The Lone Ranger Was Real, And He Was African-American The story of the Lone Ranger is far more legend than reality. Most people know that. Most people also know that the portrayal of Tonto as the Lone Ranger’s sidekick is often stereotypical and racist. Tonto’s fictionalized story was far from the only racist part of the adaptation of the Lone Ranger’s life. The Lone Ranger was very real, but he was not the white man seen on movies and TV. The Lone Ranger was an escaped slave named Bass Reeves. Reeves was born into captivity in 1838. He was given the name of his owner, William Reeves. Bass Reeves served as a valet for his master’s son during the Civil War. During a game of cards with his owner, Reeves won, which caused his owner to beat him. Reeves didn’t just take it, though. He beat the man back and depending on what you read, either killed him or almost killed him. He knew that he would have to escape, so he went to what is Oklahoma today and found a home with the Seminole and Creek American Indians. Eventually, he moved to Arkansas where he settled down, got married, had 10 children and his knowledge of the Indian territories and the fact that he spoke several native languages landed him a job as the first African-American U.S. Marshal. Reeves never learned to read, so he memorized his arrest warrants. He was never known to make a mistake. Unlike most of his African-American brothers, Reeves was treated with respect and his legend, even as just a U.S. Marshal, lives on. There is a monument dedicated to him. There was a movie made in his honor .