David Oyelowo as Bass Reeves in Lawmen: Bass Reeves streaming on Paramount+, 2023.
Emerson Miller/Paramount+

'Lawmen: Bass Reeves': Heart-Pounding First Trailer Sees the Frontier Hero on Both Sides of the Law

Donald Sutherland and Dennis Quaid also star.

"The real power lie beneath the badge," Emmy nominee David Oyelowo growls in the first full-length trailer for Lawmen: Bass Reeves, premiering its first two episodes Sunday, Nov. 5 on Paramount+.

The 8-episode series hails from creator and showrunner Chad Feehan (Ray Donovan), with Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan serving as an executive producer. Oyelowo stars as the titular frontier hero Bass Reeves, who escaped slavery to become the first Black U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi. Donald Sutherland and Dennis Quaid also star.

The trailer, unveiled on Oct. 10, opens with a young boy asking Reeves if he's a lawman or an outlaw. "Bit of both, I reckon," he replies. We then see Donald Sutherland's Judge Isaac Parker anoint Reeves a Deputy U.S. Marshal, handing him the iconic Eagle Top gold star. He makes camp with fellow Marshal Sherrill Lynn (Dennis Quaid) as the pair hunt ruthless killers across vast Western landscapes.

Smoky shootouts give way to our first real glimpses of Reeves' allies, the Cherokee and Choctaw Native Americans he lived among after escaping slavery. He stands atop a mountain with Minco Dodge (played by Yellowstone star Mo Brings Plenty). The young Billy Crow (Forrest Goodluck, The Revenant) acts as his sidekick. Elsewhere, we see the toll the job takes on Reeves' young family. His indomitable wife Jennie (Lauren E. Banks, City on a Hill) holds a shotgun to a group of Ku Klux Klan members threatening their home.

Lawmen: Bass Reeves also stars Demi Singleton (King Richard), Emmy winner Barry Pepper (True Grit), Shea Whigham (Mission: Impossible) and Garrett Hedlund (Tulsa King). Planned as an anthology series, future seasons of Lawmen will follow other iconic heroes and villains of the Old West. Here's the official synopsis for Season 1:

"Revealing the untold story of the most legendary lawman in the Old West, Lawmen: Bass Reeves follows the journey of Reeves (Oyelowo) and his rise from enslavement to law enforcement as the first Black U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi. Despite arresting over 3,000 outlaws during the course of his career, the weight of the badge was heavy, and he wrestled with its moral and spiritual cost to his beloved family."

In addition to Feehan and Sheridan, Oyelowo and Yellowstone producer David C. Glasser serve as executive producers on the series. In a Paramount+ press release, Feehan explained how the show will approach the real-life figure of Bass Reeves: "Our story explores the lawman, the husband, the father; it begins with enslavement and carries through Reconstruction to the first cruel whispers of Jim Crow; it contains some of the well-known tales, some of the untold tales and a fair share of fictional tales that fill-in the in-between."

"But more than anything, David, I and many others sought to tell a story about the human condition and its undeniable universality, the emotionality that connects all of us," Feehan stated.

Lawmen: Bass Reeves premieres Nov. 5 on Paramount+.

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