Home Screenwriting Products Screenwriter Community Screenwriting Store
ScriptBuddy - Screenwriting Software for the Web

Screenwriter Community

Back to List of Published Screenplays
View/Leave Feedback

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 creek or stream close

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?
Feelin' mighty poorly right now.
Maybe we should camp. You look
like you need to 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 tries to
locate Yah-Kee and soon focuses on him as well as Yah-Kee
looking at Reeves.
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.
I'll rest a bit.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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
                                         CUT TO:
Reeves jerks awake. Realizes he needs to get to Yah-Kee and
believes he might even die if he doesn't. He is in such bad
shape that he begins to walk, 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. Reeves
pulls the string. It is attached to a small mole-skin bag.
Reeves sees that it is filled with pebbles, bits of roots
and tiny pieces of short hair like Reeves' tied with
Reeves spits quietly on the items, replaces them back in the
bag, wraps the string around it, rises to his knees and
tosses it into the creek.

Yah-Kee jerks awake and grabs his pocket.
Bass, you stole my conjure bag.
Yes, I did. And it's now sailin'
down creek.
Get it back. I pay you. I get
you whatever you want.
Why would I get it back, you ole
buzzard. I'm feeling better
Bag floating down the creek, begins to sink.
I can't conjure no more. My power
is 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 have been dead before we
reached Fort Smith.
Reeves nods.
I believe you, Yah-Kee, I believe
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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. He rubs his
horse affectionately around his neck and then makes his way
toward the house.
Reeves knocks 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.
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.


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.
It's been long and 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 and
pulls out a few pieces of paper with his name on them. She
pulls a flat can from the back of a cupboard and places them
in the can with several other notes in various sizes.
We follow Jennie as she collects his holster and guns and
carries them to the bedroom where she finds Reeves sprawled
face up on the bed. She puts his holster up and takes his
boots off. Covers him somewhat and lies down beside him.
She looks at him for a few moments. Reeves pulls her close
to him.
How's everything here? You and
the children?
Everything is fine here Bass
Reeves. Everything is fine. Rest
now. We can talk in the morning.
(beat) It's good to have you home.
Reeves smiles, rubs her arm. They rest.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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 shirt and
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,
NEWLAND. Benjamin looks at his wife, MABLE, about eighteen,
as he chops the wood. He doesn't trust his beautiful wife.
She has a tendency to flirt with other men.

His wife sitting on a stump watches them chop and stack.
Reeves walks out of the house, pants, undershirt, suspenders
and boots. The little ones running circles around him and
giggling as he makes his way toward his sons.

He passes Benjamin's wife, MABLE.

Their eyes follow each other.
Mrs. Benjamin Reeves.
      (smiles, slyly)
Daddy, Reeves. You shorly lookin'
Thank you, ma'am.
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. (beat) Know what I'm
Reeves is aware that his son has already had trouble with
his wife wanting to wander. Both still looking at her.
Yep, son. I know what you're
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? (beat) Taken' in
a lot of criminal's?
Reeves looks at Newland for a moment trying to remember his
Been good, Newland, been good. I
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.


Breakfast is ready, y'all, come on
Everyone starts towards the house.

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

Newland appreciates it more than Benjamin.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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 old Jim Webb killed that old
Negro preacher for letten' his
fire get outta control. It
reached over to the range where
ole Webb was workin'. I was givin'
the writ to go after him.
How'd ole Webb kill that ole Negro
He shot him dead after they argued
for a bit.
But why, Pa?
Some men are just that way, child.
Mean and mean to the bone. (beat)
So's I took Floyd Wilson with me.
We had to go deep in Chickasaw
Nation to find that ole critter
Webb. I decided we best make
ourselves look like just some
workin' cowpokes.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:


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.
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?
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.
I was tryin' to size up the
situation. I could tell ole Webb
was on edge.


Sit here, wait. Cook will bring
ya somethin'.
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 and he and Webb meander around, still
suspicious but have put their guns back in their holsters.
I figured I needed to ease old
Webbs' tension a bit. Let him
think I wasn't up to nothin'.
While we're awaitin' would it be
alright ifin' I was ta water the
horses a bit?
Webb GRUNTS his approval and follows Reeves out to the
horses. Reeves unties the horses and 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.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
The family looks on as Reeves continues his story.
I figured he'd fallen for my
innocent cowpoke manner. The cook
called for chow and Webb didn't
follow me back into the house
right away.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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 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.
As we was eatin' though, Webb was
talking 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.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
Reeves and Wilson sitting outside on a porch bench. Webb
standing beside Reeves. Smith standing a little ways away
from Wilson.
There we was sittin'. Those two
over us like a couple of buzzards.
(beat) I just started talkin'.
Reeves talking and motioning with his arms and hands. The
men look on.
I talked about everything and
nothing, figurin' they'd either
think I was crazy or they'd get
bored and let their guard down for
a few seconds. Then all of 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 and unable to move quick
enough. Smith startled, fires two shots at Reeves but
misses. Reeves turns and shoots Smith in the stomach. Smith
Handcuff this one.


Wilson handcuffs Webb as Reeves goes to check Smith.
                                         CUT TO:
Family still listening.
We throwd them in a wagon to take
em' back to 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
to get to 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.
Benjamin, Newland and Mable walk off.
Let's play like I'm Pa and you be
Webb tomorrow.


I wanna' be Pa!
You can't be, Pa, you're too
Reeves laughs loudly. Jennie gets up, lifts her dress and
sits on Reeves lap facing him. He puts his arms around her
and looks at her face.
We sure got a pack of childrens',
Jennie girl.
A mighty good pack, Bass Reeves.
They kiss. Then look at each other for a few seconds.
What drives you so, husband?
(beat) What makes you a good man,
and such?
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 and the
youngens' taken' care of this big
ole farm. (beat) And just knowing
I got a beauty ta come home to
means everything to 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 don't worry so much. I know you
is good at what you do out there
(beat) sides, don't think you're
gonna' leave all them youngens'
with me. Thems' half yours too,
ya know.


She gets off his lap quickly. He stands and chases her into
the house laughing. We follow them to their bedroom as they
try to quietly kiss and begin to enjoy some quiet love
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
Close shot of hot water being poured into Reeves bath by
Jennie. It's a ritual that they have performed many times
before. It is time for him to leave again. All the shots
are close and in 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.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
Again, close shots and in slow motion of Reeves finishing
getting dressed. He is very meticulous and neat in his
dress. He already has pants on. Puts his shirt on, tucks
it in, buttons it and then grabs his holster, puts it on,
buckles it good and checks his pistols and returns them to
the holster. Then does a quick draw. He picks up his badge
and pins it to his shirt, puts his hat on, grabs his
overcoat, brushes it off and carries it out of the room.
                                         CUT TO:
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.

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. He looks at his children.

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 children take good care of
your mama and mind her good now,
ya hear?
Yes Pa.
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.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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 it.

He arrives at a place close to the spring and 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
door. Reeves tips his hat as he makes his way into the
Miss Starr, ma'am.


Watcha want Marshal Reeves?
                                         CUT TO:
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, you know what I
do, so why do you ask such a
So you're not just passing through
or just visiting?
Well as a matter of fact ma'am,
this time I am. I know the
agreement we had.
The one about not bothering my
guests unless I allow you.
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 and reads it out
You a dead man, Bass Reeves. We
drawd that dead line but you keep
steppin' over.
You still collecting these? (beat)
You can't read them, so why keep
Reeves takes it back and puts in his pocket.
Just one of them things. Reminds
me how good a job I do and how mad
it makes them bad bastards.
Belle, I thought you was an
educated woman.
What are you getting at?
Just wonderin' how an educated
woman gets involved with crimes
and criminals. Seems like that
would be the outcome of a much
lesser woman.
Now you hold on right there,
Reeves. I was classically
educated (beat) and I can play the
piano prettier than any high
falooten' entertainer on the east
coast or the west.


Does your family approve of your
What family? (beat) You know it
was that damn ole civil war that
ruined my family and our business.
She begins to straighten things around somewhat frustrated.
I know it was good for you being
raised a slave and all but by God,
it ruined life as it was for us.
She looks at him.
Besides, them boys like Jesse
James and all have been my friends
since we were youngens. The others
just sort of came along later when
I got with Sam. (beat) I've got to
help my friends.
And the horse thievin'?
What horse thieving? There ain't
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
than all them 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 WHINNEY 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 thieving
Jamisons. You can have them if
you want Reeves.


As a matter of fact I do want em'.
Reeves hurriedly grabs the glass and bottle and moves to the
far table and puts his head down a bit. Belle gets behind
the bar as three JAMISON BROTHERS come in, dust themselves
off a bit, proceed to a table and ORDER Belle.

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 so called lady says you
I don't know, I don't remember.
Carl just looks at Earl.
Earl stands and takes Belle by the arm.
Well lady, we don't recollect, so
it's your word agan ours. Now why
don't you just go do your job and
get us a bottle of whiskey.
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'
to me?
The other two Jamison's look at each other, smiling and
Why don't you bring your ass over
here, Jamison. I have somethin'
for ya to look at.
He turns to look at Reeves. Belle relaxes her hands.
You talkin' to me niggar?
The Jamison's all laugh loudly.

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 lays them on the table.
I have some papers that's
addressed to you.
What are you talkin' about and why
you holdin' em'. What are they?
Warrant's boys, warrants for your
arrest and I'll be takin' all
three of you boys in to face Judge
Earl sits. They all relax. Belle backs off.
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 enough ta
move wrong gets to 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 them
at the Jamison's.
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 to read them. He looks at three different pieces of
paper. His lips move as he reads the names under his
breath. He also nods his head in a comical way as he reads

The others look on.
Yep, looks like them legal
warrant's to take us all in.
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
and let's all live to tell about
this tomorrow.
They oblige. Bass secures their hands with cuffs. Turns to


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. (beat)
Well don't be making your visits a
habit, Reeves. To much stress for
this lady. Too much stress and it
ain't pleasin'.
Ain't pleasin' at all.
All the men mounted and riding off. Reeves waves without
looking back.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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.
Why don't you go see if there's
anyone we're lookin' for in the


Cliff happily obliges as Reeves makes his way into the
                                         CUT TO:
Reeves looks around for someone and sees a head behind a

He walks slowly toward OLE JESS, who is asleep in a chair.
Ole Jess is in his sixties, little scrawny guy with glasses
and 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
Dang it, ya caught me nappin'. I
coulda' shot you dead. Ain't a
soul been in 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 of warrants too Ole Jess,
how ya doin'?
They move toward the counter.
                       OLE JESS
Ahhh, there ain't no business when
it gets this hot. Nobody
stirrin'. (beat) Ahhh, you looking
for anyone special Bass?
Well I got all these warrants.
He lays them 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. (beat)
Say I know something suspicious.
(beat) That one they call Snake
was here buying up more than just
one man needed. You know he runs
with that Dillard.
Bob Dillard?
                       OLE JESS
Yes sir, thad 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 the
train come through here headin' to
                       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 and I bet that pay
will be on that train.
                       OLE JESS
And you recon Dillard and em'
gonna try to get that payroll?
Could be Ole Jess, could be. Well
I best head out if I'm gonna catch
a thief. Take care Ole Jess and
thanks for the tip.


                       OLE JESS
Ahhh. Sure thing, Reeves.
Reeves walks out of the store, Ole Jess follows
                                         CUT TO:
Reeves looks around. Ole Jess behind him, rubs his chin and
wipes his forehead with a scarf.

Cliff making his way towards Reeves from the saloon.
No one in there for us, boss.
Did ya get an ale?
Sure did, boss. You should a
joined me. (nods at Ole Jess)
                       OLE JESS
Cliff Culvert, how you doin'?
Good, good except for this blasted
heat. Whew!
Cliff takes his hat off, runs his hand through his hair.
We'll stay her tonight. Catch
that Rock Island train. Ole Jess
gave a possible lead. I'll get
the rooms. You take care of the
horses and get another ale if
you're so inclined.
      (smiles big)
Sure thing Boss.
Cliff gathers the horses and begins to lead them to the

Reeves turns to Ole Jess to thank him before he walks off.


Thanks again, Ole Jess.
                       OLE JESS
Ahhh. Sure thing, Bass.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
Reeves, Cliff and their horses standing by a cattle car
waiting to board. TRAIN ENGINEER, heavy set in his fifties,
standing by them.
If anybody or anything tries to
stop this train, you blow the
whistle. Cliff and I will take it
from there.
I hope you are as good as I've
heard, Mister. I'm mighty tired
of having my life threatened.
Cliff begins to load the horses.
Might be nothin' happens but if it
does, you can be sure, you 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 to get Dillard before
but he got lucky, shot my horse.
He's been gettin' away for a long
time. (beat) Would sure like to
get him afor I die.
Cliff nods, looks out through the slats, as the train begins
to move.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:


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 and get the man
away from her. It quickly gets out of hand and Reeves
manages to get the mans gun and shoots him in the shoulder,
He is startled awake. After a moment the train WHISTLE
BLOWS. The men jump to their feet.
                                         CUT TO:
The train comes to a grinding halt over a bridge.
                                         CUT TO:
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 you 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.
Give me a minute, then you get on
top and 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.

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

He takes off again to the front of the train.
Get the train 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'. Our horses are
trapped over the water.
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.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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 think I'll go around this other
way. Maybe flush him out for ya.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
Cliff riding and looking for Dillard.
                                         CUT TO:
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 can't reach it. Goes for his
gun in his holster and realizes that his holster is missing.
                                         CUT TO:
Dillard with gun in hand. LAUGHS LOUDLY and slips a little
in the mud.


                                         CUT TO:
Reeves hears the laugh, rolls over, finds and 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.
                                         CUT TO:
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 and
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 of
What? That just ain't possible.
(beat) Of all the luck.
Luck, hell. It's them angels that
still watch 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 of 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.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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 (beat) ah, how'd you get
so smart and so good with a gun
and all (beat) I mean (beat)
Reeves studies Cliff for a moment knowing that he wonders
how a slave becomes a U.S. Deputy Marshall.
Well, I'll tell ya, Cliff, when I
was a little slave boy (beat) I
use to listen to my master and his
friends talk about women,
politics, tradin' and gunnin'.
They were always boasting or lying
they did this or that. I was
especially interested in the
gunnin' stories and the guns. Oh
I learned plenty about a lot of
things but I had the opportunity
to shoot my masters guns when they


                       REEVES (cont'd)
was gettin' ready to fight with
the Union soldiers.
Reeves checks on the clothes as Cliff watches.
Yep they never paid me no mind.
But I was learnin' plenty. I
learned about money too and how it
seemed to be the key to white mans
He squats back down and takes a drink of his coffee. Wide
eyed Cliff takes a sip of his also.
I wanted that freedom. I couldn't
understand why the color of my
skin made me different. (beat) My
mama use to say just cause
everybody's doing something don't
make it right.
What do ya mean?
Oh like folks owning slaves and
Reeves stands a bit frustrated.
You know I even fought with the
Confederates who was tryin' ta
keep us as slaves? I knew that
wasn't right. Just cause they all
was doing it. But I had no choice
at first.
Reeves looking outward. Cliff lowers his head.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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


I had to follow my master and
provide whatever he needed.
Sometimes that meant followin' him
into the battle fields where them
bullets were 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.
And them Indians was fightin'
right along side my master's men.
They was helping the confederates.
Heard they volunteered. Don't
know if they knew why they
volunteered or what they was
fightin' for but they did. (beat)
But they decided ta quit and go
home. They said it wasn't a good
way to fight. That if they didn't
die whole they couldn't get ta
their happy huntin' grounds. And
those cannons was blowin' them ta
pieces. (beat)
                                         CUT TO:
Reeves remembering the awful things he saw during that time.
I had talked ta them Indians when
they decided ta leave the
fighten'. And I decided I was
gonna go with em' when the time
was right ifn' they would allow
me. And they did. (long beat) I
knew I had to be free. All my
life I wanted it and it was so
close I could taste it. I didn't
know what it tasted like but...
We hear a branch snap. Reeves and Cliff at attention, draw
guns and take cover.


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.
You should've kept goin'. Dillard
wouldnt've come back for you.
Reeves and Cliff check their wounds and bind them as needed
and get ready to cuff them.
We wasn't coming to help Dillard.
We was coming back ta git you,
Reeves. To finally kill you dead.
Reeves and Cliff are quite amused as they look from the
outlaw and then at each other.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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
Hello Bass.
Marshal Fagan (beat) boys.
The others MUMBLE a greeting to Reeves as he finds a seat.
He 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 sure about that?
I know y'all were real close and I
hated to be the one tellin' you.
(beat) He wasn't even on duty.
(beat) They shot im' dead in the
street when he was just goin' to
pick up some supplies.
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
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.
A couple of you boys go check em'
in would ya, for Bass?
Two stand to go out. Reeves a bit angry now. Stands and
begins to pace a little. The deputies wait to see what he
has to say.
The bastards. (beat) 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
Bass. One man can't do it.
That's why Judge Parker hired us
all to do the job.
I know. I know so what are y'all
doin' sittin' around here? Get
out there and do your job!
Now Bass, calm down. We know
you're hurtin' right now. Can't
take it out on us though.
I know. I know. I'm sorry.


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 going to
the funeral and visit home for a
few days.
      (to Fagan)
I'll be back four days after the
funeral and I'll take all the
warrants you got then.
He looks at the others still lazily seated. The two at the
door go out.

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

See ya later Bass.
Reeves walks out. Cliff follows.
                                         CUT TO:
The two deputies are getting the outlaws off their horses
and check Dillard as Reeves and Cliff approach the horses.
Reeves pats Cliff on the shoulder then walks off, mounts his
horse and rides off.

Cliff looks on.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:


Reeves slowly riding up to his farm.

Some of the children see him approach.
Pa! Pa!
They run up to greet him and walk along side of him as he
gets closer to the barn. Dismounts and hands the reins to
How'd do, my youngen's.
                                         CUT TO:
Jennie comes out onto the porch and is delighted to see her

Reeves has made it to the porch.

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

He grabs her bottom and smiles as he passes her and goes
into the house. She follows.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
Reeves is dreaming of his time on the battlefields. It is
early dawn and there is gun fire 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 yells.

Reeves jerks awake to find himself in bed with his wife
beside him. He sits up, Jennie tries to comfort him.

They don't speak. They have been here before. Reeves
breathes hard, she holds him and strokes his arm. After a
few moments Reeves lies back down on his side wide awake.
Jennie holds him.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:


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 his legs. Jennie smiles.
You got a story to tell us Pa?
Stories are for later child.
Reeves pats him on the head.
Reeves begins to walk toward the barn. The little ones
follow. Jennie passes by them going toward the house.
I'll make breakfast.
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.
And a good mornin' to you...
I better get some wire and hammer
ta do some repairin' here.
The little ones run off to get the materials.


We'll get em' pa.
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. You doing alright
Hariet is shy with her dad.
Yes PaPa.
Uhm, where's the other one?
She giggles a little.
You mean, Sally? The other one
that is a little older than me
Ah, yeah. Where is Sally?
She's gone off walkin' towards the
creek ta meet up with her fella,
What? Cyrus ah, Miller? And
she's too young to be courtin' him
or any feller. Why he's got ta be
in his twenties.
Mills PaPa and she's old enough.
She's nearly sixteen and Cyrus not
near that old as what you think.
Well sixteen's too young, ya hear?
(beat) Don't you be gettin' no
ideas about ah courtin'. (beat)
How old are you now?


Nearly thirteen.
The little ones come back with a hammer and some wire.

Reeves is relieved with the interruption.
Will this do Pa?
Yeah but I'm gonna' fix that
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 and
remember 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.
                                         CUT TO:
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 that is there. The children
watch as he feels his horse from head to tail and checks his
legs and shoes.
                                         CUT TO:


A U.S. MARSHAL FAIR, fiftyish slowly riding up to the Reeves

Jennie sees him from the house.

Hariet alerts her father.
Pa! Pa!
                                         CUT TO:
Reeves stops abruptly with the horse, comes out of the
corral and goes to the door that leads out of the barn to
see why his daughter has called him in such a manner.
                                         CUT TO:
Reeves and the little ones come out. Reeves sees the rider
and after a moment recognizes him.

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, hoping
there's not been another killin'
of a good man.
The Marshal reaches to shake hands with Reeves. They shake.


                       MARSHAL FAIR
It ain't Bass. You're right.
(beat) Not good news. (beat)
Sorry ta say I've come ta take you
What? Me?
Jennie has heard the Marshal and hurries towards Reeves.
The children look on a bit afraid. Reeves takes Jennie into
his arm as she looks at the Marshal.
There's got to be a mistake.
                       MARSHAL FAIR
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 that piece of paper
might very well say what you say
it says with my name on it and all
but what I don't 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.
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 Fair.
The Marshal slowly moves his hand away from the holster.


That was over two years ago. A
bad accident. Why 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 and
have some breakfast first.
Jennie's been fixing it for some
time now and I'd shor like to eat
this meal with my family before we
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 to
Fort Smith.
Reeves asks Homer to take care of the Marshal's horse.
Boy, will ya let the Marshal's
horse get a drink before ya come
Homer takes the reins and begins to lead the horse to the
water as the others all go to the house.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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 children be good for ya mama.
I'll be home as soon as I can and
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. Take care.
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.

POV SHOT of Reeves and the Marshal riding off.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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 ta
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.
                                         CUT TO:
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 and feeling bad for Reeves.
                       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, now.
Reeves looking straight at Fagan as Fair takes the cuffs
Sorry Bass. You know we didn't
want to 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 fourties walks in. Fair walks
away, his job is done.


Jim's gonna help you get
comfortable. We're going to keep
you up here as a trustee. If we
put you downstairs with the
There would be a ruckus and
someone would come out dead, shor,
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.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
We can tell it's late evening due to the setting sunlight
and very few people around.

Reeves is 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 and
makes his way toward him.


Reeves turns to see Clayton. Reeves is tired of being
there, he has been in custody for about a month now.
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. Someone must have
it in for you good. I can't get
you bonded out for one. The
Grayson and others swear you
killed your cook in cold blood.
Why would I kill my friend, Leech?
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
something. (beat) I feel like I
need some help here in defending
You mean, you need more money.
Clayton bows his head.
I know you're the best and I trust
you, Mr. Clayton.
Clayton stands, Reeves follows.
Oh by the way, if I manage to get
bond for you, Marshal Mershen is
going to help by putting you up in


                       CLAYTON (cont'd)
a room and being responsible so
you don't have to stay 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. (beat) I'll do my
Reeves nods and smiles as Claton walks out of the building.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
Reeves 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. He gets up to go outside.
                                         CUT TO:
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
Bass, how you doing 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 and looks out toward the town


                       MARSHAL MERSHEN
Ahhh, Ft. Smith. The smell of a
big city. Sure different than the
smell of a farm, right, Bass?
Reeves bows his head.
                       MARSHAL MERSHEN
Come on Bass, everything will work
It's not that I'm not obliged to
ya, Mershen, cause I am. (beat)
It's been six long months. I
haven't seen my family, I've got
no money left. I've lost my farm.
My wife can't take all this. They
keep delayin' everything. (long
beat) It's shor takin' a toll on
Mershen looking Bass, feeling bad for him.
                       MARSHAL MERSHEN
Your day in court is coming up
real soon, Bass and I got a
feeling it'll all come out right.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
Day of the trial. It is already in session. It's noisy.
The camera shows that the room is packed with mostly men.
JUDGE PARKER, elderly man in his late sixties,
distinguished, white hair and 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
Order, order.
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 cook, dead
(beat) sir.
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!

The judge not happy with the witness.

Reeves quite sober.


                       JUDGE PARKER
Order! (beat) 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.
                                         CUT TO:
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
is no way they saw 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


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. (beat) I'm sayin'
it was an accident. There is no
                                         CUT TO:
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 saying, Bass Reeves shot
that guy down in cold blood. I
heard em' (beat) he and Reeves was
arguin' about a flee bitten dog
that was there. (beat) Poor guy,
he was just tryin' ta cook us
somethin' but he ended up dead
with his face in our grub. (beat)
We never did git ta eat that

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 straining 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 to talk.
This has turned into quite an
amusing trial so far. Long and
tiring also. (beat) Why don't you
tell us what really happened that
day, Mr. Reeves.
Well sir, we had been on the road
for a few hours and Jeb Grayson,
my prisoner had been sick for
quite awhile. We picked him up
that way and his wife was
following us and wouldn't leave.
We thought he might not make it
and maybe she could help with
whatever it was that was wrong
with him or whatever might happen.
So we stopped ta camp down a bit
and I let her tend to her husband.
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.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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.
I helped her into the wagon ta let
her tend to her husband.
She doesn't allow Reeves to touch her as she climbs into the

We see Reeves as he describes the following.
Then after a few minutes I started
ta check my rifle and maybe clean
it a bit. I still could use my
pistols if needed and we was
waitin' on Leech ta cook us
something ta eat. I like ta keep
busy so I started checking my
rifle and there seemed ta be a
shell stuck in the carriage. I
started messin' with it when I
noticed my dog going over towards
                                         CUT TO:


Leech had been feedin' the dog too
many scrapes and well the dog was
leavin' some awful smelling
(beat-searching for a proper word)
ummm, waste around. (beat)
The crowd amused again.
                                         CUT TO:
I merely yelled at Leech cause he
was a ways from me. I yelled at
him ta not feed the dog any of
them scraps we might have because
of 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
                                         CUT TO:
Leech yelled back at me something
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'
around and well he never did care
for my dog (beat) but I never
thought he'd a done what he did.
He grabbed my dog and all of a
sudden he poured some hot grease


                       REEVES (cont'd)
down its throat.
                                         CUT TO:
We see as Reeves describes what happened. We see the dog
run hurt after Leech had burned him.
I saw what he did. I couldn't
believe it. I jumped up ta catch
my dog ta see ifn' I could help
im' and as I did that, the 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.
                                         CUT TO:
And for some unforeseen reason
that bullet went straight out as
if it were trying ta hit a target
of its own accord (long beat)
Everyone is anxiously awaiting the rest of the story.
                                         CUT TO:
We see Reeves run over to Leech to help his friend. Both he
and Cliff on their knees trying to help him.
                                         CUT TO:


And it went straight into Leech.
(beat) and it killed him.
Everyone is quiet and after a moment Clayton looks at the
jury, then speaks.
Bass Reeves (beat) did you mean to
kill your friend William Leach?
No sir, I did not.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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'.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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 something.
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 them
Smith's are holed up. Give me
till tomorrow evenin'. If I'm not
back well then I probably met my
match and ain't gonna make it
You sure you wanna' do this boss?
Where ya headed?
About 20 miles in that direction.
There should be old lady Smith's
home where them boys of hers are
sure to be around. If they are,
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. You 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.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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 no harm, Misses.
Maybe just some water and 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 and 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' to live in this land. So I
am a bit of a thief.
A bit?
Yes Misses, but I don't mean you
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 him out
from under me. (beat)
He extends his arms.
So here I is, at your mercy. And
ifn' you have a spare horse ta
sell, I got a 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 and motions
with her rife for him to come into the house.
I'm thinkin' you is 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.
                                         CUT TO:
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. (beat) Ain't cha got a last
Well misses, not really. It was
my masters name and I don't like
ta use it, so I don't.
Nel stops for a moment realizing he was a slave at one time.
Oh, I see.
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 shor beats hunger.
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 (beat) my names Nel.
(beat) 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.
(beat) I love em' though. (beat)
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 (beat)
Oh no (beat) Nel (beat) I
understand and you got them boys
ta feed too I recon.
Well, they do more drinkin' than
eatin'. (beat) 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
someone they don't know.
You're probably right.
They are looking at each other when we HEAR HORSES RIDING UP
TO THE HOUSE. They look toward the door.
Ma! Hey Ma!
Nel goes to open the door. Reeves sits back a bit, puts his
hand near his holster in case he needs to draw his gun.
                                         CUT TO:
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.
We have a guest. Don't get..
Who is it?
Tom pushes past her as they all walk into the house.
                                         CUT TO:
The two men look at Reeves a bit surprised with their hands
on their guns, in case they need to draw. Nel moves through

Reeves stands slowly. Nods at the two.

Tom takes a drink of whiskey and 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.


Now mind your manners boys. This
is Buck. We've had an extended
talk and he's run into some
trouble with the law is all and
needs ta get straightened out
again. (beat) 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 right out from under me about
five miles back to the south.
(beat) So's I just ran and hid for
a spell.
South huh? (beat) Where ya
Anywhere there ain't too much law.
Tom still suspicious of Reeves. Everyone is silent as Nel
brings their food to them. She 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.
Yeah (beat) What else could he be,
Tom except a Negro?
Yeah, your right, Jack. What else
but a Negro.


They both laugh and begin to eat. Reeves sucks in a deep
breath, Nel looks on.
Misses Nel, do ya mind ifn' I
sleep in the barn tonight and
maybe you can sell me a horse in
the mornin' when I'll be movin'
He stands. The men keep eating.
Might be able ta sell ya the old
nag we got out there. She'll get
ya far enough out ta find a town.
(beat) If you got enough money.
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 you can bed down on.
Much obliged.
Reeves walks out the door. Nel hits Tom with a rag.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
Reeves lying down waiting for the Smith's to go to sleep.
After a few moments he hears the boys LAUGH LOUDLY.
Git ta bed you 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
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
Reeves quietly approaches the house and peers into the

POV SHOT we see Tom and Jack asleep on the floor.
                                         CUT TO:
Reeves enters the house and manages to quietly move around
the room, cuffing the men's hands together, gathering their
guns, 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.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
The sun just breaking through. Reeves still sitting in the
chair with guns on the two men. He cocks his guns.
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
hands. Nel comes through a door wearing a robe. Reeves
eyes look at her.
What the hell is this?
This Nel Smith is me Bass Reeves,
United States Deputy Marshall
arresting your two boys for
numerous crimes.


The men and Nel are extremely mad. Reeves stands 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 goes 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 unless you 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 you 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.
I guess you was, cause you just
pulled that trigger on me without
a moments hesitation.
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.
                                         CUT TO:


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 moving boys.
God damn niggar.
You're a sorry son-of-a-bitch
(beat) a God damn black ass
niggar. Who the hell are you
takin' my boys in. I'd a killed
you ifn' I knew who you was and
they'd a never found you Bass
Now Nel don't make me take you in
too. I'll leave ya here to your
home ifn' you stop calling me
names and such. Other wise I
gotta take you in too.
As Reeves rides on with the two men in front walking
unsteadily, Nel decides to back off.
I love you boys!
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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.
                                         CUT TO:


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 going 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 sits down. Bennett looks at Reeves for a moment then
looks at a warrant in his basket. He pulls it out and looks
at it. He looks at one of his other deputies that is seated
close by.

It is bad news for Reeves and both Bennett and the deputy
know what it is.

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 bows his head and sneaks out of the office. The
other 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 to pick him up and
none of us wanted to give you such
news. (long beat) He killed his
wife, Bass and he's gotta pay.
Bennie, oh Bennie, no.
Bennett lowers his head and after a moment moves over to a
window and 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.
I'll bring him in. (beat) He's my
responsibility. I failed him like
the rest of my family. (beat)
I'll bring him in alive or dead as
the law says.
                       MARSHAL BENNETT
You know where he might be?
Yeah, I got a good idea. We use
ta go to a cabin ta fish once in
awhile. He always did like that
place. I recon that's where he
is. (beat) Give me some time and
I'll bring him in.
Reeves turns to Bennett but not really looking at him.


Much obliged Marshal Bennett.
Reeves walks out of the jail.
                                         CUT TO:
Reeves unties his horse and leads him to the water trough,
lets him drink. Tears well up in Reeves eyes.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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. (beat) Benjamin. It's
your Pa. (beat) Bennie we need to
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 (beat)
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 and we need ta
talk about 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 messing around on me. I
meant ta kill the bastard I found
her with but he got away before I
could finish the job and I started
hittin' her. Can't believe I
killed, Mable, Pa. I loved my
Reeves begins to move closer.

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
hurtin' real bad. Let me help ya
through this whole thing. (beat)
Ya can't undo what ya did but it
don't have ta end like this.
(beat) I love ya son and it's my
fault for not showing 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. (beat) Killed my Mable, Pa,
my Mable.
I know ya wasn't meanin' to son.
(beat) Things got outta hand.
(long beat) The law says I gotta
bring ya in though and they's


                       REEVES (cont'd)
serious about it. Others would of
come and mighta killed ya but they
didn't want ta do that so they let
me come.
Benjamin looks at his father.
I'll die in jail, Pa. I know I
We can stay here a bit son while
ya get ready. (beat) While ya get
ready in your head ta do the right
Reeves puts his arm around his son and they sit looking out,
Benjamin still wiping tears from his eyes.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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.
                                         CUT TO:
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 and git
you. Maybe take a couple of days
or maybe he give you more free
time. Maybe he won't even come ta
git ya.
He will. (beat) 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 Bass
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.(beat) 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.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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.


                                         CUT TO:
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, to save
this old man the trip and all.
Belle dismounts.
Well, you and I have a kind of a
friendship, Bass and I'm just
showing you respect.
She hands him the reins. Reeves takes them.
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 the horse
thievin' (long beat) Well there's
not that much of a hurry now. I
was just goin' over ta get
somethin' ta eat. (beat) Would ya
care ta join me, Miss Belle?
I'd be honored, Mr. Reeves.
They make their way towards a restaurant.
You and I could have been great
friends. You know we have so much
in common.


Reeves leading the horse just looks at her with a smile.
Yes, well, we are smart, involved
with law (beat) 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.
                                         CUT TO:
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.

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 of 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.
(beat) A bit of a nervous stomach
right now. (beat) 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 laugh a little.

Reeves notices a table of men looking at Reeves and Belle
and making comments.

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 and smiles a bit embarrassed.
                                         DISSOLVE TO:
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 I am, Sonny. What do ya
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. (beat)
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'm not sure.
Reeves not happy with the response.
You better remember this, then
boy. If you choose to be bad and
break the law, I will hunt you
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
guns. Reeves is wearing civilian clothes. He returns guns
to his holster.
I use to be faster n' that, back
in the day.
The year is 1909, spring.

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

Reeves a bit feebly 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

WINNIE, late fifties, comes out with a couple of glasses of
This is my wife Winnie. (beat) My
first wife died sometime after I
lost the farm. (beat) Did I tell
ya about that?
Yes sir, you did.
That was a big blow ta my family.
Them lawyers and court fees just
took about everything I had back
then. (beat) But it kept me outta
prison. Whoever thought they'd
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 to
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,
my good friend, Judge Parker,


                       REEVES (cont'd)
(beat) so she worries about me
I understand sir.
So where was I? (beat) Well the
deputy marshal jobs was taken over
by state agencies so I took a
police patrolman job here in
Muskogee a couple years back.
(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, (beat) that I was
almost hanged once, in Paris
Texas? (beat) Those dang folks
was gonna hang me for protecting a
lady. (beat) She was the daughter
of my master back then. (beat)
He opens his eyes and looks at the reporter.
I just shot im', (beat) didn't
kill the bastard. (beat) So's they
banned me from going back ta
Paris. (beat) 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. (long beat)
Funny how things work out in life,
huh, sir?
Yep, funny how life does a man
Reeves rests his head again.


or how a man does his life.
The reporter jots down more notes then looks at Reeves.

Reeves is resting now with his eyes closed.

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.


Back to Top of Page
Leave Feedback
There is currently no feedback for this screenplay.

Back to Top of Page
Leave Feedback
You must be logged in to leave feedback.
Home    My Account    Products    Screenwriter Community    Screenwriter's Corner    Help
Forgot Your Password?    Privacy Policy    Copyright 2018, ScriptBuddy LLC.    Email help@scriptbuddy.com