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Morgan Freeman Wants To Play Legendary Lawman Bass Reeves

Morgan Freeman Wants To Play Legendary Lawman Bass Reeves

Here’s some info I stumbled upon recently.  It seems actor Morgan Freeman has attempted, for at least five years now, to get the story of famous lawman Bass Reeves to the big screen.

So who was Bass Reeves you ask? He’s believed to be the first black U.S. Deputy Marshal.  Born a slave in 1838, he was one of the first black federal lawmen west of the Mississippi River that became a legend for his ability to catch criminals under trying circumstances arresting over 3,000.

Here’s more detailed info from :

Bass Reeves redefined our perception of a true American hero. Born a slave to a Texas farmer and politician, Reeves fled to Indian Territory in the 1860s to avoid the usual punishment of death for fighting with his master. Reeves lived among the Seminole and Creek Indians until the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing African-Americans from slavery and oppression. Settling in Van Bure, Arkansas, Reeves married, began a family, and tended his farm.

In 1875, Isaac C. Parker – a newly appointed federal judge – set out to tame the Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma. James Fagan, the tenth U.S. Marshal appointed the the district, began recruitting 200 deputies to capture fugitives so that Judge Parker’s court could administer justice. Bass Reeves was a natural choice because of his intimate knowledge of Indian Territory, his skills in multiple dialects, his markmanship, and his tenacity.

By the time Reeves retired in 1907, this former slave had served 32 years as a federal peace officer, arresting more than 3,000 felons. Reeves finished his law enforcement career as a member of the Muskogee, Oklahoma Police Department.

Reeves was the first African-American inducted into the Great Westerners Hall of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in 1992.

So far, there’s only been one low-budget production depicting the famous frontiersman.  Independent film producer Sharon Ray, also director of the Bare Bones Film Festival in Oklahoma, is in the early stages of developing a project as well.

In 2010, a member of the Bass Reeves Legacy Intiative, a non-profit created to support projects commemorating the life and times of Reeves, had a chance to talk and meet with Freeman which you can see in the video posted below.

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karl mcgowan

i really hope morgan freeman gets to do a films about bass reeves he truly deserves a very high place in history if he was a white man there would of been many movies and tv shows about his anazing life and he would of been recognized as one of the greatest law man of the old west if not the greatest of all time.

Jon James

With all due respect 90M may not be enough to produce a truly poignant and well delivered film. This is the type of documentary that deserves the best resources and the most talented directors and actors which will not be cheap unfortunately. As far as "who" will watch it, well everyone interested in true Black History! I cast no aspersions at the individual who posed the question, but, it never ceases to amaze me how people will spend millions to see Star Wars and question if there is an audience for factual representations of Black History. Those who don’t know and respect their history are destined to reap-peat it (pun intended). Black people need to know that we are more than drug dealers, pimps, gangsters and house negroes and that we have a long hidden and much distorted rich and royal heritage.


He should fund it and get a younger actor to play the lead. He’s kinda long in the tooth to play a lawman.



Thomas Crosby

I think a movie about Bass Reeves would be so cool!


@ KATHY CALHOUN His name is Morgan Freeman. I think he may be to old too play the role Bass Reeves.


I think it’s about time that the unspoken about unknown Africa American get known & spoken about & if Morgan Freemen can help get it done then by all means Please Do It!!! Far Too Long Not Getting Done!! Thank You Mr. Freemen!!!

james fisher

I would certainly watch it …I been watching Lies practically all my Life Why not Look at the Truth.


I have a (old origional) cabinet card pic. of Bass Reeves ARMED with 4 indians-may sell at auction——–

Marie Gantenbein

I've read a great deal about Bass Reeves through the years. I used him as model for my students for years also when I was a reading teacher. Reeves is one of the finest American heroes we have to put before our youth. Not only was he probably the greatest lawman in the old west but he was also a successful business man. He was able to buy a farm at the end of the Civil War. How? He hired out his tracking skills to the army and the lawmen during the war. This was while he was hiding from possible slave catchers. He had his farm and he bred and raised fine horses that were noted in his area as some of the finest. Then when he became a Deputy Marshall in 1875 he went about it in such an efficient manner that he sometimes made as much as 5-6,000 dollars per trip into the Indian Territory. He paid to have a prison wagon built and hired young men to watch over the wagon and prisoners in the territory while he was hunting criminals. Other marshals had not thought of this. Bass Reeves a great man.
I would so love to see Mr. Freeman in a film about this hero.

Armando Stavole

Weak up and move, or by the great Morgan Freeman or by the other great Denzel Washington( before they get too old), but they have to make this movie in a nice and realistic way. His life history is already a legend of a brave, ethical and straight forward man, doesn't need Tarantino's stretching or "Die hard" action. He is an other great and good example of those ones of the black community. So join forces and do, no more chats!


James A. House

Bass Reeves Movie


Wow, I just learned about Reeves via a podcast ("Stuff You Missed in History Class: 'Who Was the Real Lone Ranger?'"). Five minutes in I was asking myself "Why isn't there a movie about this??!?" I find that there is, but not what I had in mind. This is an amazing story that deserves to be B – I – G. Big stars, big budget, big studio, and big promotion. No big effects, just great acting and drama. I hope Reeves gets the treatment he deserves. I will be first in line to see it!


I love Morgan, but he's wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong for this. Bass was 37 when he became a Federal Marshall. 37! And his career lasted 30 years & he brought 3000 felons to justice, even his own brother. The dude was young & no damn joke! Maybe Morgan circa STREET TIME, but now?!

Kathy Calhoun

I think Morgan Fairchild does do a movie on Reed l think it would be fantastic.

Miles Ellison

Who would watch this?


If Morgan Freeman is truly interested in honoring this hero – he has the where-with-all to fund this project himself. According to the web, he has a net worth of $90 million. Let me say this again: NINETY MILLION DOLLARS. Nuff said.


Now we'll see how the West really was one! I hope Morgan Freeman is successful because it will open more doors for similar stories based on historical fact. Maybe a motion picture on Frederick Douglass won't be too far behind.

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