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Lawmen: Bass Reeves

And more for fans of Taylor Sheridan's Yellowstone

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • November 02, 2023

Taylor Sheridan's hit show Yellowstone may be coming to an end, but fans needn't despair. Sheridan has plenty more exciting projects in the works, including the upcoming Lawmen: Bass Reeves, which premieres on Nov. 5 on Paramount+.

Based on a true story, the series stars David Oyelowo as Bass Reeves, the first Black U.S. Marshall to work west of the Mississippi. The story traces the journey of Reeves from enslavement to law enforcement. Read on to learn more about the new show and get our recommendations for Sheridan fans.   

The history behind Bass Reeves

While researching this book about Reeves, author Art T. Burton encountered some challenges. "I'm sorry, we didn't keep Black people's history," a clerk at one of Oklahoma's local historical societies answered his query. Undeterred, Burton carried on. Black Gun, Silver Star traces Reeves's life from his days of slavery to his Civil War soldiering to his renowned career as a U.S. Marshal.

Fluent in Creek and other regional Native languages, physically powerful, skilled with firearms, and a master of disguise, Reeves was exceptional at apprehending fugitives and outlaws and his feats were legendary in Oklahoma and Arkansas. In fact, it has been often suggested that he is the real-life inspiration behind the character of The Lone Ranger.

For more true stories about Black frontiersmen and other settlers, check out one of these excellent histories:

The Best Western reads for Sheridan fans

Sheridan's Western-themed series offer an addictive mix of high-stakes drama, colorful characters, and edge-of-your-seat thrills, within both contemporary and historical stories. If this is just the kind of entertainment you crave, here are 11 titles to consider   

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Ask for Western recs and this beloved novel will inevitably make the cut. Two aging Texas Rangers embark on one last adventure driving a herd from Texas to Montana. The 1989 miniseries adaptation is another favorite.

The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Erlich

Sheridan has cited this title as a key influence and, indeed, members of the Dutton family have been known to quote from the collection of essays about the author's experiences living in Wyoming.

Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon

1853: Widowed at twenty, Naomi May joins her family in search of a new life out West. On the trail, she finds romance with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man. But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death.

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

The first installment in the scintillating Highway 59 series is an explosive thriller poised at the intersection of love, race, and justice. The story introduces Black Texas Ranger Darren Mathews investigating a pair of shocking murders.

Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author's masterful language and fierce love of Wyoming are evident in this collection of stories about loneliness, quick violence, and dangerous kinds of love. Includes the story that inspired Brokeback Mountain.

God's Country by Percival Everett

It's 1871, and ne'er-do-well Curt Marder has lost his farm, his wife, and his dog to a band of marauding hooligans. Desperate to recover what is rightfully his, Marder enlists the help of the best tracker in the West, a Black man named Bubba.

Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann

The Iliad meets Friday Night Lights in this bighearted debut novel with technicolor characters, plenty of Texas swagger, and a powder keg of a plot in which marriages struggle, rivalries flare, and secrets explode.

True Grit by Charles Portis

Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross is hellbent on avenging her father's murder. This means an unlikely partnership with Rooster Cogburn, the meanest US Marshall available. We consider this Western masterpiece essential reading.

Montana Sky by Nora Roberts

When a ranching scion dies, his three daughters, each born of a different mother, learn that in order to inherit their share of his twenty-million-dollar estate, they must live together on the ranch for one year.

The Son by Philipp Meyer

This multigenerational saga follows a Texan oil family headed by Dutton-esque patriarch, Eli McCullough. Returning to white society after being taken captive by Comanches as a boy, he develops an insatiable drive for power and security.

Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

Set on and around a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation, this is the National Book Award winner's debut, an epic about the intertwined fates of two families. The contemporary story pulses with black humor, magic, and betrayal.

Binge on Taylor Sheridan

Along with Lawmen: Bass Reeves, Sheridan has several other shows in development, including additional seasons and episodes for Yellowstone spinoffs, 1883 and 1923. There has also been talk of a new spinoff starring Matthew McConaughey. In the meantime, get your own copies of Sheridan's past hit shows to enjoy whenever you want.

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