top of page

Bass Reeves, the Real Lone Ranger

Bass Reeves, the real "Lone Ranger" was the first Black deputy U.S. Marshal, west of the Mississippi River.

A former slave turned American law enforcement official, Reeves freed himself and then lived among the Cherokee and Seminole people until the end of the Civil War. He later moved to Arkansas and farmed.

Because of his mastery of the Cherokee and Seminole languages and knowledge of the territories, the U.S. Marshals recruited Reeves to be a deputy marshal, working mostly in Arkansas and the Oklahoma Territory.

Reeves was a superior detective, in addition to an expert marksman with both rifles and revolvers. His exceptional skills made him the inspiration for the Lone Ranger character. When he retired in 1907, Reeves had on his record over 3,000 arrests of felons and he had killed 14 outlaws in defense of his life.


bottom of page