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Lawmen: Bass Reeves Release Date, Cast, Trailer, Plot And More Details

The Taylor Sheridan Universe just keeps growing and growing. The man elected a mayor of Kingstown, crowned a king of Tulsa, and took us to the Yellowstone ranch in three different centuries. And in 2023, he's already sent us on a top-secret mission to the Middle East with the Zoe Saldaña spy thriller "Special Ops: Lioness." Of course, if you prefer your Sheridan shows set in the Old West, don't worry — "Lawmen: Bass Reeves" is on the way.

One of the greatest law enforcement officers in U.S. history, Bass Reeves has been the focus of a mini pop cultural boom. Delroy Lindo played a fictionalized version of the marshal in "The Harder They Fall," his story factored into the plot of HBO's "Watchmen" series, and he even landed his own action flick with "Hell on the Border," where he was portrayed by David Gyasi. But now, he's getting his own proper prestige show from Sheridan, and here's everything we know so far about the upcoming Western series.

When will Lawmen: Bass Reeves be released?

"Bass Reeves" was first announced back in September 2021. Many assumed this would be a standard series, exclusively following the life and times of the titular marshal. While Season 1 will indeed focus on Reeves' real-life adventures, we've since learned the show has been turned into an anthology series titled "Lawmen." So, while Season 1 will revolve around Bass Reeves, future seasons will highlight other lawmen from history.

Under the new title of "Lawmen: Bass Reeves," the series is coming to us courtesy of David and Jessica Oyelowo's Yoruba Saxon production, Taylor Sheridan's Bosque Ranch Production, 101 Studios, and MTV Entertainment Studios. We also know that we're in for eight episodes of Wild West goodness. But when exactly will the new anthology series ride onto the small screen? "Lawmen: Bass Reeves" will hit Paramount+ — which is home to the mass majority of Taylor Sheridan's work — on November 5, 2023.

What is the plot of Lawmen: Bass Reeves?

While names like Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickock have been bandied about for decades, Bass Reeves is possibly the best and bravest lawman in Wild West history, and the upcoming Paramount+ series plans to tell his incredible story. As the official plot description for Season 1 of "Lawmen" puts it, "Reeves, known as the greatest frontier hero in American history, worked in the post-Reconstruction era as a federal peace officer in the Indian Territory, capturing over 3,000 of the most dangerous criminals without ever being wounded."

Born a slave, Reeves eventually escaped and found freedom living with Native American tribes such as the Cherokee. Eventually, he became the first Black deputy U.S. marshal, and the man was so dedicated to his job that he even tracked down and arrested his own son for murder. It's been reported that he killed 14 outlaws during his career, and he rode after fugitives hiding in Indian Territory, a massive area made up of a whopping 75,000 square miles. With a career this impressive, no wonder many believe he was the inspiration for the mask-wearing Lone Ranger.

In other words, we're shocked it took this long to make a TV series about the man, and his exploits sound like they're perfect for a Taylor Sheridan show.

Who is starring in Lawmen: Bass Reeves?

Taylor Sheridan projects always attract A-list talent, and "Lawmen: Bass Reeves" is no different. The project is being overseen by David Oyelowo's company, Yoruba Saxon productions, and the star will portray the lead of the series. Oyelowo is most famous for playing Martin Luther King. Jr. in the 2014 biopic "Selma," and he's also starred in projects such as "Queen of Katwe," "See How They Run," and "The Butler."

Of course, Oyelowo is far from being the only major name associated with the project. Dennis Quaid of "The Parent Trap" and "The Rookie" will play a deputy U.S. marshal named Sherrill Lynn while Barry Pepper of "Saving Private Ryan" fame will portray Confederate leader Esau Pierce. Garrett Hedlund of "Tron: Legacy" and "Tulsa King" will guest star as Garrett Montgomery, a skilled rider who's familiar with the ins and outs of Indian Territory.

Longtime Sheridan collaborator Mo Brings Plenty ("Yellowstone") will recur as Minco Dodge, a Choctaw friend of Bass Reeves, while character actor extraordinaire Shea Whigham ("Joker," "Boardwalk Empire") will play Bass Reeves' owner, before our hero escapes from slavery. Hollywood legend Donald Sutherland ("The Dirty Dozen," "The Hunger Games") will portray notorious hanging judge Isaac Parker. Lauren E. Banks of "City on a Hill" will play Reeves' wife, Jennie, and Demi Singleton of "King Richard" will play his daughter, Sally. 

Rounding out the cast, we have Dale Dickey of "Breaking Bad," Forrest Goodluck of "The Revenant," Grantham Coleman of "The Americans," Joaquina Kalukango of "Lovecraft Country," Lonnie Chavis of "This Is Us," and Rob Morgan of "Mudbound." We'll also see Ryan O'Nan of "Queen of the South," Margot Bingham of "The Walking Dead," Tosin Morohunfola of "Run the World," Bill Dawes of "Alaska Daily," and Justin Hurtt-Dunkley of "Mare of Easttown."

Is there a trailer for Lawmen: Bass Reeves?

We got our first tease for "Lawmen: Bass Reeves" with a brief 20-second clip. Despite its brevity, it got us all excited for the action coming our way, thanks to scenes of Bass Reeves riding across a Civil War battlefield, hunting an outlaw in a burning cabin, and looking incredibly intimidating atop his faithful steed.

The first official teaser trailer was released in September 2023, and it explores every facet of Reeves' life, from his interactions with his beloved family to his daring exploits as a U.S. marshal. Alleged colleagues underestimate him, criminals seek to take him down, and danger is never far from his door. But the lawman exudes confidence and capability in this teaser, no matter the context. 

Finally, in the official trailer — released in October 2023 — we see Reeves meet the infamous hanging judge Isaac Parker, played by Donald Sutherland. The judge lets Reeves know he's looking for "a man with a good gun and a straight spine." Reeves is more than up to the task, and so is his wife, who single-handedly faces down the Klan. The trailer ends on a high note, with Reeves telling an outlaw in no uncertain terms, "I'm warning you — your wicked days are done."

Who is showrunning and producing Lawmen: Bass Reeves?

"Lawmen: Bass Reeves" has two powerhouse producers on board — Taylor Sheridan and David Oyelowo. Needless to say, Sheridan has his fingers in a million Paramount pies, running shows like "Yellowstone," "Tulsa King," and "Mayor of Kingstown." Oyelowo has overseen quite a few films himself, producing titles like "The Water Man," "Captive," and "A United Kingdom" through his Yoruba Saxon banner.

However, neither man will be serving as showrunner. Instead, those duties will fall to Chad Feehan, who's worked as a writer and a producer on series such as "Ray Donovan," "Rectify," and "Banshee." He's also been involved with films like "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" and "Paranormal Activity 4."

Who is directing Lawmen: Bass Reeves?

Back in June 2022, it was announced that Taylor Sheridan was going to direct the first two episodes of "Bass Reeves," with David Oyelowo enthusiastically supporting that decision. As the actor/producer told Deadline, "The reality is that [Taylor] is one of the best directors on the planet." However, in January 2023, Fox News reported that it had been in contact with a Paramount+ representative who'd said that Christina Alexandra Voros will be directing the pilot, not Sheridan.

Directorially speaking, it looks like Voros will be the one putting her stamp on almost every episode. The series will feature eight installments, and Variety has reported that Voros is directing five of them, although that's yet to be officially confirmed. Voros has quite a bit of experience in Sheridan's world, as she's helmed eight episodes of "Yellowstone" (including the one where we realize why Beth Dutton hates Jamie so much) and four episodes of "1883." She also served as a cinematographer on both projects, as well as the horror flick "Ma" and James Franco's "As I Lay Dying."

So will Sheridan direct the other episodes? We'll have to wait until Paramount+ officially confirms it.

Will Lawmen: Bass Reeves be connected to Yellowstone?

So here's the big question — will "Bass Reeves" be set in the world of "Yellowstone?" Obviously, Bass Reeves is a real guy, and the Dutton family comes straight from the mind of Taylor Sheridan. Why would they crossover at all, you ask? Well, originally, the series was billed as "1883: The Bass Reeves Story," in reference to the "Yellowstone" prequel starring Tim McGraw and Faith Hill as James and Margaret Dutton. However, as time has gone on, the "1883" part has been dropped from the title, and subsequent reporting hasn't mentioned any connection to the "Yellowstone" series. Plus, it was announced in April 2023 that "Bass Reeves" would be the first season of an anthology show called "Lawmen," with future seasons focusing on different sheriffs and marshals in American history. So will any of John Dutton's ancestors be riding alongside Bass Reeves, or will this marshal exist in his own world, separate from all the Dutton drama? As of this moment, we're unsure, but we're thinking it's the latter option.

Where to watch Taylor Sheridan's other shows

While you're killing time, waiting for "Lawmen: Bass Reeves" to mosey on up to Paramount+, you can keep yourself entertained by checking out every other show that Taylor Sheridan has been involved with. And boy howdy, there are a lot of 'em.

Obviously, there's "Yellowstone," which tells the story of Montana cattle rancher John Dutton and his very dysfunctional family as they do whatever it takes to protect their land. It's one of the most popular series on TV today, and if you want to see Rip Wheeler branding people, Beth Dutton cursing up a storm, or Kayce Dutton struggling with whether or not he wants to be his father's heir, you can stream the first four and a half seasons on Peacock.

If you're in the mood for a "Yellowstone" prequel, you can go back to where it all started with "1883" on Paramount+, or you can watch the Duttons face off against mining magnates, sheep herders, and hungry lions in "1923," also on Paramount+. Of course, if you're not so much in a Western mood, Sheridan has got you covered there too. If you want a super gritty drama set in the world of prisons and street gangs, you can check out "Mayor of Kingstown" on Paramount+, or if you're in the mood for a more upbeat fish-out-of-water series about a New York City mobster trying to make his way in Oklahoma, you can watch "Tulsa King" on — you guessed it — Paramount+. You've also got Zoe Saldaña and Nicole Kidman taking on terrorists in "Special Ops: Lioness," which just so happens to be streaming on ... yep ... Paramount+.