“Being a peace officer in Indian Territory [modern day Oklahoma] was rough and dangerous. The area swarmed with horse thieves, train robbers, cattle rustlers, and gunslingers…A lawman’s career could be short–and end bloody.” This was the dangerous life led by Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves, and “it suited him right down to the ground.”
Born into slavery, Reeves’ physical strength, expertise at shooting, and way with horses make him a favorite with his master. However, when the two men have a fight, Reeves strikes him, and then makes his escape for the Indian Territory. With the conclusion of the Civil War, the former slave is free to settle down, but life in the Territory is dangerous. There is virtually no law enforcement, and outlaws flocked to the area.
In 1875, the U.S. government sends Judge Isaac C. Parker to restore order. Parker, in turn, hires 200 men to police the vast Territory. One of the men chosen is Bass Reeves. For the next 32 years, Deputy Reeves builds an impressive reputation as an honest and fearless lawman. Throughout his career, he is credited with arresting thousands of criminals, yet shedding little blood along the way.
In Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal, author Varunda Micheaux Nelson details just some of the exploits of this remarkable man, who was feared by outlaws, respected by the citizens of the Indian Territory, and one of the truly unsung heroes of the Wild West.