Bass Reeves was a man of color. He was also a deputy United States marshal, charged with bringing back criminals who went into hiding in the Indian Territory. For thirteen years he was sided by Dave Adams, also a deputy marshal, and a white man.
Now, Bass and Adams are charged with a tough assignment: Bring in Bennie Reeves, Bass's own son, who has murdered his wife.
Yet Bass Reeves is a hard man, and he believes in justice. Wearing a badge is about all he knows, and he knows that Bennie has broken the law and must be brought to justice.
That job becomes even harder when Bennie joins with the notorious Cherokee Bob Dozier and his gang of renegades.
Based on a true story and one of the greatest lawmen in Oklahoma history, Johnny D. Boggs weaves a powerful story of justice, honor and redemption.
An Excerpt from Legacy of a Lawman
June 8, 1902
She slapped him hard across the cheek.
I saw it. Heard it, too, the sound so much like a gunshot that I instinctively pushed back my coat-tail, and gripped the butt of the double-action Smith & Wesson holstered on my right hip. Pushing open the gate with my left hand, I stepped into the cemetery, and waited, staring. What followed was the longest, hardest silence I had ever experienced until her lips started trembling, finally parted, and released a piteous,heartbreaking wail that had me longing for silence.
Her whole body shook, yet her cries stopped as suddenly as they had started. Rage took over. She flung herself at him, hammering his broad chest with tiny fists.
Bass Reeves just stood there, an unmoving mountain of granite, big black hat in his left hand, not defending himself, not saying a word, not even bothering to wipe away the spit sliding down his face through graying beard stubble. Exhaustion overtook her at last, and she turned away, saying something I couldn't catch, and staggered, likely would have collapsed had not a white-haired colored man and the Negro preacher come up at that moment, followed by four other Negro men. The preacher and the white-haired gent caught her, whispered something, and each took one of her arms, steering her toward the covered bench they had set up for the family alongside the freshly dug grave. That left the four men, and they didn't speak, just stared at Bass with malevolent eyes, telling him without words that he had no right to be here. They didn't move.
Nor did Bass.
I did. Those gents weren't armed. Who went heeled to a funeral? So I released the .44, and walked to Bass's side. For a moment, the four men turned their attention to me, and I pulled back my coat to let them see the badge pinned on my vest's lapel. I kept quiet, and they gave me the same look. I didn't belong there, either, only I knew it.
Another thing I knew: They might have challenged Bass Reeves, even though he wore a badge same as I did, but they would never try anything with me, a white man. Some things, even in Muskogee, you just don't do if you're a Negro. Assaulting a white federal lawman likely tops that list. ...
Over the years, I had saved Bass Reeves's life, and, undoubtedly, he had pulled my hide out of some fierce shooting scrapes with outlaws, but know him? I'm not sure anyone really knew Bass Reeves, least of all a white man like me. Come to think of it, we had never even shaken hands. Yet, next to Henrietta, I considered Bass Reeves my closest friend. That's why I stood beside him on that warm June morning in 1902. That's why I'd be with him when he made his toughest ride in the coming weeks, to make his toughest arrest.
Copyright 2011 by Johnny D. Boggs
Booklist: "Boggs, as usual, writes crisp, clean prose, using visually evocative turns of phrase at opportune moments. ... The story is compelling, with plenty of surprises and some adroit social commentary. A guaranteed winner for genre readers."
Roundup: "Boggs has done a wonderful job of bringing Bass Reeves to life. ... Legacy of a Lawman is the kind of Western bound to attract new readers to the genre."