‘Yellowstone’ Creator Taylor Sheridan Working on Series About U.S. Marshal Who Inspired ‘The Lone Ranger’

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Taylor Sheridan, the genius creator of Yellowstone, is an expert at weaving Western tales into dynamic, multi-generational stories.

His next show will focus on Bass Reeves, who legend has it, was the inspiration behind the Lone Ranger. Sheridan will partner with actor David Oyelowo and his wife Jessica to bring the series to life.

Sheridan, a native Texan, writes what he knows. He lives on a ranch and writes about life on a ranch with the Dutton family in Yellowstone. His Yellowstone prequel, 1883, starts out in Texas and is being filmed in Fort Worth, a short drive from Sheridan’s home. Sheridan also is working on 6666, literally and figuratively. He’s part of the ownership group buying the Texas ranch, which is about twice the size of Chicago. And he’s also writing about the ranch for Paramount+.

So a limited series about Bass Reeves certainly sounds worthy of the spectacular Yellowstone treatment.

On Thursday, Oyelowo announced that he’d partnered with the Yellowstone creator.

“The stories Jess and I want to tell are boundary-busting and full of folks the likes of whom we have seldom seen on screen,” Oyelowo said. “The extraordinary story of Bass Reeves exemplifies just that.

“To collaborate with world-class talent like Taylor Sheridan to tell those stories to the widest audience possible, is our dream.”

David Oyelowo (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for CTAOP)

Bass Reeves Sounds Like a Character Dreamed Up by Yellowstone Creator

Oyelowo will play Bass Reeves, who was born a slave in Arkansas in 1838. The family who owned Reeves moved to northeast Texas eight years later. Then the patriarch of the family ordered Bass to go with his son, George, to fight in the Civil War for the Confederacy. Bass eventually escaped to Indian Territory, what is now Oklahoma.

The region was run by five Native American tribes — Cherokee, Seminole, Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw. Bass Reeves learned the language of the Seminole and Creek. When the 13th Amendment passed, eliminating slavery, Bass Reeves moved back to Arkansas.

A decade later, U.S. Marshal James Fagan recruited Reeves to work as one of 200 deputy marshals in Indian Territory. Bass Reeves cut a striking figure. He was 6-foot-2 with excellent shooting skills. And he knew the territory and the ways of Native Americans since he lived among them for years. He became the first Black deputy marshal working west of the Mississippi River.

As a marshal, Reeves arrested more than 3,000 people and killed 14. Yet, he never suffered a gunshot wound. Biographer Art T Burton wrote that Reeves likely inspired the Lone Ranger, which started as a radio series in 1933.

Reeves’ story sounds perfect for the Yellowstone treatment.

And speaking of Yellowstone, season four finally got a premiere date. The action kicks off Nov. 7. The Yellowstone prequel 1883 follows on Dec. 19.

So far, there aren’t any more details for Bass Reeves. Stick with Outsider for more news about Yellowstone and your other favorite shows.

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