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New Black Western, ‘The Harder They Fall,’ Pays Homage To Real-Life Figures Including Late, Great, Chadwick Boseman

New Black Western, ‘The Harder They Fall,’ Pays Homage To Real-Life Figures Including Late, Great, Chadwick Boseman

It’s been getting great reviews!

A new Black western, The Harder They Fall, pays homage to real-life figures, including the late, great Chadwick Boseman.

According to Essence, the new film was written, directed, and scored by Jeymes Samuel, a British singer and songwriter turned producer. The film was executive produced by Jay Z. It features stars such as Regina King, Jonathan Majors, and Idris Elba, which puts an updated perspective on a classic old western. They chose to pay homage to the legacy of Black cowboys by having the actors portray real-life characters. While the film itself is a fictional story of an outlaw committed to getting revenge on the man who killed his parents, the characters they played were not. 

The film also has a few easter eggs for avid movie buffs to catch, including one paying homage to the late actor, Chadwick Boseman, Okayplayer reports. Boseman passed away unexpectedly in 2020 after a private battle with colon cancer. This October, his alma mater, Howard University, and Netflix announced a $5.4 million scholarship fund in his honor

On Twitter, Netflix revealed that a red train that appears during one of the beginning scenes is titled “C.A. Boseman,” a nod to the Black Panther star. 

“Our favorite trivia from #TheHarderTheyFall might be the fact that the train is named after our forever kind, Chadwick Aaron Boseman,” Netflix tweeted.

These are a list of characters portrayed in the film and the actors who played them.

Jonathan Majors/Nat Love

Photo Courtesy of Essence

Jonathan Majors plays Nat love, leader of a group of outlaws on a hunt to avenge his parents’ death. The real Nat Love was born in 1854 into slavery; he and his family getting freed after the Civil War. Love worked on plantations near Davidson County, Tennessee, and became a killed cattle herder. His father passed away when he was about 15 years old, and by 16, Love had raised enough money to venture out on his own.

He earned the name “Deadwood Dick” in 1976 after winning $200 in a Dakota Territory cowboy contest, making a name for himself as a talented cowboy. He gave up the cowboy life after marrying his wife Alice in 1889. He spent time in Denver as a Pullman porter before settling in southern California and eventually publishing an autobiography, “Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as ‘Deadwood Dick,’” in 1907. His legacy as a skilled cowboy was known everywhere, and he passed away in California in 1921 at the age of 67.

Idris Elba/Rufus Buck

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Idris Elba plays Rufus Buck, the sworn enemy of Nat Love and the leader of the Rufus Buck Gang. The actual Rufus Buck was the leader of a gang of Black and mixed-race teenage boys who committed unspeakable crimes against settlers in the Indian Territory known today as Oklahoma.

18-year-old Buck, pictured center, had a gang that included Maoma July, Lucky Davis, Sam Sampson, and Lewis Davis. The gang caused havoc throughout 1895, eventually being captured in August of 1895 and hanged for their crimes on July 1, 1896.

Zazie Beetz/Stagecoach Mary

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Zazie Beetz portrays Stagecoach Mary, the love interest of Nat Love. In 1832, Mary Fields was born into slavery, also known as “Black Mary.” As a young woman, she worked as a groundskeeper at the Ursuline Convent of the Sacred Heart in Toledo, Ohio. Known for her short temper and ever-present guns, Mary was eventually kicked out of the convent.

In 1895, she began a job with the postal service as a route carrier, protecting the mail from thieves and delivering it regardless of weather conditions. She was the first African American woman to hold the position and only the second woman ever. She retired in 1904, passing away 11 years later at the age of 82.

Delroy Lindo/Bass Reeves

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Delroy Lindo, a veteran actor, plays Bass Reeves, the first Black man to become deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi River. Reeves was born in 1838 to parents who were enslaved in Arkansas. During the Civil War, he joined the Civil War and was freed in 1863. He eventually married Nellie Jennie, and the two started a family; Reeves served as a guide for U.S. marshals heading into the Indian Territory.

In 1875, he was appointed as a U.S. deputy marshall, arresting more than 3,000 criminals and killing 14 outlaws throughout his career. In 1910, he passed away from nephritis.

RJ Cyler/James Beckwourth

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RJ Cyler portrayed Jim Beckworth in The Harder They Fall. Beckworth is a member of Nat Love’s gang known for being a quick draw with his handgun. The real James Beckwourth was born into slavery in Virginia, eventually getting freed by his white father and apprenticing as a blacksmith. Not only was he a skilled fighter, but he also was a professional fur trader. In 1856, he published his memoir, The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth: Mountaineer, Scout and Pioneer, and Chief of the Crow Nation of Indians. He is still celebrated today as an early Black pioneer. 

LaKeith Stanfield/Cherokee Bill

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LaKeith Stanfield plays the world-renowned “Cherokee Bill,” a cunning and ruthless member of the Rufus Buck Gang. In 1876, the real “Cherokee Bill” was born Crawford Goldsby. He ran with the Cook Gang group, known for terrorizing the Indian territory from 1895 to 1896. At 18, Bill became an outlaw, robbing stagecoaches, banks, and stores and killing about eight men before being hanged in 1896. 

Edi Gathegi/Bill Pickett

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Edi Gathegi portrays Bill Pickett, another outlaw who is a loyal member of Nat Love’s gang. In 1870, the real Bill Pickett was born, Willie M. Pickett. He was a cowboy and performer who played in early films like The Bull-Dogger and The Crimson Skull. Pickett traveled around town performing at county fairs and rodeos and was posthumously inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1989. 

Deon Cole/Wiley Esco

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Comedian Deon Cole is seen in a more serious role, playing Wiley Escoe, the gold tooth, dynamite carrying, mayor of Redwood. Although there is not much known about the Real Wiley Escoe, what is known is that he was a lawman and a Black deputy U.S. Marshal. 

The Harder They Fall is streaming now on Netflix.

Photo Courtesy of Essence