Skip to comments.Was the Real Lone Ranger black?
Posted on 08/07/2013 4:31:52 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Bass Reeves's talent for rounding up outlaws in America's Old West made him the stuff of legend. But did this former slave-turned-lawman also inspire Johnny Depp's new film? Alex Hannaford goes on the trail of the real Lone Ranger.
Art Burton listened intently as the old man on the other end of the phone cleared his throat and began telling him a story. Burton had only been researching the life of Bass Reeves for a short while but that afternoon what Reverend Haskell James Shoeboot, the 98-year-old part-Cherokee Indian, was about to tell him would persuade Burton hed stumbled upon one of the greatest stories never told.
Born in 1838, Bass Reeves was a former slave-turned-lawman who served with the US Marshals Service for 32 years at the turn of the 20th century in part of eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas known as Indian Territory. Though he was illiterate, Reeves became an expert tracker and detective a man who, in Burtons words, walked in the valley of death every day for 35 years and brought in some of the worst outlaws from that period.
That afternoon on the phone sometime in the late Eighties, Shoeboot recounted an event hed witnessed with his own eyes in the early 1900s: Shoeboot had been chauffeur to Deputy US Marshal James Franklin Bud Ledbetter and early one morning a posse had gathered at Gibson Station, 12 miles north of the east Oklahoma town of Muskogee, to track and capture an outlaw. By the middle of the day they hadnt made any progress and Ledbetter was irate. Thats when somebody suggested heading back into town to get Bass Reeves, Shoeboot told Burton.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
He looks like a major badass.
Slightly off-topic, but this movie BOMBED at the box office. Probably because Disney gave Depp the top billing and stuck an unknown into the lead.
Yes they were all Black. Daniel Boone, Wyatt Earp, Matt Dillon, The Rifleman, The Cartwrights, the list just goes on and on.
You can add Jesus and Santa Clause to that too...
It’s worth going to the article, this dude was far more hardcore than many better known western lawmen. If anything, saying he’s the inspiration for a fictional character is a demotion.
He’s more in the mold of D.A. “Jelly” Bryce, and Frank Hamer than dimestore sheriffs.
Good article, thanks for posting.
He doesn't look black to me. lol
Someone is going to say he is Chuck Norris’ great grandfather.
We, America, went through some difficult times societally that resulted in a growth in racism in the first half to the 20th century. We have come a long way since then. I think this story needs to be told and accepted.
Yeah and he rode a horse named Momeback
I always think of the exchange: "They've already proved that Jesus was an Ethiopian." "Wait a minute. You say he's an Ethiopian, a Presbyterian says he's a Presbyterian..."
And of course, there's always Kwanzaz-bot.
We all know Jim West was da pimp on WWW LOL!
They were also all muslim.
Wellll, redo the movie with Will Smith as the Ranger.
I know who he was. They actually have his gun in the Davis gun museum in Claremore Oklahoma. He was the real thing but so were hundreds of other lawmen of the day.
He is not to be spoken of in the same sentence as Frank Hamer who was the greatest lawman in history. No one else was even close. Maybe Jeff Davis Milton could be compared to Hamer but not many could.
I think Don Cheadle would be better. Or someone a little more mach than Smith.
Yo, yo, yo Silver.
would certainly make a better movie.
He was fully 6/5th’s black....
Loses a little of its appeal when you consider this iconic hero has been portrayed as white for the past 60+ years. But I get your point.
Jesus was 11/8th’s black. John Kerry is 34/35th’s black and 14/13th’s moron....
Wild Wild West was OK with a black West.
“What a great story. I think it would be great that the Lone Ranger was actually a black man and former slave.”
You do realize the “Lone Ranger” was fiction? Why don’t you write a book/screenplay based on this gentlemans real life instead of trying to stir up some non existant racial shit?
Probably wasn’t but you can bet he was “gay”. That study will be coming out soon.
I agree. We need more historical movies to build pride in America. The problem with blacks in movies is that so often they make them out to be revenge seekers when few blacks of the time actually did seek revenge.
I think a true historical perspective on George Washington’s “slave” Billy Lee would be awesome.
The man had some brass ones. If not the Lone Ranger, certainly a model for the fictional character.
Interesting Story. The man’s life story should be taught to every young black. They need a true hero instead of Thug Criminal cRappers.
I thought the Lone Ranger was Chinese. His real name, “Mi Shu Tru”.
Thanks. Love western history. Miss my Fanner 50.
Knock it off. Bass Reeves sounds like a “true legend” and embodied the spirit of the Old West. It’s shame that he couldn’t get his due when he was alive. I don’t care if he was the inspiration for the Lone Ranger or George Jetson, he was definitely a larger than life character and I can appreciate him on his own terms. To the extent he might have been the inspiration for the Lone Range, (or Cleavon Little’s Sheriff), associating him with that Disney disaster is an insult.
OK on Hamer, how about Bill Tilghman?
I don’t know much about Tilghman. I used to live in Dodge City, KS and remember a picture of the Dodge City Peace Commission.
Among those pictured was Wyatt Earp, Luke Short, Bill Tilghman, Bat Masterson and a couple of others I can’t recall right off hand.
I guess they were all prominent lawmen.
And mostly Crooks, that rarely shot anyone because they couldn't hit anything unless they used a shotgun.
My Great Grandfather was a U.S. Marshal in Kansas during Jessie James day, and there is an interesting story in family lore describing My Grandfathers encounter with Jessie and his gang, he lived to tell about it.
There was an excellent article in “The American Rifleman” a few years ago by a former trooper with the 6th Cavalry. He was stationed just outside Tombstone and personally knew several of those old gunfighters.
He was not very complimentary of them either. He described Wyatt Earp as a Pimp. He said Doc Holliday was an insane killer.
Only heard stories like this touched on with History Channel shows about the old west. Was amazed that some “Buffalo Soldiers” became U.S. Marshals after they served their Army commitments. Web searches give little on that. Story is not well reported but I’m not sure if it’s a lack of real documentation or it’s not politically correct.
Was your great granddaddy Henry Newton Brown?
Heard a story that Abe Lincoln was gay.
I’ve seen that one going around too.
He is buried in GAR Cemetery in Miami, Oklahoma. Captain A. J. Xxxxxx of the Virginia Volunteers, Union Army.
Bass Reeves makes Johny Depp look like Barney Fife.