Many people may not make a connection with a Western Novel and Black History Month, but Authors Buck Stienke and Ken Farmer's best selling, top rated historical fiction western, The Nations, have done that with the lead character Bass Reeves.
Did you know that Bass Reeves was the first black Deputy US Marshal west of the Mississippi. A former slave, he was appointed to the US Marshals service in 1875 first as a tracker then as a full-fledged Deputy US Marshal under Judge Issac C. Parker of the 9th District Court of Western Arkansas—also known as the 'Hanging Judge'.
Bass, along with some 200 other white, black and Indian deputies and local Indian Police called Lighthorse, were charged with administering law and order in the eastern portion of what is now Oklahoma—known then as Indian Territory or The Nations. It was also known as "Robber's Roost" and "No-Man's Land" and was regarded in the latter part of the 19th century as the bloodiest and most dangerous place in the world. Sixty-five of those courageous marshals would give their lives in the line of duty during the twenty-one year span under Judge Parker, 1875 to 1896.
Bass Reeves was one of the survivors. During his 32 year career as a Deputy Marshal, he would serve over 3,000 felony warrants and kill 14 men in the line of duty—twice as many as Marshal Wild Bill Hickok. He is regarded to this day as one of the greatest marshals in the long and storied history of the US Marshals Service. A larger than life size statue depicting Bass was recently erected next to the site of the US Marshals Museum in Ft. Smith, Arkansas.
Bass Reeves was a true American hero and is so depicted in the novel, The Nations, now available where ever good books are sold in print or E versions. Bass will again star in the sequel to The Nations, entitled, Haunted Falls, due out this summer. Watch for it.