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Bass Reeves movie in development

The film about the Fort Smith-area lawman could be shot in the River Valley.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Legendary U.S. Marshal and River Valley native Bass Reeves will be the subject of a new movie developed by TGE Inc.

TGE says the film about the Fort Smith-area lawman could be shot in the River Valley.

“It’s been a long time coming for someone to embrace the true story of the real wild west by bringing to the big screen the story of Bass Reeves,” Fort Smith Mayor George McGill said. “It’s an American story and the true definition of true grit. But even more importantly it’s a story of a man of character who served the U.S. Marshals like none other.”

The River Valley Film Society will have a hand in the development of the film.

“The River Valley Film Society is thrilled to be part of the development process of TGE’s Bass Reeves movie,” said Dr. Brandon Chase Goldsmith, River Valley Film Society president. “TGE’s production will be a historic moment, transforming Fort Smith and the River Valley’s creative economy. Our area’s talent and natural scenic resources provide the ingredients needed to cultivate a regional film industry and I believe TGE’s Bass Reeves project will be the catalyst launching a new artistic frontier. Giovanni Jackson and his team shared their vision at the inaugural Fort Smith International Film Festival and TGE is turning those dreams into a reality.

The movie is still in the early stages of development, and nothing has been filmed.

J Michael Smith, a Fort Smith native and TGE Inc. CFO, says TGE made the decision after executives were on a guided tour of Fort Smith, including a stop at the Bass Reeves statue downtown. Smith says a few calls were made, and within hours the ball was rolling.

Born a slave in Crawford County, Arkansas, in 1838, Bass Reeves became the first Black U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi River in 1875. He is credited with the arrest of over 3,000 outlaws.

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