parker tried to bring law and order to
the lawless Indian Territories, he chose Bass to be a deputy U.S.
Marshall. Bass would quickly prove a smart choice. For three decades,
Bass was the most feared and respected lawman in the territories. He
made more than 3,000 arrests, and though he was a crack shot and a quick
draw, he only killed fourteen men in the line of duty. The story of
Bass Reeves is the story of a remarkable African American and a
remarkable hero of the Old West.