New Yellowstone Spin-off Series Dramatizes Life of Historic Black U.S. Marshall Bass Reeves in the Wild West

​(left) David Oyelowo (right) Bass Reeves – credit CBS press gallery, University of Oklahoma Library.

The popular television drama Yellowstone is producing a spinoff season to dramatize one of the most legendary figures in the Wild West, Bass Reeves.

Interest in Reeves as a historical figure with as much potential for film and television as Wyatt Earp, has grown since the turn of the millennium.

For those who aren’t read up on potentially the greatest lawman of the West, GNN reported on his career and life in 2022 for Black History Month.

Born in 1838, Bass Reeves made over 3,000 arrests over a 32-year career as a deputy marshal and shot down 14 criminals in self-defense in a part of the country where one-third of all law enforcement agents were killed by outlaws.

A freed slave who knocked his enslaver out during a fight over a card game, Reeves fled to the Indian Territory and lived among the Cherokee, Creeks, and Seminoles until he was freed by the 13th Amendment, after which he moved to Arkansas to start a new life as a farmer.

Now, nearly 200 years later, British actor David Oyelowo is set to portray Reeves in a spinoff series of the popular Paramount Pictures TV drama, Yellowstone. 

Following a lackluster reception for its debut, Yellowstone became a sensation over the following three seasons, at one point scoring a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. After its modern-day version ran 5 seasons, another series called 1883 followed the characters’ ancestors moving to the Yellowstone area along the Oregon Trail.

In the new series set at the same time, entitled simply Bass Reeves, Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan is once again taking the lead, while Dennis Quaid has joined on to play a deputy US marshall.

Perhaps trying to capitalize on the recent success of Corsicanaa feature-length motion picture of Bass Reeves’ life, the connection between Reeves and the intergenerational family of the Duttons in Yellowstone is unclear.

But it’s sure to be a wild ride, and you can learn all about it with this explainer video below, though there are multiple spoilers of past seasons if you had any desire to start Yellowstone from the beginning.


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