‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ Ending Explained & Finale Recap: How Did Reeves Die?


Lawmen: Bass Reeves charts the fascinating journey of a black man who fought the odds, made a name for himself in a society that only aimed to oppress black people, and, in the end, understood what the real meaning of freedom was. Deputy Marshal Reeves was dedicated to justice, and he was one of those who knew that it came at a cost and that it was not very easy to walk on the righteous path. Reeves was skeptical at the beginning when Sherrill Lynn came to him with an offer, but his financial condition was such that he didn’t have much of an option. He accepted the job, and from there, one after the other, he caught many perpetrators and made many of them meet their fateful ends.

But with time, Reeves started to realize that something strange was happening with him. He no longer knew if he was on the right path or not, and at times, when he looked at himself in the mirror, he couldn’t tell the difference between his actions and those of the criminals. Around this time, he met Esau Pierce, and the man told him with a lot of conviction that he was delusional to believe that he was the flagbearer of justice, as, in reality, he was a monster just like him. Those words messed up Reeves, and he just couldn’t get rid of that feeling. At the end of the previous episode, Reeves decided that he had had enough and that he needed to settle some scores with Esau Pierce, aka Mr. Sundown. He wanted to know what was happening in his territory and if there was any truth behind the myth that he was a cannibal. Also, Reeves hadn’t forgotten about Curtis and how the poor boy died in his hands after he was shot by Esau Pierce. In order to take revenge, Reeves, Billy Crow, and Sherrill Lynn commenced their journey, not knowing if they would even return. So, let’s find out what Esau was doing in his hidden territory and if Bass Reeves was able to get rid of his guilt and redeem himself.

Did Esau Pierce practice cannibalism?

Reeves found a man who knew where Esau Pierce lived. Sherrill tortured him, but he didn’t open his mouth. But when Reeves came with his pistol, the man realized that it was better if he told him the address, because he could see in Reeves’ eyes that he was capable of killing him. Reeves told Sherrill to leave the man, but Sherrill went against his orders and killed him. Reeves reached Glen Rose, where Pierce had created a sort of empire for himself, and at the entry gate, all his weapons were taken from him. The men guarding the entrance told him that the rules of Pierce’s territory were like gospel, and they couldn’t be bent for anybody. Reeves went inside, and he told Pierce that he had come to collect his money as he got paid less for the prisoner, Jackson Cole, since Pierce had informed the authorities that he wasn’t given the custody of the man, but he only got his boots. It was the norm that when the body of the fugitive couldn’t be procured for some reason then the deputy was paid less.

Reeves, at the diner table, got straight to the point and asked him what he was up to and if there was any truth behind the legend of Mr. Sundown. So basically, Esau kidnapped black men, brought them to his territory, tortured them till the point their spirits broke, and then they swore their allegiance to him. He made them work on his cattle farm, and his defense was that those men were sentenced by the court anyway, so, he was doing a favor by saving their lives. Reeves told him that slavery was as bad as getting killed and so he didn’t know if his defense was valid. Reeves had been a slave once, and he knew what it did to him. He didn’t wish for that kind of life for anyone, and at that juncture, he didn’t know if he should fight Pierce to free them all or stay quiet and leave his premises. But before Reeves could take any decision, Esau Pierce revealed his devilish plan, something that the former hadn’t expected at all.

What did Esau want to do to Reeves?

Esau Pierce wanted to take Reeves into his custody and make them work on his farm. Reeves anticipated it, as he knew Esau was up to something. It was probably at that moment in Lawmen: Bass Reeves Episode 8, that our deputy marshal realized that he and Esau were not alike. Bass Reeves was judicious enough to tell Billy Crow and Sherrill Lynn to come to his rescue if the need arose. Esau’s men were going to chain Reeves when Billy shot one of them from a distance, and the former was shocked to see that Reeves had gotten the better of him. There was chaos after that, and Bass made sure that he killed each and every man who ordered it to be their birthright to oppress black men. Esau Reeves ran for his life, but Reeves was able to get hold of him. Reeves avenged the death of Curtis, and he shot Esau Pierce dead. Sherrill Lynn got stuck in one of the traps laid down by Esau’s men in the woods, and he killed himself as he knew that he wouldn’t be able to get out of there. Reeves freed all the black men working at Esau’s territory, and he took all the money that Esau had stashed in his safe. He also found an expensive gem kept in his locker, and he gave it to Billy Crow so that he could go and marry Calista. Billy and Reeves then headed back to their home, feeling grateful about the fact that they would get to be with their family once again.

Was Reeves able to get rid of his guilt?

At the end of Lawmen: Bass Reeves, when the deputy marshal released those black men from Esau’s captivity, he felt as if someone had lifted a huge burden from his shoulders. Jackson Cole told him that maybe nobody would get to know about it, but Bass Reeves had created history that day. Reeves’ conscience no longer bothered him, and he not only fought his demons but proved to himself that he was a good man. He went back to his family, and he told Jennie that he was whole again. Jennie needed him more than ever. As in Lawmen Bass Reeves season 1’s ending, she once again encountered the fears of her past when her old master came to meet her. The lady had the audacity to tell Jennie that she should send her kids to work for her, as they would be safe with her. Jennie slapped the lady and told her to leave immediately. Jennie remembered all the times when she didn’t even show an ounce of sympathy towards her, and every black person was treated worse than an animal. Bass Reeves was a content man, and the entire journey changed and gave him a much-needed perspective. In reality, Bass Reeves died of Bright’s disease, and in 2013, his life work was honored as he was indicted in the Texas Trial of Fame.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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