Bass Reeves Showrunner Explains Why It Isn’t A Yellowstone Spinoff, Clarifies Series Timeline


  • Lawmen: Bass Reeves is not a spinoff of Yellowstone and is not part of the Yellowstone universe.
  • The show, debuting on November 5 on Paramount+, follows the life of Bass Reeves, the first Black U.S. Marshal in the American West.
  • The events of Bass Reeves take place before 1883, clarifying its timeline and setting it apart from the Yellowstone prequel series 1883.



Lawmen: Bass Reeves creator and showrunner Chad Feehan explains why the upcoming series is not a Yellowstone spinoff despite previous suggestions that it was. Executive produced by Taylor Sheridan of Yellowstone fame and lead star David Oyelowo, the two-time Emmy nominee plays the titular character Bass Reeves, who became the first Black U.S. Marshal in the American West. Although the show was initially announced as a prequel to 1883, it has since been clarified that Lawmen is not part of the Yellowstone universe.

In comments to TVLine, Feehan clarified the status of the upcoming Oyelowo drama. Feehan said that Lawmen: Bass Reeves, which debuts November 5 on Paramount+, was initially discussed as a Yellowstone spinoff. However, that changed for Feehan once he learned more details of Reeves’ life, clarifying that the events of Bass Reeves precede 1883. He said:

“[It was] an idea that we briefly talked about. But for me, once I learned some of the things I didn’t know about Bass’ life, and decided where we wanted to start the story and where we wanted to end the story, it preceded 1883. [The show] takes place from, roughly, 1862 to 1877.”

So, What Is Lawman: Bass Reeves?

Lawmen: Bass Reeves Official Teaser Poster

The Paramount+ show, which was filmed in Texas, promises to bring “the legendary lawman of the wild west to life.” It sheds light on the true story of Bass Reeves, regarded as “the greatest frontier hero in American history.” He worked during the post-Reconstruction era in the role of a federal peace officer in the Indian Territory, capturing thousands of the most dangerous criminals without ever being wounded. Along with the actors featured above, the drama series also includes Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games) and Garrett Hedlund (Troy) in guest roles.

In terms of the main cast that stars alongside Oyelolwo, those names include Lauren E. Banks as Reeves’ wife Jennie, Shea Whigham as George Reeves, Barry Pepper as former Confederate soldier Esau Pierce, Demi Singleton as Reeves’ daughter Sally, Forrest Goodluck as Billy Crow, and Dennis Quaid as Sherrill Lynn. Somewhat complicating the Yellowstone matter is that Mo Brings Plenty, who has appeared on the neo-Western, will also star in Lawmen: Bass Reeves, though he will play a new character.

Related: All 10 Actors Who Played Bass Reeves In Western Movies & TV Shows

Lawmen: Bass Reeves puts the spotlight squarely on the titular character, who has been played by actors such as Colman Domingo, Harry Lennix, Delroy Lindo, and Isaiah Washington. Now, for the first time, the notable name in U.S. history will be at the center of his own miniseries that may well benefit from not being tied to Yellowstone.

Source: TVLine

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