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Bass Reeves - Lawman
by Georgianne Landy-Kordis (gia2k10@hotmail.com)

Rated: PG-13   Genre: Westerns   User Review:

One of the first U.S. Deputy Marshal's who served under Judge Parker in the 1800's, Indian Territory.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.


AS CAMERA PANS...we see in far off distance a caravan of two
horsemen in the lead of an enclosed prisoner wagon, a driver
and a mule loaded with supplies, followed by another
horseman lagging behind. We notice a stream close by.

The most dangerous and feared place in the United States
harbored some of the most notorious cold blooded killers,
thieves and bootleggers.
CAMERA PANS...CLOSE SHOTS of each rider, wearing badges, one
by one, the wagon and onto the lagging rider...BASS REEVES,
six foot tall, 40's, well dressed black man with a large
mustache riding BLAZE, a large red horse with white face.

It is sunny, hot and Reeves seems to be ill. He wears a
large black hat and carries two colt pistols, butt forward
in his holster and a Winchester in his saddle boot.

The wagon holds several prisoners. Whites, half breeds,
Indians. One old Indian, YAH-KEE, a medicine man is trying
to view Reeves from the small window in the back of the

As they ride on, Reeves attempts to take a drink of water
from his canteen but is unable to. His limbs are sore, he
can barely move his arms to drink, his eyes are swollen.


CLIFF CULVER, a deputy, white, late 20's rides back to
Reeves, you alright?
Reeves tries to focus on Cliff, unable to speak.

Cliff shocked at how bad he looks.
We should camp. You look like ya
need ta rest some.
Reeves nods in agreement. Cliff rides ahead to tell the


The wagon soon stops and as the hand bound prisoners are
unloaded and instructed where to sit, Reeves dismounts and
falls forward into a tree, turns and slides down the tree to
the ground.

Cliff comes over with a canteen, tips it for Reeves. Reeves
drinks uncontrollably now.

He stops to locate Yah-Kee and soon focuses on him as
Yah-Kee is looking at Reeves.
      (strains but
Yah-Kee put a curse on me.
Cliff looks at Yah-Kee
You mean the old medicine man?
Reeves nods. Cliff draws his gun as he stands.
You want me to shoot him down?
Cliff is concerned for Reeves.
Let me rest.
Prisoners shackled, lying under trees asleep. Yah-Kee on one
end. Posse men resting also, Cliff on guard.

Reeves asleep under the tree, begins to dream.


HOT TEXAS COTTON FIELDS. Reeves as a little boy, looks on
to see many slaves doing hard labor in the fields. Even as
a child, he feels there has to be more than this.

An OVERSEER on a horse YELLS at Reeves. He obeys by running
with a wooden bucket of water for the working slaves and
begins to let them get their drinks from a large wooden
Reeves jerks awake.

Shakes back to reality, realizes he needs to get to Yah-Kee,
believing he might even die if he doesn't.

He is in such bad shape that he begins to crawl and drag
himself over to the medicine man.
Cliff sees Reeves and starts to get up to help him but
resumes his position, knowing Reeves doesn't need help.
Yah-Kee is lying on his back...asleep.

Reeves notices a string coming from an inner pocket of his
clothes...he pulls the string finds it attached to a small
mole-skin bag.

Reeves quietly pours its contents into his hand, finds
pebbles, bits of roots and tiny pieces of short hair like
Reeves' tied with string.
Reeves spits quietly on the items, replaces them back in the
bag, wraps the string around it, rises to his knees...tosses
it into the stream.

Yah-Kee jerks awake and grabs his pocket.
Bass, you stole my conjure bag.
Yep, an' it's floatin' down
Get it back. I pay you. I get
you whatever you want.


Why would I get it back, you ole
buzzard. I'm feelin' better
Bag floating down the creek, begins to sink.
I can't conjure no more. My power
gone. I need my conjure bag.
Reeves smiles, starts to stand up.
Take these chains off. Bass, I
follow you like a dog, do whatever
you want.
The bag has disappeared.
Reeves looking down at Yah-Kee for a moment then walks off,
still somewhat stiff.
Bass, Bass Reeves.
Reeves stops, turns to look at Yah-Kee.
You would been dead before we get
to that Fort Smith.
Reeves nods.
I believe you, Yah-Kee, I believe
Reeves slowly rides up to his home.

The area is neatly kept. A fairly large farm house, a few
barns, clothes line, pens.

He rides to a corral...dismounts, takes the saddle and
blanket off his horse, throws it over a corral board. He
makes sure his horse has some water and hay. Then rubs his
horse affectionately around his neck...makes his way toward
the house.


Reeves KNOCKS QUIETLY on the door.
Reeves' wife, JENNIE, small framed black woman in her
thirties, in nightgown, arises from bed, grabs a rifle and
cautiously approaches the door.
                       REEVES (O.S.)
Jennie, honey, it's me.
Your Bass is home.
Jennie relieved and happy, leans the rifle on the wall,
opens the door. She grabs, kisses and hugs Reeves as he
tries to enter. They LAUGH as they carry on.
Shhhhhh now, we'll wake the
Reeves puts his things down as Jennie lights a lamp.

They look at each other.

She sees that he is worn and tired, tenderly touches his
It shor was long an' hard gettin'
home this time, Jennie.
She helps him take his coat off.

He removes his holster and proceeds to the bedroom.

Jennie reaches into his pocket, pulls out a few pieces of
paper with his name on them.

She pulls a can from the back of a cupboard...opens it to
reveal several other notes on various pieces of paper.

She adds the new note to the others, closes it and replaces
the can.
FOLLOW Jennie as she collects his holster and guns...carries
them to the bedroom where she finds Reeves sprawled face up
on the bed.

She puts his holster around the bed post...takes his boots


off. Covers him somewhat...lies down beside him.

She looks at him for a few moments.

Reeves pulls her close to him.
How things 'round here? You an'
the little 'ens?
Everythin's fine here. Everythin's
fine. Rest now. We can talk in the
It's good ta have ya home.
Reeves smiles, rubs her arm. They rest.
Four of Reeves youngest children looking in on him with
reverence as he sleeps. HOMER, 8, WILLIAM, 6 and two girls
ages 10 and 4.
Jennie and two teen daughters, HARIET, 12 and SALLY, 15,
cooking breakfast and setting the table.

We hear CHOPPING of wood outside.
Reeves begins to wake. He is now in long underwear, covered
below his waist with a blanket.

The four children anxiously await.

Reeves slyly opens one eye to view his children. Closes it,
smiles slightly.

They wait.
Ain't cha'll gonna greet your Pa?
They run to him LAUGHING. The two smallest jump onto the
bed, hug and kiss him as he LAUGHS BIG.

Jennie and the daughters look in at them smiling.


Two older sons, close to twenty years old, chopping wood and
stacking it. BENJAMIN working harder than his brother,

Benjamin looks at his wife, MABLE, about eighteen, as he
chops the wood. He doesn't trust his beautiful wife.

MABLE sitting on a stump watches them chop and stack,
occasionally enjoying the sun on her face.
Reeves walks out of the house, pants over his long
underwear, suspenders and boots. He pauses for a moment
looking over his place.

He steps off the porch, makes his way toward the older boys.

The little ones running circles around him...GIGGLING.

He gets closer to Mable.

Their eyes follow each other.
Mrs. Benjamin Reeves.
      (smiles, slyly)
Daddy, Reeves. You shorly lookin'
Thank you, ma'am.
Passes her.
He arrives near his boys.
You boys workin' off some anger?
No sir, just helpin' out some.
You been gone quite a spell this
time Pa. Thought I'd better come
on over and help some too.


See ya brought your wife with ya.
Benjamin looks over at Mable who is playing Ring Around the
Rosie now with the younger Reeves children.
Well been leavin' her alone too
much. Know what I'm sayin'?
Reeves looks from Benjamin to Mable, a bit concerned.
Ain't good. I love her. Don't
never wanta' lose my Mable to
another man. Know what I'm sayin'?
Reeves is aware that his son has already had trouble with
his wife wanting to wander. Both still looking at her.
I know's what you're a sayin'.
Newland wants some of his father's attention too even though
it's a bit awkward because he hasn't had much to do with the
raising of his children.
How you been Pa? Taken' in a lot
a criminal's?
Reeves looks at Newland for a moment trying to remember his
Been good, (hesitates) New...
      (almost immediate)
Land, Newland.
Reeves SMILES BIG, feeling good that he got it right, sort
                       REEVES (CONT'D)
Been good. Get my fair share of
them buzzards. I shor do.


Jennie comes out onto the porch. She takes a moment to look
at her family members who she loves dearly.
Y'all come an' eat now!
Everyone starts toward the house.

Reeves puts his arms around Benjamin and Newland's necks as
they walk toward the house.

Newland appreciates it more than Benjamin.
The family sitting on and around the porch. Jennie and
Benjamin's wife, Mable churning butter, while the two teen
girls look on. HOMER, whittling, WILLIAM and NEWLAND,
looking over a trap and the two younger girls, gathered
around Reeves listening to him tell a story. BENJAMIN
petting a dog lying nearby.
Well ole Jim Webb killed that ole
Negro preacher for letten' 'is
fire get outta control. It got on
over ta the range where ole Webb
was a workin'. I was givin' the
writ ta go after 'im.
How'd ole Webb kill that ole Negro
He shot 'im dead after they done
argued for a bit.
But why, Pa?
Some men's just that way, child.
Mean an' mean ta them bone.
So's I took Floyd Wilson with me.
We hada' go deep in Chickasaw
Nation ta find that ole critter,
Webb. I decided we best make
ourselves look like just some


                       REEVES (cont'd)
workin' cowpokes.
FLOYD WILSON, white, also a deputy, in his 30's and Reeves
changing clothes. They mount their horses and ride out of
the woods and up to a ranch house. Three men are in the

Webb and Smith come out onto the porch with pistols in their
hands and at their sides. Both in their late 30's, hard
looking and dirty.

Camera goes from Webb to Frank Smith as Reeves speaks.
                       REEVES (V.O.)
I was pretty sure that was Webb
from the description I got. Found
out later, that other was Frank
Wilson tips his hat.

Webb and Smith look suspiciously on.
Can a couple of cowhands from Fort
Smith way get a bite ta eat? Water
our horses?...Be willin' ta pay.
After considering it for a few seconds, Webb motions with
his gun for them to approach and get fed.

Reeves, Wilson dismount. Approach the porch, tie their
horses, proceed to the steps.
Reeves tips his hat.
Much obliged.
Webb and Smith escort them through a long hallway that
separates the kitchen area from the front of the house. As
they walk down the hallway, Reeves speaks.


                       REEVES (V.O.)
I was a tryin' ta size up the
situation. I could tell ole Webb
was on edge.
Sit here, wait. Cook'll bring ya
Webb motions for Smith to go tell the cook the situation.

Smith obeys.

Reeves and Wilson take their hats off before sitting.

Smith comes back...he and Webb meander around, still
suspicious but have put their guns back in their holsters.
                       REEVES (V.O.)
I figured I needed ta ease ole
Webbs' tensions a bit. Let 'im
think I wasn't up ta nothin'.
      (to Webb)
While we're awaitin' would it be
alright ifin' I was ta water the
horses a bit?
Webb GRUNTS his approval...follows Reeves out to the horses.

Reeves unties the horses...slowly walks them to the trough.

He allows them to drink as he loosens their cinch and
casually runs his hand across his Winchester that is in his
saddle boot.

Webb startled for a second but relaxes as Reeves turns to
return to the house.
The family looks on as Reeves continues his story.
I figured he was fooled an' not
worryin' 'bout me. The cook
called for chow an' Webb didn't
follow me back inta the house
right away.


As Reeves continues to speak (V.O) we see Webb talking with
Smith in the hallway close to the kitchen area.

Reeves and Wilson seated as the cook rudely drops some
plates with food in front of them and walks off.

Reeves knows Webb is onto them and as they eat, Reeves
secretly telling Wilson what to do.
                       REEVES (V.O.)
As we was eatin' though, Webb was
talkin' to his friend, Smith. I
knew Webb was onto us. I told
Wilson we was figured out. That
he was gonna' have ta get one of
'em as I got the other when the
right time came.
Reeves and Wilson sitting outside on a porch bench. Webb
standing beside Reeves. Smith standing a little ways away
from Wilson.
                       REEVES (V.O.)
There we was sittin'. Those two
over us like a couple a buzzards.
I just started talkin'.
Reeves talking and motioning with his arms and hands. The
men look on.
                       REEVES (V.O.)
I talked about everythin' an'
nothin', figurin' they'd either
think I was crazy or they'd get
bored an' let their guard down for
a few seconds. Then all a
A lizard runs across the dirt and catches Webbs' attention.

Reeves jumps up grabs Webb by the throat with his left hand
while his right hand shoves his revolver into Webbs' face.

At the same time Wilson is stunned, unable to move quick

Smith startled, fires two shots at Reeves but misses.

Reeves turns...shoots Smith in the stomach. He falls.


      (to Wilson)
Handcuff this one.
Wilson handcuffs Webb as Reeves goes to check Smith.
Family still listening...wide eyed.
We throwd 'em in a wagon ta take
em' back ta Fort Smith...Frank
Smith died on the way.
William cries a little and the littlest girl starts to
Tell us another one, Pa.
Watcha cryin' for child?
Cause that ole Frank Smith died.
He spose ta die, silly. He was a
bad man.
Reeves comforts William.
It's late. All you youngens' need
gettin' ta bed.
Pa, you gonna' be here in the
I'll be here son. Y'all go on ta
bed now, ya here?
They younger children give Reeves and Jennie a kiss or hug
as they go into the house. TALKING among themselves about
the story they just heard.

Benjamin, Newland and Mable walk off toward a wagon.


Let's play like I'm Pa an' you be
Webb tamorrow.
I wanna' be Pa!
You can't be, Pa, you's too small.

Benjamin, Newland, Mable on the wagon leaving the property.
WAVE at Bass and Jennie.

Reeves waves back. Jennie has other things on her mind.

She gets up, lifts her dress and sits on Reeves lap facing

He puts his arms around her, takes in the beauty of her

She feels loved.
We sure got us a good pack a
youngen's, Jennie girl.
A mighty good pack, Bass Reeves.
They kiss. Then look at each other for a few seconds.
What drives you so, husband?
What makes you a good man, an'
Reeves thinking of his past as a slave and other things in
his past he is not proud of.
You know I couldn't do what I do
out there without you an' the
youngens' takin' care of this big
ole farm. And just knowing I got a
beauty ta come home to means
everythin' ta me.
Jennie accepts the compliment with a flirtatious move and


You ever worry I might never get
home one day?
Jennie hesitant at first. She does worry but doesn't want
him to know.
I know you's good at what you
do...'sides, don't think you's
gonna' leave all them youngens'
with me. Them's half yours too,
ya know.
She gets off his lap quickly.

He stands and chases her into the house LAUGHING.

FOLLOW them to their bedroom as they try to quietly kiss and
begin to enjoy some quiet love making.
CLOSE SHOT of hot water being poured into Reeves bath by
Jennie. It's a ritual they've performed many times before.
It is time for him to leave again.

All the SHOTS ARE CLOSE AND SLOW MOTION...The water being
poured, Reeves relaxing somewhat in the tub. Jennie getting
down on her knees, begins to soap him a little.

Reeves smiles tenderly at her. Touches her face.
Again, CLOSE SHOTS, SLOW MOTION of Reeves finishing getting

He is very meticulous and neat in his dress. He already has
pants on. Puts his shirt on, tucks it in, buttons it, then
grabs his holster, puts it on, buckles it good and checks
his pistols, returns them to the holster.

Does a quick draw.

He picks up his badge, pins it to his shirt, puts his hat
on, grabs his overcoat, brushes it off and carries it as he
leaves the room.


The family is waiting for Reeves to come out of the house.
His horse is saddled and ready. Homer is holding the reins.
His daughter's and other small children appear to be crying
a bit and Jennie is holding back her tears.

Reeves appears at the doorway carrying his coat and a
saddlebag. He admires his family for a moment and as he
makes his way to his horse, he pats William on the head.

William grabs his leg, not wanting him to leave.

Reeves with a slight smile waits for one of the daughters'
to take him back.

Jennie picks up a gunnysack with some provisions and follows
Reeves to his horse.

Reeves secures the saddlebag, takes the sack from Jennie and
does the same. She watches him. When he finishes, he turns
to Jennie...notices his children have all gathered at the
porch now.

POV SHOT of the children around the porch looking at their

Reeves takes his hat off and Jennie in his arms. They hug
for a few moments.
I love you Jennie girl.
Love you, Bass...Be safe.
      (to children)
You youngen's take good care a
your mama an' mind her good now,
ya hear?
Yes Pa. Yes, papa.
Reeves mounts and turns his horse to face his family before
he slowly rides off. He tips his hat, the family waves and
he slowly rides off as they watch.


Youngers Bend, home of BELLE STARR.

A cool spring runs close by. Reeves riding Blaze. He comes
upon a tree with a note posted to it with his name on it.
Reeves pulls if off and puts in his pocket without reading

He arrives at a place close to the spring...dismounts.
Reeves walks up slowly leading Blaze to the spring water.
They take a drink.

Reeves looks around for anything suspicious, hides his badge
behind his coat, then proceeds to the large log cabin lodge
where he sees Belle standing on the porch near the door.

BELLE, not an overly attractive woman, wearing a long black
velvet skit and top. She sports a holster and two pearl
handled pistols around her waist.

She smiles sarcastically at Reeves as he meets her at the

Reeves tips his hat as he makes his way into the building.
Miss Starr, ma'am.
Watcha want Marshal Reeves?
This area has a couple of tables, chairs and a bar set up.

Reeves makes his way to the bar, Belle goes to the other
side in case he wants something to drink.
You know my job, ya know what I
does, so why's you askin' such a
So you're not just passin' through
or just visitin'?
Well as a matter-a-fact ma'am,
this time I is. I know the
agreement we got.


Humm...that one where we don't get
coy in case it leads to a place
we'd be sorry for later, or about
not botherin' my guests unless I
allow it.
Reeves nods, she places a glass on the bar and holds up a
bottle as in asking if he would like a drink.

He waves his hand to indicate no.

She sets the bottle down.
Where's your husband?
Which one?
She picks up on Reeves's not responding.
Now you know I don't know where
that ole Indian of mine is. What
do you want with Sam anyway?
I don't want him.
She puts her hands on his coat. Reeves smiles, amused at
her thinking he would want her.

She runs her hand on his coat and finds the note.

She pulls it out...struggles to read the bad hand writing
out loud.
You a dead man, Bass Reeves. We
drawd that dead line but you keep
steppin' over.
You still collectin' these? You
can't read them, so why gather and
keep them?


Reeves takes it back and puts in his pocket.
Pleasures me how good a job I do
an' how mad it makes 'em bastards
knowin' I'm comin' after 'em.
A quiet moment...Reeves looks around.
Always thought you was an educated
woman, Belle.
Now you hold on right there,
Reeves. I WAS classically
educated and I can play the piano
prettier than any high falooten'
entertainer on the east coast OR
the west.
He grins.
                       BELLE (CONT'D)
Say, what are you getting at?
Does your family approve of your
What family?...You know that damn
civil war ruined my family and our
Just wonderin' how an educated
woman gets involved with crimes
an' criminals. Seems that'd be
the outcome of a much lesser
She begins to straighten things around somewhat frustrated,
avoiding the real subject.
I know it wasn't that good for you
being raised a slave and all but
by God, when your people's life


                       BELLE (cont'd)
changed it ruined the life we had.
She looks up at him as he walks away, not believing what she
just said.
So you figurin' we's all even,
Reeves looks around the place and out the window, waiting
for her to catch up and talk about the real subject.
She surrenders.
Alright then, you know them boys
like Jesse James have been my
friends since we were youngen's.
The others just sort of came along
later when I got with Sam.
I've got to help my friends.
Reeves turns quickly.
And the horse thievin'?
What horse thieving? There's none
of that going on.
Reeves knows he has made her mad and wants to settle her
down. He goes over to her and stops her from dusting and
moving things around.
When you play that piano better
'an all 'em folks can ya sing
purttier than 'em too?
Belle blushes, smiles back, hits him with the rag.
As they look at each other, we hear HORSES WHINNY AND SNORT.

Belle rushes over to see who has ridden up.

Reeves waits for Belle to announce who has arrived.


It's those damn rude thievin'
Jamison's. You can have them if
you want Reeves.
I do want 'em.
Reeves hurriedly grabs the glass and bottle and moves to the
far table...sits facing the door...puts his head down a

Belle gets behind the bar as three JAMISON BROTHERS come in,
dust themselves off a bit, proceed to a table and ORDER

They see Reeves but don't seem to care much.
Whisky, woman!
Belle swaggers over to their table, puts her hands on her
I'm a lady, not your woman to
order me around and you Jamison's
aren't welcome here. You never
paid for the whiskey you drank
last time.
The Jamison's look at Reeves who hasn't moved.
Didn't you pay last time we was
here Jeb? I thought sure you did
but this woman says you didn't.
I don't know, I don't remember.
Carl just looks at Earl.
Earl stands and takes Belle by the arm.
Well woman, don't none of us
recollect, so it's your word agan'
ours. Now why don't you just go
do your job an' (LOUDER) get us a


                       EARL (cont'd)
bottle a whiskey.
After a quick moment...
                       EARL (CONT'D)
Belle gets ready to grab her guns.
Hold up over there.
No one moves and it's quiet for a moment.
Did that niggar just say somethin'
at me?
The other two Jamison's look at each other, smiling and
Why don't you bring your ass over
here, Jamison. I got somethin' for
ya ta look at.
He turns to look at Reeves. Belle relaxes her hands.
You talkin' at me niggar?
The Jamison's all CHUCKLE.

Reeves pulls a gun out of his holster without anyone seeing.
He holds it under the table as he takes papers from his
coat pocket and tosses them on the table.
They's got your name on 'em.
What are you talkin' about an' why
YOU holdin' 'em? What are they?
Warrant's boys, warrant's for your
arrest an' I'll be takin' all
three a you boys in ta face Judge


Earl sits. They all relax. Belle backs off.
Earl is afraid but tries to be tough.
You and who's gonna take us in? I
don't see no posse.
Oh I got a posse.
The Jamison's LAUGH as they look around.
It's pointed right between your
They stop laughing and look at one another.

Belle smiles.
The first one ignorant 'nough ta
move wrong gets ta be made a steer
real quick.
They slowly close their legs.

Belle standing behind the Jamison's pulls both of her guns
out, cocks and points at them.
The Jamison's turn their heads slightly towards Belle.
Now boys, I have nothing to do
with this apprehension and didn't
know it was coming but I won't
have you all shoot up my place. So
forgive me for pulling my pistols
on you... Now Earl, get over
there and read them papers to see
if they're honest warrants.
Earl gets up, slowly moves over to Reeves...picks up the
papers. He looks at three different pieces as his lips move
reading the names under his breath. He also nods his head in
a comical way as he reads them.

The others look on.


Yep, looks like them legal
Carl and Jeb are upset.
Reeves stands, exposes his badge and shows his gun pointed
at them. He picks up his warrant's, stuffs them in his
pocket as he gives Earl direction with his gun to move over
to his brothers.
Now put your pistols on the table
an' let's all live ta tell about
this tamorrow.
Mad, they oblige. Reeves secures their hands with cuffs.
      (to Belle)
Consider their guns as payment for
their last whiskey drinkin'.
The Jamison's try to object to that.

Belle likes the idea.

Reeves manhandles the Jamison's to head them out the door.
      (nods at Belle)
A pleasure, Miss Belle. Maybe our
next encounter will be more
Belle puts her guns back into her holster and follows the
men out the door.
      (under her breath)
Pleasin' my ass...
Well don't be makin' your visits a
habit, Reeves. To much stress for
this lady. Too much stress and it
ain't pleasin'.
                       BELLE (CONT'D)
Ain't pleasin' at all.


All the men mounted...riding off. Reeves waves without
looking back.
Reeves and Cliff ride slowly into a desolate kind of small
town. It is hot so most people not stirring much. They
ride up to a GENERAL STORE, dismount, let their horses drink
from the trough then tie them to a rail as they look around.
Check the saloon, Cliff for any
Cliff eager to oblige as Reeves makes his way into the
store...turns as if he's remembered something.
                       REEVES (CONT'D)
Oh...an' try not ta shoot up the
Reeves looks around for someone...sees a head behind a

He walks slowly toward OLE JESS, who's asleep in a chair.
Ole Jess is in his sixties, little scrawny guy with
glasses...holding a rifle.

Reeves touches his shoulder from behind.

Ole Jess jumps up startled and points the rifle to the front
of him.

He turns to see Reeves behind him.
                       OLE JESS
I coulda' shot you dead.
Damn figures... ain't a soul been
here till I doze off.
He blinks his eyes to focus better and realizes who he is
looking at. He puts the rifle down.
                       OLE JESS
Bass Reeves? Glad I had enough
conscious ta not just shoot. What
brings ya in here...shade?


They shake.
Well gettin' outta' that
unmerciful sun is good but I got a
passel a warrants too Ole Jess,
how ya doin'?
They move toward the counter.
                       OLE JESS
Ahhh, ain't no business when it
gets this hot. Nobody stirrin'.
You lookin' for anyone special
No one special.
He lays several warrant's on the counter. Ole Jess begins
to look through them stopping occasionally as if trying to
remember if he saw the person named on one of the papers.

He holds up two of the warrants.
                       OLE JESS
These two was here but heard they
headed out two days ago...Say I
know somethin' suspicious...That
one they call Snake was here
buyin' up more than just one man
needed. You know he runs with
that Dillard.
Bob Dillard?
                       OLE JESS
Yes sir, tha'd be the one.
Know which way he went?
                       OLE JESS
Sure do. I was on the step when
he took outta here. Went heddin'
southeast. Does that help ya any?
Reeves strokes his mustache as he thinks for a moment.


I think it does. When does that
train come through here headin' ta
                       OLE JESS
Get's here 'round noon tomorrow.
Takes it a good two hours from
Tulsa. Watcha thinkin'?
I'm thinkin' maybe those miners in
Krebs need paid an' I bet that pay
be on that train.
                       OLE JESS
And you recon Dillard and them
gonna try to get that payroll?

Reeves grabs one of his guns from his holster and runs out
of the store...Ole Jess grabs his rifle heads for a window.
Cliff is shooting back at several men who are following him
out of the saloon into the street.

A couple of men run, a horse runs loose past Reeves.

Reeves starts shooting with both guns at the men.

Cliff and the men find something to hide behind and continue
the shoot out.

Reeves continues to walk toward them and shoot seemingly
Ole Jess comes out momentarily thinking he can help but a
close bullet changes his mind.
Reeves and Cliff are one by one stopping the shooter's by
either killing or wounding them.


Cliff stands, looks at Reeves who remains guarded for a few

Cliff smiles big.


Pissed 'em off enough to follow me
Reeves looks a little upset...replaces his guns.

Cliff still smiling...lifts his arms.
What?...Didn't shoot up the place.
Reeves looks around.

Ole Jess behind him, rubs his chin and wipes his forehead
with a scarf.
Reeves, Cliff and their horses standing by a cattle car
waiting to board. TRAIN ENGINEER, heavy set in his fifties,
standing by them.
If anythin' tries ta stop this
train, you blow that whistle long
an' hard. We'll take it from
I hope you're as good as they say.
I'm mighty tired of havin' my
life threatened all the time.
Cliff SMILES begins to load the horses.
Might be nothin' happens but if it
do, ya can be shor, ya won't be
gettin' threatened today.
The engineer walks toward the engine as Reeves gets into the
cattle car, shuts the door and checks his horse, guns and
begins to check the view through the slats.
Had a chance once ta get Dillard
but he got lucky...shot my horse.


                       REEVES (cont'd)
He's been gettin' away for a long
Shor like ta get 'im afor I die.
Cliff realizes how important it is to Reeves that he get
Dillard...nods, looks out through the slats, as the train
begins to move.
The gentle roll of the train has caused the two men to doze
off. Reeves begins to dream.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
Reeves at a younger age when he was still a slave. He is
carrying some packages for NANCY REEVES, a young, well
dressed, attractive woman who is his master's daughter.

The town, PARIS TEXAS is busy and as they cross the street
to another store, Nancy is stopped by a man who begins to
harass her.

Reeves tries to defend Nancy.

The man pushes Reeves, he drops the packages.

The man LAUGHS.

There's a lot of pushing and shoving between the man and

Reeves falls, the man grabs Nancy, no one helps.

A furious Reeves get's up and manages to get the mans gun.

He realizes it...goes for Reeves, Reeves shoots him in the

He is startled awake. After a moment the train WHISTLE

The men jump to their feet.


The train comes to a grinding halt over a bridge.
Reeves and Cliff surprised at the site as they open the
door. Their car is right in the middle of the bridge with
the river about thirty feet below them.
Damn luck! Cliff can ya see any
of 'em?
Cliff runs to look through the slates.

POV SHOT of the robbers riding toward one of the train cars
More 'en five.
Let me get this train a
movin'...ya get on top an' let 'em
have it.
Reeves climbs out of the car, carefully runs down the excess
side of the tracks and onto the ground. He runs towards the
front of the train on the opposite side of the robbers.

Cliff gets on top of the car and begins to shoot at the
Follow Reeves as he makes his way to the front of the train.
POV SHOT shows two men trying to open the mail car as others
still mounted on horses trying to return fire.

Reeves sees the robbers between the cars as he runs toward
the front of the train. He stops, tries to locate Dillard
but shoots and hits another.

DILLARD forties, looks real mean and rough, sees Reeves and
tries to shoot him.

The robbers surprised at being shot at in two different
directions, shoot back everywhere.

Reeves gets some cover as the bullets fly back at him.


He takes off again to the front of the train.
Get it movin'.
He motions with his arm, gun in hand. He holsters his gun
as he continues to where tree limbs have been placed to stop
the train. Reeves begins to move them.

The excited, stressed engineer happily obliges.

The train begins to move forward.

The robbers give up and ride off.
Keep it movin'.
Reeves runs back toward the cattle car.

Cliff jumps with his horse out of the cattle car, Reeves'
horse follows.

Reeves jumps on his horse and they ride off chasing the
They split. Let's go for Dillard.
They go in the direction of Dillard.
Reeves and Cliff looking at the horse tracks they are
following. Suddenly the wind picks up and clouds move in
quickly and it begins to rain hard with thunder and
They move for some cover and wait until the short storm
That Dillard is one lucky buzzard.
I'll go around this other way.
Maybe flush him out for ya.


Cliff riding and looking for Dillard.
Reeves trying to pick up some tracks. After a moment he
senses someone near. He dismounts, grabs his rifle and
walks slowly away from his horse.

Suddenly we hear a GUNSHOT. Reeves grabs his stomach,
doubles over and falls to the wet ground.

He reaches for his rifle but it's just out of reach...Goes
for his gun in his holster and realizes that his holster is
                                         CUT TO:
Dillard bent over behind some bushes with gun in hand.
LAUGHS LOUDLY and slips a little in the mud.
                                         CUT TO:
Reeves hears the laugh, rolls over, finds...grabs his rifle
and shoots in the direction of the laugh.

A gun fight ensues between the two until finally one of
Reeves bullets hits and kills Dillard.
Reeves hears Dillard MOAN and FALL. He stands, guarded but
checks himself for a gunshot. He checks his stomach but
there is no bullet. He looks for his holster and
guns...finds them on the ground close by. He picks them up,
inspects them and finds that the buckle had been hit causing
it to fall from his waist.

Cliff comes riding up as Reeves has made his way to view

They both see that Dillard is dead.
Bass, you alright?
Reeves still a bit stunned. He holds up his holster.
He shot my damn gun belt off a me!
What? That just ain't possible.


Cliff realizes it's true.
                       CLIFF (CONT'D)
Of all the luck.
Luck, hell. It's 'em angels
watchin' over me like my mama
Cliff nods, smiles big.

Reeves smiling back big at cliff.
I might just take a liken' to law.
It's kind a fun.
Cliff circles his face with his finger pointing out to
Reeves that his face is covered with mud.

Reeves still with a big smile, wipes his face with his hand.
Covered body of Dillard lying over his horse. Reeves and
Cliff drying out their clothes by a fire and heating up some
food and coffee.

Reeves checking his holster and pistols and thinking of far
off things.

Cliff notices.
You sure got lucky there Bass.
I shor did.
Don't know how that bullet just
hit your buckle.
Reeves just looks at Cliff for a moment. Both are quiet for
a few moments. Cliff wanting to carry on the conversation.
      (a little hesitant)
Ah, Bass...ah, how'd you get so
smart an' so good with a gun an'
all ...I mean...


Reeves studies Cliff for a moment knowing that he wonders
how a slave becomes a U.S. Deputy Marshall.
I use ta listen when my masser'
an' his friend's talk 'bout women,
politics, tradin' an' gunnin'.
They was always boastin' or lyin'.
I was 'specially interested in
the gunnin' stories an' 'em guns.
Oh I learned plenty 'bout a lot of
'em other things...women an' such
but I had the opportunity to shoot
my masser' guns when they was
gettin' ready ta fight agan' 'em
Union soldiers.
Reeves checks on the clothes as Cliff watches.
Yep they never paid me no mind.
But I was learnin' plenty. I
learned 'bout money too an' how it
seemed ta be the key ta white mans
He squats back down and takes a drink of his coffee.

Wide eyed Cliff takes a sip of his also.
I couldn't understand's why the
color a my skin made me different.
My mama used ta say...just cause
everybody's doin' somethin' don't
make it right.
What do ya mean?
Oh like folks owning' slaves an'
Reeves stands a bit frustrated.
Ya know I fought 'long side my
masser an' 'em Confederate's who
was tryin' ta keep us as slaves? I
knew that weren't right. Just
cause they all was doing it. But I


                       REEVES (cont'd)
had no choice there.
Reeves looking outward.

Cliff lowers his head, feels bad for his friend.
As Reeves talks we see the scenes of Reeves' master, GEORGE
REEVES, thirties, in Confederate Uniform, riding along with
other soldiers toward the battles. Reeves behind on another
horse pulling a pack horse with him as they are being shot
                       REEVES (V.O.)
I had ta follow my
masser...provide whatever he
needed. Followed 'im right inta
battle fields where 'em bullets
was comin' at us.
Still as Reeves talks we see many Indians fighting along
side the confederate soldiers. Men on both sides dying. And
cannons blowing up the Indians and the confederates.
                       REEVES (V.O.)
An' 'em Indians was fightin' 'em
Union soldier's too. Don't know
if they knew why they volunteered
or what they was fightin' for but
they was.
Cliff listening intently as Reeves continues to look off,
Ya know 'em cannon's was blowin'
everyone ta pieces an' 'em
Indian's can't get ta their happy
huntin' grounds lessen' they die
whole, so one day they just
decided they needed ta quit an' go
Cliff tries to imagine the horror.


I talked ta 'em figuring I'd go
with 'em ifn' they'd allow me. An'
they did.
I just knew I had ta be free. All
my life I wanted it an' it was so
close I could taste it...no idea
what it tasted like but...
We hear a BRANCH SNAP. Reeves and Cliff at attention, draw
guns and take cover.
                       OUTLAW (O.S.)
Boy them some purtty words.
Bullets start flying at Reeves and Cliff. They return fire.
This continues for a while between the two lawmen and two
outlaws until the outlaws are wounded.

Reeves and Cliff go over to check the outlaws and realize
that they are two of the train robbers with Dillard.
Y'all should a kept goin'. Dillard
would a never come back for you.
Reeves and Cliff check their wounds and bind them as needed
and get ready to cuff them.
We wasn't comin' ta help Dillard.
We was comin' back ta git you,
Reeves. Ta finally kill you dead.
Reeves and Cliff are quite amused as they look from the
outlaw and then at each other.
MARSHAL FAGAN, sixty's, seated behind his desk. A few
deputies sitting around as well.

Reeves walks in, nods at the men and goes to get a cup of
coffee that is warming on a woodstove.
Hello Bass.


Marshal Fagan...boys.
The others MUMBLE a greeting to Reeves as he finds a seat,
begins to sip his coffee. Everyone is quiet.

Some look at Reeves.

Fagan is hesitant but needs to tell Reeves something.
Have ya heard the news about Sam
Sixkiller yet, Bass?
Reeves sits up.
Don't recon' I have.
Fagan hesitant to tell him and the others not wanting to
He got gunned down yesterday in
Reeves is stunned. Stands.
You shor 'bout that?
I know y'all were real close and I
hated ta be the one tellin' you.
...He wasn't even on duty...They
shot 'im dead in the street when
he was just goin' ta pick up some
Reeves sits again.
Yeah, we was real close. He
helped me plenty.
Cliff comes bursting into the office.
Hey boss, let's check these
bastards in and get some ale's!
Cliff nods at Fagan.


Suddenly Cliff realizes something is wrong.
What's goin' on? What's happened?
My good friend, Sam Sixkillers'
been killed.
Ah, sorry Bass.
Say, who'd y'all bring in?
Tom Dillard dead and a couple of
his men alive but wounded.
Well I'll be.
Fagan stands and orders his deputies.
                       FAGAN (CONT'D)
A couple of you boys bring them in
for Bass, would ya?
Two stand to go out.

Reeves angry stands, begins to pace a little.

The deputies wait to see what he has to say.
The bastards...You got anymore
warrants there Marshal? We gotta'
clean up this God forsaken land.
By God, I'll do it by myself ifn'
I have ta!
All of the men watching Reeves.
That's over 73,000 square miles
That's why we all was hired by
Judge Parker.


So why is y'all sittin' 'round
here? Get out there an' do your
Now Bass, calm down. We know
you're hurtin' right now. Can't
take it out on us though.
Yeah Bossman, come on let's get
refreshed and rest some before we
take off again.
Reeves thinking. Everyone just waiting to see what he does
or says next.
      (to cliff)
You get rested up. I'm goin' ta
the funeral an' visit home for a
few days.
      (to Fagan)
I'll be back after that an' I'll
take all 'em warrants ya got then.
He looks at the others still lazily seated. The two at the
door go out to collect the prisoner's.

Reeves turns to leave. As he walks out. The men say their
Be careful Bass.

See ya later Bass.
Reeves walks out. Cliff follows.
Reeves slowly riding up to his farm.

Some of the children see him, get excited and run toward


Pa! Pa!
Reeves smiles down on them as they walk along side as he
gets closer to the barn.

He dismounts, hands the reins to Homer.
How'd do, my youngen's.
Jennie comes out onto the porch, delighted to see her

Reeves has made it to the porch.

She can see something is wrong as he walks up to her.

He grabs her bottom, smiles as he passes her, goes into the

She follows.
Reeves is dreaming of his time on the battlefields.

It is early dawn...there is gun and cannon fire.
Confederates and Indians fighting the Union soldiers.

Reeves is seeing terrible things and trying to stay with his
master, George Reeves, while maintaining the horses and
packs as well.

Reeves is brave but afraid at the same time.

He sees some of the Indians scalp the Union Soldiers...hold
up the scalps and let out some victorious YELLS.
Reeves in a sweat, breathing hard jerks awake to find
himself lying next to Jennie.

He sits up.

She joins him trying to comfort him, wraps an arm around

They don't speak, they've done this before. She rubs his


arm, he regains regular breathing before lying back down on
his side.

Jennie lays next to his back holding him as he stares out
into the darkness.
Jennie and the children are outside with busy work. Jennie
hanging clothes, the little ones playing.

Reeves walks out onto the porch wearing long underwear shirt
with pants held up with suspenders. He breathes in the
fresh air and looks at his family.

The little ones run to him and hug what they can.

Jennie smiles.
You got's a story ta tell us, Pa?
Stories are for later, child.
Reeves pats him on the head.
Reeves begins to walk toward the barn. The little ones

Jennie passes by them going toward the house.
I'll cook ya somethin'.
Reeves smiles as she passes.

HARIET greets her father as she feeds the chickens.

Reeves notices the chicken coup needs mending.
Mornin' PaPa.
Reeves starts to address her but not sure which daughter
this is and when he hesitates, she starts to say her name
and he joins in as if he knew all along and that she just
didn't give him a chance to say it.
Good mornin' ta you...


He looks at the chicken coup's damage again.
I better get some wire an' hammer
ta do some repairin' here.
We know where they is, pa.
The little ones run off to get the materials.
Hariet still feeding the chickens. Reeves standing
awkwardly by. He has just not been around as a dad that
much to know his children.
So, ah, Hariet. Ya doin' alright
Hariet is shy with her dad.
Yes PaPa.
Uhm, where's the other one?
She GIGGLES a little.

He feels odd, puts his hands behind his back.
Ya mean, Sally? The other'n
that's a little bigger 'an me?
      (looks around)
Ah, yeah. Where's Sally?
She's gone off walkin' towards the
creek ta meet up with her fella,
A little upset, stands straight.


What? Cyrus ah, Miller? She's
too young ta be a courtin' 'im or
any feller. Why...he's got ta be
in his twenties.
Mills PaPa an' she's nearly
sixteen an' Cyrus not near that
old as what ya think.
Reeves moves closer to her, reaches for some feed to help
Well sixteen's too young, ya hear?
He takes a studying look at her.
Don't ya be gettin' no ideas 'bout
ah, courtin'.
How old are ya now anyway's.
Nearly thirteen.
The little ones come back with a hammer and some wire.

Reeves is relieved with the interruption.
These right, Pa?
He reaches out his hand to Hariet as if to shake it.

She slowly and awkwardly puts her hand out.

Reeves takes it into both of his large hands and holds her
hand for a few moments.

The little ones look on, realizing this is a special moment.
Now you mind yourself, Hariet an'
'member what I say.


Hariet smiles and almost curtsies when she replies.
Yes PaPa.
Reeves walks off and into the barn. The little ones silent
as they follow him.
Reeves and the children walk into the barn.

Reeves begins to look at the shape the corrals are in and
the railings etc., and then checks his horse.

The children watch as he feels his horse from head to tail
and checks his legs and shoes.
Jennie sees through a window, someone riding up to the
Reeves home. She becomes concerned.
U.S. MARSHALL FAIR, fifties, riding up slowly onto the
Reeves Farm.

Hariet sees him also and alerts her father.
Reeves stops abruptly with the horse, comes out of the
corral, motions for his children to stay put as he
cautiously goes to the door that leads out of the barn.
Reeves comes out...the little ones inch their way to the

Reeves sees the rider, SQUINTS...after a moment recognizes


Jennie, curious, has come out onto the porch.

The rider waves at Reeves.
The marshal stops dismounts, stretches, takes his gun out of
his holster, checks it and puts it back.

Reeves is taken aback by the removal of the gun.

The two men slowly walk toward each other.
What brings ya out here, Marshal
Fair. It can't be good news. I
already lost one friend, hopin'
there ain't been 'nother killin'
of a good man.
The Marshal reaches to shake hands with Reeves. They shake.
                       MARSHAL FAIR
It ain't Bass. You're right.
Not good news...Sorry to
say...I've come to take you in.
What? Me?
Jennie has heard the Marshal and hurries towards Reeves.
The children have run up to their father...look on, afraid.

Reeves takes Jennie into his arm.
It's got ta be a mistake.
                       MARSHAL FAIR
      (tips his hat)
Sorry, Mrs. Reeves but it's no
He takes the warrant from his pocket to hand it to Reeves
but Reeves doesn't take it.


I believe 'at piece a paper might
very well say what you's sayin' it
says with my name on it an' all
but what I don'ts know is what
you'd be takin' me in for.
The Marshal opens the warrant as if reading it but he knows
what it says.
                       MARSHAL FAIR
I'm ta bring ya in, dead or alive,
for the first degree murder of
William Leach.
Jennie is shocked.
The Marshal folds the paper up and slowly moves his hand to
his gun.

The two men looking at each other eye to eye.
There ain't no need for that,
The Marshal slowly moves his hand away from the holster.
That was over two years ago. A
bad accident. Why;s they just now
bringin' such a tragedy up.
                       MARSHAL FAIR
Not sure Bass. Just doin' my job.
Reeves releases Jennie. Makes the situation a little more
Alright Fair. I'll go back with
you peaceably but let's go in an'
have somethin' ta eat first.
Jennie's been a fixin' it for some
time now an' I'd shor like ta eat
this meal with my family 'fore we
set out.
After a moment or two the Marshal agrees. Reeves pats the
Marshal on the back as they all walk toward the house.


Come on Fair. I'll get it
straightened out once we get ta
Fort Smith.
Reeves asks Homer to take care of the Marshal's horse.
Boy, will ya let the Marshal's
horse get a drink 'fore ya come
Homer takes the reins and begins to lead the horse to the
water as the others all go to the house.
Marshal Fair is ready to mount.

Reeves in his regular black clothes, hat and boots but not
his guns. He comes out onto the porch with Jennie who is
holding his holster and guns. Hariet has his rifle.

The other children come out of the house as well. Everyone
is sad and CRYING a little.

The Marshal walks over to Jennie and Hariet to take the
guns. They hand them over.

Reeves turns to his family.
You youngen's be good for ya mama.
I'll be home soon as I can an'
have a great story for ya.
He pats the two small children on the head. They nod and
wipe their tears.

Reeves takes Jennie in his arms. They hold each other
I'm sorry Jennie girl. I'll get
back soon.
Jennie kisses Reeves and wipes her tears as they release
each other.


I love you Bass.
Reeves smiles, turns and walks over to his already saddled
horse, mounts and begins to ride off before he looks back.
Reeves and Marshal Fair riding into Ft. Smith and to the
jail. Fair stops as does Reeves. Fair doesn't want to cuff
Reeves but it is standard and he has to do it.
                       MARSHAL FAIR
Sorry Bass. I'm gonna have to
cuff you ya know.
He pulls out his cuffs.

Reeves looks at him for a long moment before offering up his

Fair apologizes again and is slow to cuff Reeves.
                       MARSHAL FAIR
Once cuffed, Reeves looks at the cuffs and then around to
see if anyone has seen this happen to him.

POV shot of some onlookers.
Let's get this over with.
They slowly ride closer to the jail, dismount, tie their
horses and begin to walk up to the jail and into it.

There are other lawmen walking and sitting around and a few
pedestrians close by.
Reeves and Fair walk into the jail and go to the Marshals'
area where Marshal Fagan is standing by his desk.

He sees that Fair is bringing Reeves in and tries not to
look directly at Reeves because he is also sorry for the
accusations and arrest of him.


A few other lawmen looking on feeling bad for Reeves as
                       MARSHAL FAIR
Marshal Fagan, I've brought one,
Bass Reeves in for the murder of
one William Leach. He came with
no incident.
Get those cuffs off him.
Reeves looking straight at Fagan as Fair takes the cuffs
Sorry Bass. You know we didn't
want ta do this. Problem is,
you've been accused by witness's.
It's alright. I'll be outta here
in no time. You gotta do what you
gotta do, I understand that.
JIM CARLSON a jailer in his forties walks in.

Fair touches Reeves shoulder before he walks away, his job
Jim's gonna help you get
comfortable. We're goin' ta keep
you up here as a trustee. If we
put you downstairs with the
There'd be a ruckus terrible an'
someone would come out dead, sure,
Fagan is disturbed at Jim's interruption.
Thank you, Jim.
Sorry sir. Come on Bass, let's
get ya some grub and trustee


      (to Fagan)
Would you get me, William Clayton
for my lawyerin'
Fagan looks at the other lawmen. They all bow their heads
or hurriedly move away from the area.

Reeves and Jim begin to walk off to another room.
Sure thing, Bass, sure thing.
We can tell it's late evening due to the setting sunlight
and very few people around.

Reeves in some simple like prisoner garb, sadly sweeping the
floor when his lawyer, WILLIAM CLAYTON, older gentleman in a
suit walks in. He sports a long pointed beard with a large
mustache and curly hair on the top of his head.

He looks around and spots Reeves...makes his way toward him.
Reeves turns to see Clayton. Reeves is tired of being held
and it shows.
Mr. Clayton.
They shake hands.
Is there somewhere we can talk?
Reeves directs him over to a sitting area.
I shor hope you've got some good
news for me, Mr. Clayton.
I've got to tell you, Bass. This
is a hard case. I haven't been
able to get you bonded out yet.
Someone's got it in for you, bad.
The Grayson's and others SWEAR you
killed your cook in cold blood.


Why would I kill my friend?
Clayton has no response to this as he looks at Reeves
hesitant to give him more bad news.
I tell you, Bass, someone's got it
in for you. Maybe higher up or
I feel like I need some help here
in defending you.
You mean, ya need's more money.
Clayton lowers his head.
I know you's the best an' I got's
ta trust ya, Mr. Clayton but I
ain't wanten' ta go broke neither.
Clayton stands, Reeves follows.
Oh by the way, if I manage to get
bond for you, Marshal Mershen says
he'll put you up in a room and be
responsible for you...You don't
belong here.
Reeves is extremely appreciative of this, takes Clayton's
hand and shakes if vigorously.
Thank you, Mr. Clayton. Thank you
so much, sir.
Alright, Bass, alright.
He starts to walk off. Turns to say something to Reeves.
I'll do my best to get you out of
this situation...I'll do my best.
Reeves nods and smiles as Claton walks out of the building.


Reeves pretty agitated, pacing in a room. He has his own
clothes on now indicating he has been bonded out. He lies
down for a few moments then gets up and looks out a window
at the town. He sits, thinking for a while then gets up to
go outside.
Reeves comes out of the room and sits on a chair that is
beside the door. He looks out onto the street.
POV SHOT of Ft. Smith and its towns people meandering
                       MARSHAL MERSHEN (O.S.)
Bass, how you doin' today?
Reeves looks over to see MARSHAL MERSHEN, forties, fit,
walking up to him but he doesn't respond.

Mershen sits beside him in another chair...looks from Reeves
then out toward the town also.
                       MARSHAL MERSHEN
Ahhh, Ft. Smith. (breaths in) The
smell of a big city sure's
different than the smell of a
nice, peaceful farm.
Reeves lowers his head.
                       MARSHAL MERSHEN
Come on Bass, everything will work
It's not I ain't obliged to ya,
Mershen, cause I is...It's been
six months now though an' I ain't
seen my family, I got's no money
left, I done lost my farm, an' all
this done got's my wife real sick.
They keep delayin' everythin'.
Shor takin' a toll on me too.
Mershen looking at Bass, feeling bad for him.


                       MARSHAL MERSHEN
Your day in court is comin' up
real soon, Bass and I got a
feelin' it'll all come out right.
Day of the trial.

It's already in session. NOISY. The camera shows that the
room is packed with mostly men.

JUDGE PARKER, elderly man in his late sixties,
distinguished, white hair, large goatee and mustache, is
seated, trying to get order with his gavel. We know this is
Parker because he has a wooden name plate on the judges

MRS. GRAYSON, woman in her fifties, a bit hagged out with a
few missing teeth sitting in witness chair. She is comical
in the way she talks and it makes the crowd laugh as Clayton
questions her.
                       JUDGE PARKER
After a few seconds it quiets down.
                       JUDGE PARKER
Carry on, Mr. Clayton.
So you say you saw the defendant,
Bass Reeves shoot down his cook?
                       MRS. GRAYSON
I shor did, like I said, that...
She looks up at the Judge, decides to use better words and
speak slower.
                       MRS. GRAYSON
They was arguin' about that dang
dog and he, Reeves, for no reason
looked like he just decided ta
kill ole Leech, his
QUIET LAUGHTER from the crowd.


Judge Parker nods to Mrs. Grayson in approval.

She smiles at the judge.
Where were you standing, Mrs.
Grayson when you saw what you say
you saw?
                       MRS. GRAYSON
Near by.
Near by what?
                       MRS. GRAYSON
Near by! Near by! Near enough to
watch that black ass niggar shoot
'im down in cold ass blood.

The judge not happy with the witness.

Reeves quite sober.
                       JUDGE PARKER
Order! Mrs. Grayson don't make me
tell you again, not to use such
terms or attitude in this
She nods sheepishly.
                       JUDGE PARKER
Hurry this up, Mr. Clayton.
Clayton looks at Reeves for a moment.
I believe I am finished cross
examining this witness for now but
reserve the right to call her back
if it pleases the court.
                       JUDGE PARKER
You can step down now, Mrs.
She steps down. People MUMBLE.


Cliff is on the stand. The PROSECUTER, elderly gentleman
has just asked Cliff a question.
Yes sir, like I said, the
Grayson's were in the wagon.
There's no way they coulda' seen
what happened.
And you say it was an accident? No
way was Bass Reeves so angry at
Leech for some reason and just
shot him?
No sir. I mean yes sir. I mean,
it was an accident and no he
wouldn't just shoot him for
anythin' or for nothin'.
You seem a bit confused, Mr.
Cliff takes a moment to look at Reeves as does Clayton who
is seated beside him.

Reeves looking at Cliff.
Yes sir, it was. I'm sayin' it was
an accident. No doubt.
JEB GRAYSON, fifties, scrappy, mean and unhealthy looking on
the stand also a bit comical in his manner, which allows the
crowd to laugh a little.

Prosecutor questioned him.
                       JEB GRAYSON
Yep, I'm sayin', Bass Reeves shot
that guy down in cold blood. I
heard 'em...he and Reeves was
arguin' about a flee bitten dog
that was there. Poor guy, he was
just tryin' ta cook us up
somethin' but he ended up dead
with his face in our grub. We


                       JEB GRAYSON (cont'd)
never did git ta eat that night.

The Judge not happy gets ready to hit the gavel down again.

The crowd stops.
      (to Clayton)
You may cross examine.
Clayton stands, looks at the witness, the Judge and then
Judge Parker, I'd like to reserve
questioning this witness also and
I'd like to call Bass Reeves to
the stand now.
Reeves looks up at his lawyer and Parker.

Parker nods in agreement. Grayson steps down.

Reeves makes his way to the witness chair.

People GRUMBLE and look on. Some strain to see him.

Reeves arrives at the chair. The BAILIFF holds the bible to
swear him in. Reeves raises his hand and places the other
on the bible.
Do you swear to tell the truth,
the whole truth and nothing but
the truth, as best you can, so
help you God?
I do.
He sits and Clayton begins move around and talk.
This has turned into quite an
amusing trial so far. Long and
tiring also. Why don't you tell us
what really happened that day, Mr.
Reeves takes a moment to look around.


Well sir, we'd beena' travelin'
for a few hours an' Jeb Grayson,
my prisoner, been sick for some
time. We picked 'im up thata' way
an' his wife was followin' us an'
wouldn't leave. We thought he
might not make it an' maybe she
could help with whatever was
ailin' 'im. So we stopped ta camp
down a bit an' I let her tend to
her husband.
Parker listen's intently.
That's a bit unusual wouldn't you
say? I mean, out of the kindness
of your heart, you let his wife
tend to her husband?
Clayton looks at the jurors and the crowd to see their
Yes sir.
Very commendable, Reeves. Go on,
then what happened.
Well, like I said Mrs. Grayson was
followin' us.
Mrs. Grayson riding up slowly toward the lawmen and the
covered wagon.

LEECH, the cook in his fifties is a bit far from the
prisoner wagon setting up his area to cook some food.

Reeves walking back to where Mrs. Grayson is riding up.

She appears to be cussing at Reeves.
                       REEVES (V.O.)
I helped her up inta the wagon ta
let her tend to her husband.


She doesn't allow Reeves to touch her as she climbs into the

The scene unfolds as he describes the following.
                       REEVES (V.O.)
Then after a few minutes I started
ta check my rifle an' maybe clean
it a bit. I still could use my
pistols if need be an' we was
waitin' on Leech ta cook us
somethin' ta eat. I started
checkin' my rifle an' there seemed
ta be a shell stuck in the
carriage so's I started messin'
with it when I noticed my dog
goin' over towards Leech.
Leech beena' feedin' 'im too much
of our scrapes an' well the dog
was leavin' some awful smelling
(beat-searching for a proper word)
ummm, waste around.
The crowd amused again.
                       REEVES (V.O.)
I yelled at Leech cause he was a
ways from me. I yelled at him ta
not feed the dog any of 'em scraps
we might have cause a just that
such reason.
We see Reeves jokingly yell at Leech.

Leech waves back in a half hearted manner and yells
something back and laughs.

We also see Cliff in the back ground messing with the
horses. He hears them and looks over.


Leech yelled back at me somethin'
about what I could do ta myself as
far as he was concerned and we
both laughed.
The crowd LAUGHS.

Clayton, the judge and the jury amused as well.
Well I thought he was just jokin'
'round an' well he never did care
for my dog...but I never thought
he'd a done what he did.
He grabbed my dog an' all a sudden
he poured some hot grease down its
We see as Reeves describes what happened. We see the dog
run hurt after Leech had burned him.
                       REEVES (V.O.)
I couldn't believe (very
emotional) I jumped up ta catch
my dog ta see ifn' I could help
'im an' as I did that, my rifle
fell. I almost fell over it too.
As Reeves stands, the rifle falls, he almost trips and the
rifle goes off. Reeves is surprised, looks over at Leech who
has fallen to the ground.

Cliff runs over towards Leech.
An' for some unforeseen reason
that bullet went straight out as
if it were tryin' ta hit a target
of its own liken' (long beat)
Everyone is anxiously awaiting the rest of the story.


We see Reeves run over to Leech to help his friend. Both he
and Cliff on their knees trying to help him.
An' it went straight inta Leech.
(long beat) an' it killed 'im.
Everyone is quiet and after a moment Clayton looks at the
jury, then speaks.
Bass Reeves...did you mean to kill
your friend William Leach?
No sir, I shorly did not.
The outside of the court house, all is quiet. Then all of a
sudden a burst of LOUD HAPPY PEOPLE come out. The verdict
has been read, the trial is over and Reeves has been found

After a moment or so Reeves comes out with Clayton. They
are smiling. Clayton pats him on the back. People are
coming up to Reeves, shaking his hand.
What are you going to do now
Go see my family and get back ta
what I know...Lawin'.
Reeves, Cliff, another couple of deputies and a cook driving
a wagon making there way across the land in search of

Reeves has a good idea where they are and that it may be
time to check things out further. He rides up to Cliff.


Have 'em camp here. I got a hunch
on somethin'.
Stoppin' here for the night.
The others look on and begin to stop at a good place,
dismount and get ready to settle in.

Reeves looking out in a certain direction. Cliff looks at
What cha thinkin' boss?
Reeves rides over to the wagon, dismounts. Cliff follows.

Reeves starts to help the cook take some things out of the
wagon like the pans and blankets, some shackles, a crate of
bullets and some old clothes.

They all look on. Cliff dismounts.

Reeves begins to change some of his clothes including
another hat to look more like an outlaw. He pins his badge
far inside his coat and shoots a hole in his hat. Then
makes his way towards the front of the wagon and climbs up
to the drivers seat.
I got a hunch I know where 'em
Smith's are holed up. Give me
till tamorra evenin'. If I'm not
back well then I probably met my
match an' ain't gonna make it
You sure you wanna' do this boss?
Where ya headed?
About 20 miles, that direction.
There'd be ole lady Smith's home
where 'em boys a hers are sure ta
be around. If they's there, I'll
bring there asses in. If they
ain't well I'll come back empty
handed I guess. But I..


Hunch. I know boss. Ya got a
Reeves smiles and snaps the reins for the horses to get
moving. The other men kind of wave and watch Reeves leave
the camp.
Reeves driving the wagon toward his destination. After a
few moments he stops. He takes out his guns and checks them
for bullets and function and puts them back in his holster.
He drives the wagon and hides it in some trees. He checks
things over and ties the horses to a tree. He begins to
walk toward his destination.

It's a few miles but he finally arrives at an area that he
can see the house he is looking for from afar. He scans the

POV SHOT as he looks over everything.

He begins to walk toward the house.

As he approaches an old woman, NEL SMITH, a plain clothed
woman about fifty comes out with a rifle pointed at Reeves.
That's close enough.
Reeves stops. He has worked up a sweat and acts like he has
walked a very far distance. He sits on the ground.
I don't mean's no harm, Misses.
Maybe just some water an' ta rest
a bit.
Nel still holding the gun on him looks out into the distance
as if to see someone else coming in. Then she looks back at
Watcha doin' way out here and
don't tell me no lie, whatever it
Reeves looks up at her, pauses before he speaks.
Well Misses, I can see ya is a
smart woman an' I won't lie when I
tell ya I ain't a good man. I


                       REEVES (cont'd)
ain't real bad but it's hard
tryin' ta live in this here kinda'
land. So's I been known ta thieve
Thieven's all?
Yes Misses, an' I don't mean's ya
no harm.
Nel lowers her rife a little but still on Reeves as she
looks off into the distance again.
You got no horse?
Well that's a funny thing. Them
possemen chasin' me shot 'im out
from under me.
He extends his arms.
                       REEVES (CONT'D)
So here I is, at your mercy. An'
ifn' ya have a spare horse ta
sell, I gotta little money ta pay
for it.
Nel notices his guns.
Them your guns?
Well they is now.
Reeves LAUGHS, Nel joins in and relaxes her arms, motions
with her rife for him to come into the house.
I'm thinkin' you's alright. Come
on in after ya get some drink over
there at the well.
Reeves looks toward the well, gets up and makes his way to


Shor do thank ya, Misses.
Nel goes into the house leaving the door open.

Reeves gets a drink, all the while checking out the layout
of the house and the area around it.
A couple of horses and cows in a fenced area, an old barn
but no sign of anyone else around.
Reeves walks in, takes his hat off. Nel in kitchen area,
heating up some beans for him.
You hungry?
I shor wouldn't pass nothin' up.
Have a seat then.
Reeves pulls up a chair and sits.
What's your name?
Well misses, they just call me
Buck. Ain't cha got a last name?
Well misses, not really. It was
my masser's name an' I don't
like's ta use it, so's I don't.
Nel stops for a moment realizing he was a slave at one time.
She brings him a plate of beans and a hunk of bread and sets
it down with a fork.
Well here, eat. It ain't much but
it sure beats hungry.


Thank ya, Misses.
Nel sits in a chair close to the table but not at the table
with him as Reeves begins to eat.
It's Nel...my names Nel...You can
call me Nel, Buck.
Reeves stops chewing for a moment, looks at her, nods.
I ain't alone here, just so ya
know. I got two boys. They
should be here soon.
Reeves continues to eat and nods at her, showing know fear
or hesitation.
They're a bit like you, I guess. I
love 'em though. Ya know? I love
my sons.
Reeves slows in his chewing and looks at her with a bit of
Nel seems a little on edge now. She get's up, moves around,
looks out a window.

Reeves watches her as he finishes his food.
I'd offer ya more but...
Oh no, Nel...I understand's an' ya
got 'em boys ta feed too I recon.
Well, they do more drinkin' than
eatin'...Say maybe you and them
can talk, see if ya can help each
other, ya know?
Well they might not take a liken'
ta that. Maybe won't trust a man
they don't know.


Probably right.
They are looking at each other when we HEAR HORSES RIDING UP
TO THE HOUSE. They look toward the door.
                       JACK (O.S.)
Ma! Hey Ma!
Nel goes to open the door.

Reeves sits back a little, puts his hand near his holster in
case he needs to draw his gun.
JACK and TOM SMITH dismounting as Nel comes out of the
house. Tom has a bottle of whiskey in his hand. The men are
in their 30's, rugged, rough and mean looking. They dust
themselves off and greet their mother with a kiss on the
cheek before entering the house.
There's a man here...Don't get..
Who is it?
Tom pushes past her as they all walk into the house.
The two men look at Reeves, surprised with their hands on
their guns, in case they need to draw.

Nel moves through them.

Reeves stands slowly. Nods at the two.

Without taking their eyes off Reeves, Tom takes a drink of
whiskey...hands the bottle to Jack who also takes a swig.

Tom begins to smirk and back hands his brothers arm.

Jack looks at his brother and they both start LAUGHING.
Reeves never moves...stares back.


Now mind your manners boys. This
is Buck. He's run inta some
trouble with the law is all. Now
sit down and I'll feed ya.
She takes the hat off of Jack and hands it to him. The men
finally stop staring at Reeves and begin to sit down at the
table. Tom takes his hat off and Reeves slowly sits also.
Didn't see no horse.
Yeah, where's your horse?
Shot out from under me 'bout five
miles back south. So's I just ran
an' hid for a spell.
South huh?...Where ya headed?
Anywhere there ain't too much law.
Tom still suspicious of Reeves.

Everyone is silent as Nel brings their food to them, sets it
down with a fork.
I said mind your manners. Now
Just ya don't see too many Negro's
around these parts. Don't know
what you are.
What else could he be, Tom 'cept a
Yeah, your right, Jack. What else
but a Negro.
They both relax now, LAUGH and begin to eat.

Reeves sucks in a deep breath.


Nel looks on wondering about the same thing.
Misses Nel, do ya mind ifn' I bed
down in the barn an' maybe ya can
sell me a horse in the mornin'
when I'll be a movin' on.
He stands. The men keep eating.
Might be able ta sell ya old nag.
She'll get ya far enough out ta
find a town...If you got enough
Ma get me some more of this stuff.
Reeves approaches the door as Nel gets them more food.
There'll be a horse blanket out
there ya can bed down on.
Much obliged.
Reeves walks out the door. Nel hits Tom with a rag.
Reeves lying down waiting for the Smith's to go to sleep.
After a few moments he hears the boys LAUGH LOUDLY.
Pass out ya little bastards.
Reeves gets up to look at the house.

POV SHOT shows a lamp still lit in the house.

He lies back down on his back, Puts a piece of straw in his
mouth and begins to HUM something.

After a few moments he stands to look at the house again.

POV SHOT shows the light being blown out.


Reeves smiles with the straw between his teeth. He sits
Reeves quietly approaches the house and peers into the

POV SHOT we see both passed out, one in the chair, the other
on the floor, no sign of Nel.
Reeves enters the house and manages to quietly move around
the room, cuffing the men's hands together, gathering their
guns that are hanging over the chairs...unloading them and
putting bullets in his pockets. He also retrieves the rifle
and empties it.

He then sits in a chair. Pulls his badge from way inside
his pocket and pins it on the front for the outlaws to see.
He pulls his pistols out and waits for the men to wake.
The sun just breaking through.

Reeves still sitting in the chair with guns on the two men.

He cocks them.
Alright boys, I'm a rooster
tellin' ya, it's time ta git up!
They begin to stir and soon realize they are bound at the

Nel comes through a door wearing a robe.

Reeves eyes look at her.
What the hell is this?
Reeves stands, shows his badge.


Bass Reeves, United States Deputy
Marshall arrestin' your boys for
numerous crimes.
The men and Nel are extremely mad.

Reeves puts one of the guns in his holster and pulls out the
warrants for Nel to look at. He puts them on the table.

She moves toward the table to look at them.

Reeves pulls his gun out again.

As Nel looks at the warrants, Reeves kicks some boots over
to the men.
Git 'em on 'less ya wanna walk
The two hung over and tired, GRUMBLE as they try to put
their boots on finding that they have one of each others
boot. They toss and kick them at each other to get the
right pair and almost get into a scuffle.

Nel eyes the rifle against the wall. When she thinks Reeves
is not looking she goes for it. Grabs it and turns to shoot
Reeves. She pulls the trigger.
Damn you, Niggar!
Now Nel that wasn't very nice of
you. Was ya just gonna kill me
right here and now like that?
Nel gives him a go to hell look as she drops the rifle down.
Reeves helps the two men up and has them ready to walk out
the door.
                       REEVES (CONT'D)
I guess ya was. Ya just pulled
that trigger on me right off.
She'd a done it and we'd a buried
ya so deep nobody'd a found ya.


Well good thing for me that didn't
happen. Let's go.
They all walk out of the house. Reeves mounts a horse and
tells the two to get walking in front of him. Nel follows
and cusses him out for quite a ways.
Get movin' boys.
God damn niggar.
You're a sorry son-of-a-bitch...a
God damn black ass niggar. Who the
hell are you takin' my boys in. I
should a killed ya last night,
Bass Reeves.
Now Nel don't make me take ya in
too. I'll leave ya here ta your
home ifn' ya stop callin' me names
and such. Other wise I gotta
take's ya in.
As Reeves rides on with the two men in front walking
unsteadily, Nel decides to back off.
      (lifts hand)
I love ya boys!
Reeves, Cliff, posse, wagon, horses, the two Smith men and a
couple other outlaws in back of the wagon ride into town to
the jail.

Towns people look on.

Reeves is wearing his regular black duds, sharp boots and
large black hat as usual.

The men dismount their horses, tie them and begin to unload
the outlaws to march them into the jail.


Everyone enters. MARSHAL BENNETT, early fifties, is at the
desk. Jim Carlson takes the prisoners to the back to lock
them up. There are a couple of other deputies seated.
                       MARSHAL BENNETT
Good haul, Bass.
Pretty good.
He hands the warrants over to Bennett.
Well I'm goin' for a beer. Anyone
with me?
                       MARSHAL BENNETT
Don't be long, Cliff. You have
The cook and the other possemen follow Cliff out the door.

Reeves takes a seat.

Bennett looks at Reeves for a moment, looks at a warrant in
his basket...Pulls it out, studies it...looks at one of the
other deputies that is seated close by.

The deputy looks from Bennett to Reeves.

Reeves notices them looking at each other and it makes him

Jim comes back from the jail cell area with a set of keys
and puts them on Bennetts' desk and notices the tension in
the room. He looks at Reeves and decides to get out of
Ah, Marshal, I think I'll check
the streets.
He hurries out.

Reeves gets up and approaches the desk.
What is it? What ain't ya tellin'
me yet?


One deputy lowers his head and sneaks out of the office
while another stays seated but lowers his head.

Reeves watches him and then looks at the desk and picks up
the warrant that Bennett was looking at.
Who is it?
                       MARSHAL BENNETT
It's your son, Bass. It's a
warrant for Benjamin.
Reeves looking at the warrant wishing he heard wrong.
                       MARSHAL BENNETT
No one wanted ta pick him up and
none of us wanted ta give you such
He killed his wife, Bass...he's
gotta pay.
Bennie, oh Bennie, no.
Reeves lowers his head and after a moment moves over to a
window ...looks out.
                       MARSHAL BENNETT
Sorry Bass. They want him dead or
alive and no one wanted ta have ta
kill your boy cause he said he
ain't comin' in alive.
      (in a trance)
I'll bring 'im in....He's my
responsibility. I failed 'im like
all my family...I'll bring 'im in
alive OR dead as the law wants.
                       MARSHAL BENNETT
You know where he might be?
I got a good idea.


Reeves slowly riding through the trees with a heavy heart.
After a few moments he sees the cabin and stops.

POV shot of an old cabin and a horse in the corral.
Reeves dismounts and decides to walk till he's close enough
to holler.
Benjamin...Benjamin...It's your
Pa. (long beat) Bennie we need
ta talk.
Benjamin looks out the window and after a few moments he
steps in the doorway with a gun in his hand. He shows signs
of sadness and nervousness.
I ain't goin' ta jail Pa. I
ain't. I can't do it.
Look son, I'm alone...
Benjamin reacts as if he hadn't even thought that there
might be others hiding in the trees by aiming his gun
outwardly from tree to tree.
No son. I am alone...We need ta
talk 'bout this situation. Can I
come to ya?
      (talking fast)
I killed her Pa, I killed her. I
didn't mean to. I just got so mad
at her messin' 'round on me. I
meant ta kill the bastard I found
her with but he done got away
'fore I could finish the job an' I
started hittin' her. Can't
believe I killed, Mable, Pa. I
loved my Mable.
Reeves begins to move closer, leading his horse.


Benjamin sees this and puts the gun to his head. Tears have

Reeves stops.

Benjamin puts the gun down somewhat and then to his head
again, then down.
Alright now boy, I see you're a
hurtin' real bad. Let me help ya
through this whole thing...Ya
can't undo what ya did but it
don't have ta end like this...I
love ya son and it's my fault for
not showin' ya more. My fault for
being gone all the time.
It looks as if Benjamin is about to surrender.

Reeves moves slowly toward him and lets the reins drop.

Reeves is close enough to Benjamin to start to hug him.

Benjamin let's him and he breaks down crying hard.

After a few moments Reeves reaches for the gun and Benjamin
gives it up.

Benjamin sits on the steps. Reeves puts the gun in his
waist and then joins Benjamin.
I can't believe I did such a
thing. ...Killed my Mable, Pa, my
I know ya wasn't meanin' to
son...Things got outta hand. (long
beat) The law says I gotta bring
ya in an' they's serious 'bout it.
Others would a come an' might a
killed ya but they didn't want ta
do that so's they let me come.
Benjamin looks at his father.
I'll die in jail, Pa. I know's I


We can stay here a bit son while
ya get's it ready in your head ta
do the right thing.
Reeves puts his arm around his son and they sit looking out,
Benjamin still wiping tears from his eyes.

After a few moment's...
This used ta be a great place ta
come fishin', huh, Pa?
Shor' 'nough, son.
He looks at Benjamin...pulls him closer...looks out again.
Shor' 'nough.
Belle Starr in her bar area, tidying up the tables etc. It
is empty of people. She looks around, brushes off her
skirt, grabs a traveling bag and goes out onto the porch.
Belle is waiting for her husband to bring her horse around.
Hurry up with that horse, Sam.
After a few moments her husband SAM STARR an Indian in white
mans clothing but wearing an Indian necklace and a hat of
some sort, comes around to the porch leading a saddled
It's about damn time.
Belle comes down the stairs.
                       SAM STARR
Don't know what cha so fired up in
a hurry for.


Cause it's just something I've got
to do before I change my mind.
                       SAM STARR
Ya could wait till he come git
you. Maybe take a couple days or
maybe he give you more free time.
Maybe he won't even come git ya.
He will...If you're the kind of
lawman that will haul your own kid
in what would make me think he
wouldn't come get me. And if you
think it, then you don't know him
like I do.
She ties her travel bag to the saddle, turns to her husband,
puts her hands on his chest.
You just take care of the place
and try not to do anything that
would get you into trouble while
I'm gone...We could lose
everything you know.
                       SAM STARR
I know, I know you will kill me.
She pats him on the shoulders and gives him a quick hug,
looks at him for a moment and then decides to mount. She
mounts, waves at her husband and takes off.

Sam scratches his neck as he makes his way to the porch.
People walking around as well as lawmen coming and going
into the building with outlaws.

Reeves slowly walking from the jail with no real purpose at
this time. Just making his way to eat something.
We see Belle riding toward the jailhouse. Some people
looking at her.

Reeves happens to look up and sees her. He stops as she
rides up to him.


I heard you were coming for me so
I brought myself in.
That's right nice of you, ta save
this ole man the trip.
Belle dismounts.
Well, you and I have a kind of
friendship, Bass and I'm just
showing you respect.
She hands him the reins.

Reeves takes them, studies her.
Well let's get this over with. I'm
here to face Judge Parker, again
for alleged horse thieving.
She presents her wrists for cuffs.

Reeves looks at her for a few moments.
I'm afraid this time, ya will be
servin' some time for that horse
Belle was afraid of that.
                       REEVES (CONT'D)
Well there ain't so much a hurry.
I was goin' ta git somethin ta
eat. Would ya join me, Miss Belle?
      (smiles slightly)
I'd be honored, Mr. Reeves.
They make their way towards a restaurant.
                       BELLE (CONT'D)
You and I could've been great
friends. We have so much in
Reeves leading the horse just looks at her with a smile.


                       BELLE (CONT'D)
Yes, well, we're smart, involved
with law...and we're both sharp
dressers in black.
They both LAUGH as they continue to walk to a small

Reeves ties her horse and they make their way in.

There are people coming out as they go in and they get
plenty of looks from the people.
They make their way to a table. It's very busy.

Reeves feels like he needs to show his badge in order to get
some of the onlookers to not pass judgment.

A few look away once they saw the badge.

They locate a table. Reeves pulls the chair out for Belle
and they both sit at about the same time.

A frantic waitress comes over to get their order.
Do ya know what ya'd like?
Just a couple a specials will be
fine with coffee?
Looks at Belle as in asking if that is alright with her.

She nods.

The waitress hurries off.
I don't know how much I can eat.
(touches her stomach) Not looking
forward to jail.
Shouldn't be too long. You'll be
alright. Maybe you'll consider
changin' some of you're old habits
while you're in there.


They both CHUCKLE.

Reeves notices a table of men looking at them and making

Reeves sits back, opens his coat a bit more to expose his
badge and guns.

They turn away to finish eating in silence.

Belle noticed the looks...She smiles, a bit embarrassed.
Reeves has just taken Belle in. He walks out of the jail
and down into the street. He is sad and thoughtful.

The street is busy with folks coming and going.

A young boy about seven stops and looks up at Reeves.

Reeves somewhat amused.
Say, ain't cha Bass Reeves?
Why yes, Sonny. What'd ya need?
The little boy is admiring Reeves, his height, his clothes
but most of all his guns.
I heard ya was the best lawman
around and the fastest too. Can ya
show me?
You lookin' ta be a lawman or a
bad man?
The boy thinks for a moment then looks back up at Reeves.
I ain't sure.
Reeves not happy with the response.


You best 'member this, then boy.
If'n you choose ta be bad an'
break the law, I'll hunt ya down
an' lock ya up.
The boy showing some serious thinking as he looks at Reeves.
I recon I'd try ta be a lawman.
That's better. Now follow me,
I'll show ya.
We follow Reeves and the boy to the back of a building where
Reeves looks around for something to shoot. He finds a few
cans and bottles and sets them up on the ground and walks
back several feet as the boy watches.
Now git back here.
The boy obeys as Reeves readies himself.

He draws both guns and shoots all items in a few seconds,
each bullet hitting its mark.

The boy is in awe.

While Reeves still holding his guns out, CAMERA circles
around him and when it stops we see he is now in his early
sixties and showing someone else how fast he can draw his

Reeves is wearing civilian clothes. He returns guns to his
I used ta be faster n' that, back
in the day.
The year is 1909, spring.

Reeves and a REPORTER are out on a front porch that is
somewhat enclosed, more like a sun-room, at his home in
Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Reeves a little feeble undoes his holster and places it with
the guns on a nearby table.


The young reporter, dressed in a suit and bow tie, has a
notepad and pencil in his hands. He watches Reeves as he
sits. Then finds a place to sit close by.

WINNIE, late fifties, comes out with a couple of glasses of
This here's Winnie, my wife...My
first wife passed on sometime
after I lost the farm...Did I tell
ya 'bout that?
Yes sir, you did.
That was a big blow ta my family.
Them lawyers an' court's took
'bout everythin' I had back
then...But it kept me outta
prison. Whoever thought they'd a
put me there was wrong, cause
justice was (long beat) justice
proved it was only a bad accident.
Winnie hands them their drinks.
Thank you, ma'am.
Now don't keep him too long. He
get's tired easily and needs ta
rest often.
Yes ma'am.
Winnie walks back into the house.

They take a sip of their tea. The reporter is quite excited
to be talking with Reeves. He sets his tea down onto the
floor beside him.

He looks at Reeves wondering what to ask him next or to just
let him speak.
I got this Brights disease. Same
thing that got ole Judge Parker,
(wonders for a moment) my good


                       REEVES (cont'd)
friend, Judge Parker...so she
worries 'bout me awful.
I understand sir.
So where was I? Oh, the deputy
marshal jobs was taken over by
state agencies so's I took a
police patrolman job here in
Muskogee a couple years back.
(long beat) Never no crime on my
beat for two whole years!
That's quite remarkable, sir.
Reeves looks as if he is getting tired. He rests his head
back, closing his eyes.

The reporter looks at his notes.
You got that?...That I's almost
hanged once, in Paris Texas? Those
danged folks was gonna hang me for
protectin' a lady. The daughter a
my masser back then.
He opens his eyes and looks at the reporter.
I just shot 'im...didn't kill the
bastard. So's they banned me from
goin' back ta Paris. It was Judge
Parker who ordered me back in
there ta uphold the law, (long
beat) when I was a lawman.
Yes, sir, I got that. Funny how
things work out in life, huh, sir?
Yep, funny how life does a man...
Reeves rests his head again, closing his eyes.
or how a man does his life.


The reporter jots down more notes then looks at Reeves.

Reeves seems to have dozed off.

The reporter picks up his glass from the floor and takes a
sip as he continues to look at Reeves.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
The following shows across the screen.
Bass Reeves was one of the first African American Deputy
U.S. Marshals west of the Mississippi. He was one of Judge
Parker's most valued deputies hired to tame the Indian
Territory and one of the greatest lawmen of the western

Reeves is accredited to arresting 3,000 felons. In self
defense, he shot and killed 14 outlaws. He himself was
never wounded.

In his honor, The Bass Reeves Memorial Bridge is located on
U.S. Route 62 crossing the Arkansas River between Muskogee
and Ft. Gibson, OK. and a bronze statue of Reeves on his
horse is located in Ft. Smith Arkansas.


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