One Man Inspired Both The Lone Ranger And Django

“I told you, I don’t shoot to kill. I want a silver bullet to be a symbol of justice.” —The Lone Ranger

In A Nutshell

The Lone Ranger and Django, the titular character from Django Unchained, are pretty far apart in terms of pop culture perception. And that’s not just because one of them is a white guy and the other is a former slave, either. Amazingly, it’s become widely believed that the inspiration for both of these fictional characters is the same man: Bass Reeves.

The Whole Bushel

The Lone Ranger and Django, played by Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained, probably couldn’t be farther apart in terms of perception in popular culture. The Lone Ranger was a lawman who was basically the Wild West’s first superhero, delivering justice to the wicked, while Django is a violent vigilante out for revenge in the bloodiest fashion possible.

That’s why it’s amazing that both characters are likely based on the same man, a guy named Bass Reeves, who was one of the first black lawmen in America. Reeves, a former slave, served as a deputy marshal for 32 years and was believed to have made over 3,000 arrests and killed 14 men during his career, all without ever once being shot himself.

Reeves was born in 1838, and after being freed from slavery he lived with a group of Native Americans. It was during this time he learned the ways of the Native Americans, including how to scout, that led many folks to believe he was the inspiration for The Lone Ranger. In addition, his exploits in taking down several groups of vicious bandits helped bolster the belief he was not only the inspiration behind the Ranger but also Django.

The similarities to the Lone Ranger also extend to the fact that, in order to track down and catch outlaws, Reeves became a master of disguises and would blend in with them in order to take them down, much like the fictional hero would in many of his stories. Reeves was also a large, intimidating man, standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing in with 200 pounds on his muscular frame, and he gained a reputation of being one of the most feared lawmen in the country. He was also reportedly such an incredible shot that he was banned from participating in any turkey shooting competitions.

Unfortunately, there’s no word on whether or not he had an eccentric and quirky Austrian dentist or a stoic Native American as a sidekick.

Show Me The Proof

Bass Reeves: The Real-Life Django, A Legendary African-American Marshal
BBC: America’s forgotten black cowboys
Was The Man Behind ‘The Lone Ranger’s’ Mask A Black Man?
Bass Reeves, the most feared U.S. Deputy Marshal

  • Rijul Ballal

    But what creature could possibly take credit for inspiring Quentin tarantino ?

    • Timothy53

      Thank you, I wondered that myself. He seemed to tell me all about the similarities between the Lone Ranger and Bass Reeves, but seemed to leave out the similarities between Django and Bass Reeves … except they were both born slaves and they were Black. That’s like telling me to find someone in Wrigley Field on a summer afternoon because they’re wearing a Cubs hat.

  • Kaydot Mcdiamonds

    Django is one if thee best movies of all time. Quintin did an outstanding job!

    • Exiled Phoenix

      You realize if djangos mentor had just bought old boys woman as a sidebar with the big one… the rest of the movie would’ve been unneccesary.

      • Kaydot Mcdiamonds

        Lol that’s true but I’m glad he didn’t. The finale was awesome

        • Exiled Phoenix

          Lol, right!

  • Hadeskabir

    I didn’t watch the old Lone Ranger tv series, but I watched the movie. And even tho it had bad critics, it was a good movie. Django was a marvelous movie too. After reading this I feel like watching Django again. It’s incredible the amount of famous deputies and sheriffs you had in the wild west. Sad part its that most of them arrested people because fore each arrest they received money. So corruption was huge.

  • Jum1801

    Oooh, I can do this too! “John Q. Throckmorton was the inspiration for Superman: he was an orphan, and he grew up to be a strong man. Plus he had excellent eyesight, so that obviously was the source of X-ray vision. And it is thought possible that many could have perhaps wondered if he was born on the planet Krypton. And might have been able to fly.”

    See? It’s easy, and fun! Just say stuff was so! After all, it’s Listverse, where the idiots go to “learn” stuff.

    • keyserSOZE

      Wow. All of that hard work at douche school has really paid off for you.

      • Jum1801

        Thanks for proving my point.

    • Btn50

      What a dick.

      • Jum1801

        See above. And thanks.

  • Errkism

    What a badass.

  • pronto

    I’d like to see a movie on Bass Reeves. Unfortunately whenever a studio or network does make a western,which is a rarity,they always resort to the same tired old sagas.Wyatt Earp(Kevin Costner film),Jesse James(Brad Pitt film)& so on & so forth. I’ve seen enough films about them,as well as Billy the Kid & other famous & infamous wild west characters.How about someone new for a change? I have a book on wild west characters.Fascinating stories but their names are hardly known.