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The Harder They Fall: The real-life cowboys and outlaws behind Idris Elba and Jonathan Majors’ new Netflix western

Fans have been waiting in anticipation for the release of Netflix’s The Harder They Fall, the new western starring Idris Elba, Regina King, and Jonathan Majors.

The flick, which is opening London Film Festival, sees the actors playing real-life figures from history, in a fictionalised story created by director and writer Jeymes Samuel, who co-wrote the screenplay with Boaz Yakin.

It follows outlaw Nat Love (Jonathan), who reassembles his former gang to seek revenge against the man who murdered his parents.

Real-life figures including Rufus Buck (Idris), Stagecoach Mary (Zazie Beetz) and Bass Reeves (Delroy Lindo) are part of the story, which is set to be released on Netflix in early November.

Jay-Z is producing the film and has reportedly written original music for it.

Nat Love – Jonathan Majors

Jonathan Majors stars as Nat Love (Picture: Netflix – Wikimedia)

Nat Love was an African-American cowboy and former slave in the period following the American Civil War.

He was born into slavery and learned to read and write as a child despite laws outlawing slaves to learn.

After the end of the Civil War, Love was set free and travelled to Dodge City, Kansas, where he found work as a cowboy.

His adventures became legendary, with the cowboy earning the nickname Deadwood Dick after winning a shooting contest in Deadwood City.

Then, in October 1877, he is said to have been captured band of Pima Indians.

He claimed he received 14 bullet wounds, but that they spared his life – and that he almost married the chief’s daughter during his time with them.

Eventually, he said, he stole a pony and escaped into West Texas before leaving the cowboy life behind him, settling down with his wife Alice, and writing his autobiography.

Love died in 1921 at the age of 67.

Rufus Buck – Idris Elba

Idris Elba takes on the role of Rufus Buck (Picture: Netflix – Wikimedia)

Rufus Buck was best known for creating the Rufus Buck Gang, an outlaw gang whose members were part African American and part Creek Indian.

He was joined by Lewis Davis, Sam Sampson, Maoma July, and Lucky Davis, with the gang members taking part in a crime spree during the summer of 1895.

After they committed numerous crimes, including murders and robberies, they were captured in August 1895.

They were sentenced to death and hanged on July 1, 1896.

Stagecoach Mary – Zazie Beetz

Zazie Beetz plays Stagecoach Mary (Picture: Netflix – Wikimedia)

Mary Fields, better known as Stagecoach Mary, was the first African-American female star-route mail carrier in the United States.

After being freed from slavery, she ended up living in a convent – but was later kicked out before getting a contract from the postal service.

Her job was to protect the mail on its route and deliver it and, according to her reputation as a woman who ‘liked hard liquor and gunfights’, it likely suited her well.

Fields’ route began in Cascade, Montana, where she was a well-respected figure, to Saint Peter’s Mission, and she drove the route from 1895 to 1903.

The love the community had for her was shown in plenty of ways – when Montana issued a law outlawing women from entering saloons, she received an exception, when her home caught fire in 1912, it was rebuilt by volunteers, and when she died in 1914 in Columbus Falls, her funeral was the largest the town had ever seen.

Bass Reeves – Delroy Lindo

Delroy Lindo will take on the role of Bass Reeves (Picture: Netflix – Wikimedia)

Bass Reeves was the first black deputy US. marshal west of the Mississippi River.

He is said to have arrested more than 3,000 criminals during his career without sustaining a single gunshot wound.

While he was born into slavery, after the Thirteenth Amendment was passed, he moved to Arkansas and farmed, before being hired by US marshal James F. Fagan as his deputy.

Reeves worked for 32 years as a federal peace officer in the Indian Territory, even arresting his own son for murder at one point (his son was convicted, served 11 years and then had his sentence commuted).

There’s no concrete evidence that Reeves inspired the figure of The Lone Ranger, but it’s thought he’s the person to have most closely resembled the fictional character, due to his dedication to the job.

Reeves died in 1910 at the age of 71.

Cherokee Bill – Lakeith Stanfield

Oscar nominee Lakeith Stanfield is starring as Cherokee Bill (Picture: Netflix – Wikimedia)

Crawford Goldsby, better known as Cherokee Bill, was an American outlaw responsible for the murders of eight men.

At the age of 18, he shot a man, before going on the run and meeting up with Jim and Bill Cook, who were mixed-blood Cherokees.

The trio later formed the Cook Gang, terrorising Oklahoma.

Goldsby was captured in 1895, attempting a jail break before he was hanged in March 1896 before hundreds of spectators.

It’s reported that, when he was asked if he had anything to say, he responded: ‘I came here to die, not make a speech.’

Jim Beckwourth – RJ Cyler

RJ Cyler will play Jim Beckwourth (Picture: Netflix – Wikimedia)

Jim Beckwourth was a mountain man who lived among the Crow Indians after marrying a series of Indian women.

He was known as a skilled fighter and is credited with the discovery of the Beckwourth Pass through the Sierra Nevada.

After meeting a journalist, Beckwourth dictated his memoirs, with his autobiography being published in 1856.

It’s reported that he exaggerated wildly while recalling his life story.

The Harder They Fall will be released on Netflix on November 3.

Credit: Original article published here.

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