Westerns have always been popular, but there’s been a recent resurgence in their prominence in the world of TV, with shows like Yellowstone and 1883 leading the charge. Now, there’s a new series set to premiere soon, and it looks like a good one.
Lawmen: Bass Reeves is an upcoming Paramount+ original, and it’ll follow the life and story of the real-life Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves who patrolled the West during the 1800s. And while Reeves is a legendary figure (his obituary even stated that “no history of frontier pay in Indian territory would be complete with no mention of Bass Reeves, and no tale of the old days of “Hell on the Border,” could be told without the old deputy marshal as a prominent character), his story is still mostly unknown to the masses.
“Within a very cursory Google search, I couldn’t believe I didn’t know who he was—and that a myriad of TV shows and films hadn’t been made about him already, considering the legendary nature of what he had done,” David Oyelowo, actor and executive producer told Vanity Fair.
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If you’re curious about the story of Bass Reeves and the upcoming TV series, keep reading for some key facts about the show.
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What will Lawmen: Bass Reeves be about? Is it based on a true story?
Lawmen: Bass Reeves is based on the real-life story of Bass Reeves, who was born into slavery in 1838 before gaining his freedom and becoming the first Black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi River. He worked mostly in what is now Arkansas and Oklahoma, and he was known for his quick draw, elegant dressing, and courteous manner. Reeves is said to have arrested more than 3,000 outlaws during his 32-year career without ever being seriously wounded. The character of Reeves has appeared in some TV shows and movies before, namely The Harder They Fall and Timeless, but this appears to be the first time Reeves is getting his own dedicated series.
Who’s in the Lawmen: Bass Reeves cast?
The title character of Bass Reeves will be played by Oscar-nominated actor David Oyelowo, who is also an executive producer on the show. Dennis Quaid will play Sherrill Lynn, a Deputy U.S. Marshal, while Forrest Goodluck will star as Billy Crow, a young Cherokee man who joins Reeves’ group. The cast will be rounded out with Demi Singleton, Donald Sutherland, Garrett Hedlund, and Dale Dickey. Shea Whigham, who audiences recently saw in Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, will be part of the show’s recurring cast.
How is Taylor Sheridan involved with Lawmen: Bass Reeves?
Taylor Sheridan, who previously co-created Yellowstone, 1883, and 1923 (in addition to non-westerns like Tulsa King, Mayor of Kingstown, and Special Ops: Lioness), is a writer and executive producer on Lawmen: Bass Reeves.
Oyelowo had been thinking about a Bass Reeves series since 2015, but it had some trouble getting off the ground until he met with Sheridan and they decided to partner together.
“Paramount+ didn’t exist at that time… we went out with the project twice over the course of about two to three years, and the first time around, the entire industry said, ‘No, we’re not doing that because no one’s doing Westerns.’ And then the second time around, the entire industry said, ‘No, we’re not doing that because everyone’s doing Westerns,’” Oyelowo explained. “[Then] Taylor came along and indisputably reimagined and reinvigorated the Western. I talked to him, and he is a real historian around this stuff. At that point, I’d been reading up on Bass Reeves for quite a while—and [Sheridan] was the only person I’d spoken to who knew at least as much, if not more, as I did. His passion for it just started making it feel like this might be a great collaboration.”
Is Lawmen: Bass Reeves an 1883 spinoff?
In 2021, a Bass Reeves series was announced, and it was going to be a limited series, with the original title of the show being 1883: The Bass Reeves Story.
When will Lawmen: Bass Reeves premiere on Paramount+?
The show will premiere in late 2023.
How many episodes of Lawmen: Bass Reeves will there be?
The first season of Lawmen: Bass Reeves will have eight episodes.
Temi Adebowale was previously an Editorial Assistant at Men’s Health, covering shows like Survivor, Peaky Blinders, and Tiger King. Prior to her entertainment work at MH, she was Newsroom Fellow, writing news stories across Hearst Digital Media’s brands. Temi likes Rihanna, the StairMaster, and tacos.