Frontier Justice by Charles Ray


Frontier Justice: Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal

Frontier Justice- Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal


Frontier Justice: Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal

Bass Reeves was an ex-slave who’d spent most of the Civil War hiding in Indian Territory, during which time he learned five Native American languages. After the war, Federal Judge Isaac Parker hired Reeves as a deputy U.S. marshal, one of the first African-American deputy marshals west of the Mississippi. Reeves never learned to read or write English, so he would have someone read arrest warrants, he would remember the contents, and use disguises and trickery often to apprehend fugitives. During a 32-year career, he brought in over 3,000 fugitives, becoming one of the most famous deputy U.S. marshals in American history.
Legend has it that Reeves was the western figure that the TV character ‘The Lone Ranger’ was modeled after, because on occasion he would use Indian acquaintances from Indian Territory to assist him in tracking down wanted men and women.

About the author:

Charles Ray has been writing fiction since his teens. He is the author of the Al Pennyback mystery series and the Buffalo Soldier historical/western series. He is also the author of other works of fiction and non-fiction, including books for children and four books on leadership and management. In addition to writing, he is a photographer and artist, and was editorial cartoonist for a North Carolina weekly during the 1970s. His photographs have been featured in magazines in the U.S. and Asia, and his humorous cartoons have appeared in Ebony, Eagle and Swan, and other national magazines.


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This book is typical of Ray’s easy to read journalistic style. Writing is never effortless, though Ray leaves one feeling that it comes to him nearly as easily as breathing. This historical fiction about the legendary Deputy U.S. Marshall Bass Reeves is a delight, though I would have liked to have had more of the same to read. That we don’t is no doubt simply because Ray has no wish to stray far from the factual history. The conversations created to put the bones on the known story ring so true that I found myself on the dusty trail, spitting tobacco with the best and worst of those tough pioneers.
That a black man born to slavery, Bass Reeves, could do so well for himself and so soon after the emancipation that stemmed from the American Civil War is nothing less than astounding. Some of his success seems almost unbelievable, which makes it just as well that the real life author is every bit as big a picture as the man he portrays. I am sure that Charles and Bass would have got on very well if a time skipped century or so enabled a meeting.
It is impossible to say much without lacing my review with spoilers, though to be honest it is enough to say that this short-novel, or long novella, finishes far too quickly. Lone Ranger, eat your heart out, this is how ‘The West’ was really won.
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating true life story! October 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
If you like wild west stories with strong, but silent, courageous gunslinging heroes, then this historical biography is definitely the book for you. Bass Reeves is a black man, a farmer/rancer toiling hard to provide for his growing family. When he is offered a job as a Deputy U.S. Marshal and asked to hunt down wanted criminals, he is persuaded to give it a try. Not only does he quietly go about his task, but he captures every fugitive on his list without any loss of life. He is such a quick draw with his guns, that no outlaw can outgun him, and they usually surrender like lambs.Author Charles Ray, with his easy, clear writing style, pens a wonderous tale about this fascinating man who broke through the restraints of race to become one of the most heralded U.S. Marshals of his time. Impeccable research, colorful characters, outrageous outlaws, and a story that makes you cheer as you read along, makes this a novel for everyone to read. Western fans will love the glimpse into the real wild west and the quiet, unassuming Bass Reeves who excels in capturing his bounty! This is an easy, absorbing novel that will keep you turning pages to the end.

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5.0 out of 5 stars very Good May 4, 2014
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This was a very good book. It was easy to follow and was hard to stop reading. I will read other books by this author. I would recommend this book to others.
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