Why Everyone Thinks Lawmen: Bass Reeves Is A Yellowstone Spinoff (It's Not)


Why Everyone Thinks Lawmen: Bass Reeves Is A Yellowstone Spinoff (It’s Not)

Although it’s commonly believed that Lawmen: Bass Reeves is a Yellowstone spinoff, it’s not. Here’s what fuels the show’s prevalent spinoff rumors.


  • Lawmen: Bass Reeves is not a part of the Yellowstone franchise and has no connection to the Dutton family or Yellowstone timeline.
  • The Western show aims to spawn its own franchise, with each season focusing on a different historic lawman or outlaw in American history.
  • Although Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan is involved in Lawmen: Bass Reeves, the show is separate from his flagship franchise and marks a departure from his recent work.



Even though the upcoming show Lawmen: Bass Reeves isn’t part of the Yellowstone franchise, it still seems like the show is trapped under Yellowstone’s shadow. Set to premiere on November 5, 2023, Lawmen: Bass Reeves is based on the true story of the titular deputy U.S. marshal, who was the first African-American deputy west of the Mississippi River. In addition to taking inspiration from Bass Reeves’ real life story, the Western show is also reported to be taking some cues from the first two books of Sidney Thompson’s Bass Reeves Trilogy.

However, something that Lawmen: Bass Reeves will not take any inspiration from is Taylor Sheridan’s popular Yellowstone franchise, which has dominated the neo-Western genre since the main series’ premiere. Despite this, there has been mixed information circulating that Lawmen: Bass Reeves is somehow connected to the Yellowstone franchise, which is simply not the case. Although there are some good reasons for the common misconception that Lawmen: Bass Reeves is a Yellowstone spinoff, the fact that it isn’t is great news for the Western series.

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Related: Lawmen: Bass Reeves – Release Date, Trailer & Everything We Know

Lawmen: Bass Reeves Is Not Connected To The Yellowstone Franchise

Contrary to popular belief, Lawmen: Bass Reeves will not have any connection to the Yellowstone franchise outside featuring some overlapping crew. Lawmen: Bass Reeves not only has no bearing on the Dutton family or Yellowstone timeline, but it is also not considered a part of the Yellowstone canon at all. Rather, Lawmen: Bass Reeves is its own series completely separate from the Yellowstone franchise, despite sharing common Western DNA and developmental origins with those shows.

Though Lawmen: Bass Reeves is not attached to the Yellowstone franchise, the Western is intended to spawn a franchise of its own. Rather than being housed under the Yellowstone umbrella upcoming Paramount+ show will instead be part of an anthology in which each season focuses on a different historic lawman or outlaw that has had an impact on American history, with the first season telling the story of the titular African-American U.S. marshal (played by David Oyelowo). This is ultimately good for the series, as it will allow Lawmen: Bass Reeves to form its own identity outside the Duttons’ story in Yellowstone.

Related: All 10 Actors Who Played Bass Reeves In Western Movies & TV Shows

Yellowstone’s Taylor Sheridan Is Involved In Lawmen: Bass Reeves

Taylor Sheridan as Travis Wheatley in Yellowstone

Another major reason that Lawmen: Bass Reeves has been assumed to be a Yellowstone spinoff is because of the involvement of Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan. In addition to being part of Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ inception, Sheridan has also been reported to be the director of the show’s first episode, meaning he’s been heavily involved in its creation thus far. Since fleshing out the story of the Dutton family within the Yellowstone franchise has been a major focus of Sheridan’s career since the main show premiered in 2018, it makes sense that people might think that Lawmen: Bass Reeves is part of Yellowstone based on his involvement.

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While Taylor Sheridan was involved in Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ development and serves as executive producer, the show is ultimately separate from his flagship franchise. Because much of the buzz around Sheridan’s work in television has been related to Yellowstone in the last several years, Lawmen: Bass Reeves is a bit of a departure from Sheridan’s recent work. However, Taylor Sheridan does have a strong track record when it comes to his contributions to the Western genre, which bodes well for his involvement with Lawmen: Bass Reeves.

Lawmen: Bass Reeves Was Reported To Have 1883 Connections

lawmen bass reeves

The biggest reason why many people assume that Lawmen: Bass Reeves is part of the Yellowstone franchise is because once upon a time, it was. Reportedly, during the early stages of the development of Lawmen: Bass Reeves, it was going to be a continuation of the Yellowstone prequel 1883. During this phase of its inception, the show was originally titled 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, serving as a second season of sorts. The most recent updates about Lawmen: Bass Reeves confirm that it’s no longer attached to 1883. However, since Lawmen: Bass Reeves was initially part of Yellowstone, the confusion is understandable.

Though Yellowstone fans might be disappointed that Lawmen: Bass Reeves won’t be continuing the story of the Taylor Sheridan franchise, Lawmen: Bass Reeves not being connected to 1883 is its best case scenario. Bass Reeves is an important and unique figure in the history of the American West, but if his story was attached to 1883 and Yellowstone, Reeves might have been overshadowed by the Dutton family. By evolving to become its own standalone series, Lawmen: Bass Reeves has ensured that the story of Bass Reeves will have space to shine outside the spotlight cast by the Yellowstone franchise.

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