Hell on the Border


Hell on the Border

The Bass Reeves Trilogy, Book Two

Sidney Thompson

The Bass Reeves Trilogy Series

192 pages
1 photograph, 1 map


April 2021


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

April 2021


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

April 2021


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Adapted for the Paramount+ miniseries Lawmen: Bass Reeves, directed by Taylor Sheridan and starring David Oyelowo

2022 Oklahoma Book Award Finalist for Fiction
2021 National Indie Excellence Award Finalist

Set in 1884, Hell on the Border tells the story of Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves at the peak of his historic career. Famous for being a crack shot as well as for his nonviolent tendencies, Reeves uses his African American race to his strategic advantage. Along with a tramp or cowboy disguise, Reeves appears so nonthreatening that he often positions himself close enough to the outlaws he is pursuing to arrest them without bloodshed.

After a series of heroic feats of capturing and killing infamous outlaws—most notably Jim Webb—and an introduction to Belle Starr, Reeves finds himself in the Fort Smith jail, charged with murder. This second book in the Bass Reeves Trilogy investigates what really happened when Reeves made the greatest mistake of his life on the heels of his greatest achievements.

Author Bio

Sidney Thompson teaches creative writing and African American literature at Texas Christian University. He is the author of Follow the Angels, Follow the Doves: The Bass Reeves Trilogy, Book One (Bison Books, 2020), You/Wee: Poems from a Father, and Sideshow: Stories, winner of Foreword Magazine’s Silver Award for Short Story Collection of the Year.


"If you've read and enjoyed Follow the Angels, Follow the Doves, you won't want to miss Hell on the Border. And if you haven't read them yet, this is a good time to start. Thompson . . . writes with a folksy feel, as if the story is being told by one of the people of the day, perhaps by the light of a campfire as cicadas sing from surrounding trees and a horse nickers nearby."—Glen Seeber, Oklahoman

"Western action and justice certainly figure in Hell on the Border, but they are relayed here with a nuanced lyricism, more Larry McMurtry than dime novel. . . . Bass Reeves, as Thompson portrays him, is a complex, compelling character, a fully evolved hero."—Michael Ray Taylor, Chapter16.org

“Gripping, hard-to-put-down.”—Sean Clancy, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

“A finely calibrated trilogy about a subject who couldn’t be more necessary to our moment. The voice with which Thompson pursues Bass Reeves, at once austere and ornamented by its historical circumstances, is just one of the book’s many enviable achievements.”—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead

Hell on the Border imaginatively reclaims the life of pioneering African American U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves. . . . This may be a book set in the historical past, but it contains stories and lessons we should contemplate today.”—W. Ralph Eubanks, author of The House at the End of the Road

“In Sidney Thompson’s hands, this story of a remarkable life shows us that Oklahoma was always Indigenous land, Black lives have always mattered, and the white supremacy that seeks to squash Black brilliance still must be destroyed. With masterful structure, pacing, and language, this historical fiction reveals the truth of our present moment. . . . If you finished the first book desperate to see Bass Reeves free, in this book you will watch him become legendary, and you’ll end this novel dying to know what happens next.”—Erin Stalcup, author of Every Living Species

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Note on Language
Part 1. Before
1. The Coldirons
Part 2. During
2. Tick Tick
3. Tamales
4. Twelve
5. Scrambled Eggs and Brains and Ripe Cantaloupe
6. The Dead Line
7. There Were Cattle
8. Webb Again
9. High Horse
10. Somewhere at Sea
11. Tock Tock
12. A Deeper Darkness
Part 3. After
13. A Wake
14. A Tail
15. A Hole
16. The Blackness
17. A Case


2022 Oklahoma Book Award Finalist for Fiction
2021 National Indie Excellence Award Finalist

Also of Interest