Lawmen: Bass Reeves has been added to the ever-growing Sheridan-verse, a collection of Paramount+ shows created by super-producer Taylor Sheridan that focus on gunslingers and frontier tales. Starring David Oyelowo as the titular character, Lawmen diverges from the fictional tradition of the Sheridan universe to shed light on a real-life historical figure of the Old West. The first episodes of the series, now available for streaming, introduce Reeves, who managed to escape slavery and become the first Black US deputy marshal west of the Mississippi River. Initially, Lawmen was believed to be a new addition to the Yellowstone series when it was announced in 2021 and may have been conceived as a spin-off of the popular prequel 1883.
However, it has emerged as a standalone show. While Lawmen is set in a similar time period as 1883, it does not have any direct connection to the Yellowstone world apart from Sheridan's involvement and the presence of Mo Brings Plenty, who fans will recognize as Mo from Yellowstone. In Lawmen, Brings Plenty portrays the character Minco Dodge, and it is hoped that this will not confuse fans of the original show. The eight-part miniseries joins Sheridan's other Paramount shows, including 1923, Special Ops: Lioness, Tulsa King, and Mayor of Kingstown, alongside the beloved Yellowstone.
While Lawmen is currently presented as a standalone series, it is set to become an anthology show in future seasons. Paramount has confirmed that upcoming iterations will explore the lives of "other iconic lawmen and outlaws who have impacted history." In real life, Reeves is considered a legend of the Western genre, as he is believed to have inspired the creation of the masked character the Lone Ranger after making approximately 3,000 arrests throughout his career. Oyelowo has expressed his aspirations for the show to present a unique perspective on the Black experience in the United States on television. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Oyelowo stated, "My goal, my hope, my ambition for this has always been to have an opportunity to show the contribution of Black people to this country in a way that goes beyond the norm.
The remarkable story of Bass Reeves perfectly embodies that." Oyelowo has strived to bring Reeves' story to the screen for over eight years and credits Sheridan for making that dream a reality. In an interview with Esquire, Oyelowo praised Sheridan as an inspiration, stating, "He exemplifies what is possible when you have passion, talent, and boundless energy. It has been an incredible journey."