New show Lawmen Bass Reeves has had a long development process, which has seen it become part of Yellowstone prequel 1883, then a separate Yellowstone spin-off, and now not part of that franchise at all. Now the showrunner of the Western series, Chad Feehan, has stepped in to clarify exactly when it takes place and why it makes sense for it to it be its own thing.
Feehan explains why Lawmen Bass Reeves couldn’t be part of the acclaimed TV series 1883, from the Yellowstone universe, which centers around John Dutton‘s ancestors. 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,” he told TVLine.
The eight episodes that’ll kick off when the Lawmen Bass Reeves release date arrives “take place from, roughly, 1862 to 1877,” Feehan adds. The writers obviously wanted to include the Civil War part of Bass Reeves’ fascinating life, which helps explain why the timeline shifted earlier.
British actor David Oyelowo, who plays the legendary lawman Bass Reeves, originally began developing the series years ago with his wife Jessica. At the time, Westerns were not as popular as they are now, and a huge reason for that boom in popularity is of course Taylor Sheridan and his expanding Yellowstone empire.
Therefore, it initially made sense for Bass Reeves to come under the Yellowstone banner, but it turns out that trying to get it to fit into the 1883 prequel and the Yellowstone timeline was just not going to work. It will now become the first installment in an anthology series focusing on famous lawmen of the Old West, which actually way makes more sense.
While Yellowstone fans might be disappointed that Bass Reeves is no longer part of the family, Taylor Sheridan is still an executive producer and it definitely has the potential to be the one of the best drama series of the year. Lawmen Bass Reeves will stand out from the other Taylor Sheridan series and movies by being a biographical and historical drama, steeped in years of research into a real life.
Our resident Yellowstone expert Jessica Cullen has already done a brilliant job of explaining why Bass Reeves not being in the Yellowstone universe is more than okay.
Bass Reeves led such an extraordinary life, it’s surprising that it has taken this long for him to get the television treatment, which can do him justice with its longer form storytelling. He began life as a slave, before being forced to fight on the Confederate side for his owner during in the Civil War. Reeves managed to escape, and lived with various Indian tribes before becoming one of the most successful and legendary deputy marshals of the era.
As well as Oyelowo, the series stars Lauren E. Banks as Reeves’s wife Jennie, as well as Donald Sutherland, Dennis Quaid, Shea Whigham, Garrett Hedlund, Barry Pepper, and Forrest Goodluck. It debuts on November 5 on Paramount Plus.
We’re still patiently waiting for Yellowstone season 5 part 2, but we know that we could be at this watering hole for some time waiting for that particular horse to mosey along. At this rate, we may well see 1923 season 2 or even Yellowstone 6666 before we get the conclusion of the main Dutton saga.