Lawmen: Bass Reeves (2023) Review



Lawmen: Bass Reeves is a captivating western series that will have action and western fans hooked on the first episode.  The characters are diverse and rich in depth which makes it so fun to watch as you find yourself liking both the good buys and the bad guys.

Plot: Former slave Bass Reeves becomes one of the first Black U.S. Deputy Marshalls in the West all the while trying to provide for his growing family.

Review: It’s been a hot minute since I have written a review for The Action Elite but Lawmen:  Bass Reeves is a show that I just had to write about.

The promo for the series caught my attention as the show is from executive producer Taylor Sheridan (who brought us Yellowstone).   The show is based upon the true story of Bass Reeves who was a former slave who became one of the first black deputy U.S. Marshals, and the first west of the Mississippi River.

It gathers source material from the first two books of The Bass Reeves Trilogy series written by Sidney Thompson.   In true western form, there is plenty of “shoot ‘em up” impressive gunplay.  Lawmen: Bass Reeves will have eight episodes.

David Oyelowo is amazing as Bass Reeves.   Bass is placed in several almost impossible circumstances from the onset.  Oyelowo has the acting chops that will find the viewer ready to cheer Bass on.  The emotions that Oyelowo can project only using facial expressions had me near tears several times.

The character is complex in nature as you see Bass go from fierce fighter to tender protector as he reunites with the woman he loves.

I was thrilled to see Barry Pepper and Dennis Quaid make appearances in the series.  Both are hardly recognizable portraying rugged men that clearly the West has not been kind to.  Like Bass, the characters they portray are of a complex nature possessing traits the viewer will both love and hate, which seems to be indicative of a Taylor Sheridan production and something that I personally view as more realistic especially in a period piece.

Donald Sutherland also makes an appearance as the judge who deputizes and hires Bass.  Sutherland’s character is almost an extension of himself projecting wisdom and resolve knowing that Bass will face as much criticism as he will any appreciation for justice he tries to dispense.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a nod to Lauren E. Banks, who portrays Bass’ wife Jennie.  Jennie’s character is impressive for her perseverance and strength facing the trials of being a woman in the old West, as well as a former slave and all the prejudice that goes along with that.

One could easily see the show as a recurring series past its 8 episodes if it keeps with the intensity and quality, it has shown so far.

I can bet I am not the only one that will be longing for more when the show runs its course.