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The show produced by Taylor Sheridan, the mastermind behind the Yellowstone universe, is none other than Lawmen: Bass Reeves. The upcoming series is based on the real-life U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves.
Originally titled 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, the much-anticipated series was created by Chad Feehan and executive-produced by Taylor Sheridan and David Oyelowo. A legendary historical figure, Reeves’ is believed to be the inspiration behind the iconic character The Lone Ranger.
Lawmen: Bass Reeves Release Date
Lawmen: Bass Reeves will premiere on November 5, 2023, on the streaming service Paramount+. The series will feature a total of eight episodes, with each episode likely lasting around an hour in length.
The first two episodes of Lawmen: Bass Reeves will be available to watch on November 5. The remaining six episodes are set to be released on a weekly basis.
After releasing a teaser trailer on August 9, 2023, Paramount+ released the first full-length trailer of Lawmen: Bass Reeves on September 7, 2023. The teaser and trailer give us a glimpse at the action-packed series, filled with plenty of gun fights, battles, and drama.
Lawmen: Bass Reeves Plot
The official synopsis on Paramount+ for Lawmen: Bass Reeves reads: “From executive producers Taylor Sheridan (1883) and David Oyelowo (Selma) comes the untold story of the most legendary lawman in the Old West: Bass Reeves. LAWMEN: BASS REEVES, follows the journey of Reeves (Oyelowo) and his rise from enslavement to law enforcement as the first Black U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi. Despite arresting over 3,000 outlaws during the course of his career, the weight of the badge was heavy, and he wrestled with its moral and spiritual cost to his beloved family.”
Born into slavery, Bass Reeves was forced to fight in the Civil War alongside his owner, George Reeves, for the Confederacy. Reeves managed to escape from enslavement and begin the next chapter in his life.
Upon escaping, Reeves seeks safety in Indian Territory where he is given shelter by the Seminole. He learns their language and becomes an expert shooter while also gaining valuable skills as a hunter and tracker.
After the legalization of his freedom with the Emancipation Proclamation, Reeves moved to Arkansas where he began a family and farm. A decade after settling down, U.S. Deputy Marshal Sherrill Lynn recruited Reeves to join his posse. Reeves then became a federal peace officer in the Indian Territory, where he went on to have a legendary career as a lawman.
“He found himself fighting on the Confederate side, so he’s already starting from an incredibly schizophrenic place, from an identity point of view. Then he escapes that situation and is living with Indigenous Americans and learns a lot of the skills that he goes on to apply to being a lawman from them, but also learns a lot about who he is outside of being enslaved,” said David Oyelowo.
Lawmen: Bass Reeves features a star-studded cast, with British actor David Oyelowo playing the role of Reeves. Oyelowo is an award-winning actor, best known for his roles as Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma (2014) and Peter Snowdin in Nightingale (2014).
Staring alongside Oyelowo is Dennis Quaid, who will play the role of Deputy U.S. Marshall Sherrill Lynn. Quaid, who has been acting since the 70s, has starred in numerous hits including Wyatt Earp (1994), The Parent Trap (1998), The Rookie (2002), and Footloose (2011).
Lauren E. Banks will play Jennie Reeves, the wife of Bass, and Demi Singleton will play Sally Reeves, their daughter. Donald Sutherland, best known for his roles in Pride & Prejudice (2005) and the Hunger Games franchise, will take on the role of Judge Isaac Parker.
Others to join the cast include Forrest Goodluck, Barry Pepper, Garrett Hedlund, Shea Whigham, Mo Brings Plenty, and Joaquina Kalukango. Goodluck will play the role of a young Cherokee man named Billy Crow and Pepper will play Esau Pierce, the leader of the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles.
Hedlund will play Garrett Montgomery, a posse man hired by Bass and Whingham will play Colonel George Reeves, the cruel man who enslaved Bass. Brings Plenty takes on the role of Minco Dodge, a friend of Bass, and Kalukango will play Esme, a former enslaved woman.
Yellowstone’s very own Cole Hauser is set to join the cast, but his role has yet to be revealed. It is unlikely that any actors from 1883 will reprise their roles for Lawmen: Bass Reeves as the series is no longer set to be a spin-off. While 1883 and Lawmen: Bass Reeves both take place around the same time, they are separate storylines.
Lawmen: Bass Reeves cast list:
- David Oyelowo as Bass Reeves
- Dennis Quaid as Sherrill Lynn
- Forrest Goodluck as Billy Crow
- Lauren E. Banks as Jennie Reeves
- Barry Pepper as Esau Pierce
- Demi Singleton as Sally Reeves
- Garrett Hedlund as Garrett Montgomery
- Donald Sutherland as Judge Isaac Parker
- Shea Whigham as George Reeves
- Mo Brings Plenty as Minco Dodge
- Joaquina Kalukango as Esme
Bass Reeves was a real-life deputy U.S. Marshal. He served as a federal peace officer in the Indian Territory, mostly in Arkansas and Oklahoma territory.
Reeves was born in July 1838 in Arkansas. He was born into slavery and at age eight, was forced to move to Texas.
Reeves was forced to fight with the Confederate Army by his owner, George Reeves. At some point during the Civil War, Reeves was able to escape, but it is unclear how or when.
According to various accounts, Reeves fled to Indian Territory, where he learned their languages and ways. Upon being freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, Reeves moved to Arkansas, where he had a farm until becoming a deputy U.S. Marshal.
Reeves worked as a federal peace officer in the Indian Territory for 32 years, arresting over 3,000 criminals without ever being seriously injured. He killed 14 people during his career out of self-defense.
Reeves was married twice and had 11 children. He passed away on January 12, 1910, from Bright’s disease.