‘Outer Range’ Recap Before Watching Season 2

Despite having a presence in literature for over a century, the sci-fi western has remained a grossly overlooked genre. In recent years, except for the underrated Cowboys & Aliens, no other major venture has tried to take the risk of experimenting with the genre, which highlights its uniqueness of amalgamating the Wild West with the complexities of science fiction. Amazon Studios’ Outer Range, created by Brian Watkins, is a meticulously crafted thriller that highlights the genre’s untapped potential through a heady mix of murder mystery, family/social drama, and temporal shenanigans. The first season released a couple of years ago consisted of eight episodes, which had a lot to unpack, which is why, as the second season of Outer Range premieres this week, we would like to briefly discuss every key point viewers need to remember to get into the series with ease.


Spoilers Ahead

Strange Visitors, A Stranger Sinkhole, and A Land Dispute

An old-school family of ranchers, the Abbots, look after their cattle ranch at Wabang, a small town near Wyoming. The family, consisting of the couple Royal and Cecilia, their sons Perry and Rhett, and Perry’s daughter, Amy, is trying to cope with the loss of Rebecca, Perry’s wife, who went missing nine months ago. The family is also going through financial troubles while preserving traditional ways in changing times. As the series begins with Royal’s monologue about the Greek god Chronos, the father of time, who used his sickle to divide heaven from earth, the known from the unknown, it becomes clear from an early age that time and space will play a significant role in the narrative. 


A mysterious stranger girl, Autumn, meets Royal on the front porch of the Abbot household and shares her wish to camp for a few days in the ranch area. Despite Autumn being oddly sketchy about her past, Royal agrees to let her stay in the ranch’s vicinity in exchange for some cash. While looking for their two missing cows, Royal, Perry, and Rhett come across Trevor, Billy, and Luke, the sons of neighboring and rival rancher Wayne Tillerson, who share an update about a portion of Abbot’s land originally belonging to them, which they need to return to avoid a court dispute. Keeping that in mind, as Royal ventures to the west side of his ranch, he spots a mysterious, strange, black substance-filled sinkhole, and as he inserts his hand into it, he sees visions of the immediate future. 

Later, a drunk Rhett and Perry get into fisticuffs with Trevor Tillerson outside a bar, and as Trevor makes the mistake of provoking Perry by referring to his missing wife, Perry unwittingly beats him to death. After learning about this, Royal decides to take Trevor’s corpse and throw it into the mysterious sinkhole while Luke and Billy come searching for their brother at the Abbot household. As Royal throws Trevor’s body into the hole, Autumn startles him by being present there right at the moment, and after repeating Trevor’s former monologue about Chronos, she pushes him right into the hole.


The Sinkhole as a Portal Through Time and Space

Going through the hole, Royal finds himself in a future timeline where mining operations have transformed the area, and Autumn is supposedly one of the leading operatives. Royal finds himself surrounded by a crowd of people, and he spots his family and close associates among them as well. However, after learning that this future takes place two years after his supposed death and after Cecilia warns him to leave, Royal jumps  through the sinkhole again to return to the present.

Eventually, town Sheriff Joy gets involved in the investigation into Trevor’s disappearance, and with the Tillerson boys promising her the political support of their clan in the upcoming election, the sheriff starts going right after the prime suspects, Rhett and Perry. Amy comes across Trevor’s body in the wilderness, and the Abbot family has no choice but to inform the authorities about it. Sheriff Joy methodically sows seeds of distrust among the Abbot brothers, and afflicted with guilt, Perry eventually confesses his crime. On the other hand, Wayne seems hell-bent on getting the particular patch of land where the sinkhole has appeared, as it is supposedly connected with his childhood trauma. Luke and his mother, Patricia, get a hint of Wayne’s obsession over the plot of land and consider it to be related to the profit motive. Autumn seems to be connected with the sinkhole as well, and as she mysteriously gets more and more involved with the Abbot family drama, it is suggested that she is connected with them in more ways than initially assumed. Her much-coveted necklace, which Royal deceitfully wins from her in a game of cards is revealed to contain the same unique mineral found in the sinkhole, which allows Royal to get visions of the future, this time of his own death. 


Meanwhile, Autumn, who for so long seemed to have things under her control, starts growing manic after losing her necklace, which possibly acts as a device to move through the space-time continuum, and gets on a conflicting course with Royal. She eventually gets help from Billy, who falls for her, and the duo manages to capture Royal to kill him. However, Royal manages to earn a second chance by apologizing, only to eventually scheme to hunt the duo down. 

What Is Royal and Autumn’s True Identity?

Perry’s confession doesn’t sit well with his family, who bail him out in exchange for a significant amount of money. As Perry gets involved in a heated argument and ensuing fight with his brother, Rhett, Amy gets caught in their scuffle and gets a cut injury to her head. A disillusioned Perry is comforted to some extent by his father’s confession. As Royal reveals that he is originally from the late 19th century and shows the sinkhole to him, he shares that he had arrived in the sixties through a sinkhole just like this—while escaping the consequences of killing his own father. A grief-stricken Perry decides to jump into the sinkhole, and it vanishes right after.


Sheriff Joy accidentally reaches into the past while passing through the ranch and witnesses a native settlement and a massive herd of bison, much to her shock and amazement. On the other hand, the Tillerson boys learn about the sinkhole, and Luke plans to dig up Wayne’s property, tempted by the possibility of gaining valuable minerals. As Luke digs up numerous holes to no avail, he finally finds one containing the mineral, but it acts as a portal that lets bison enter through it, resulting in a stampede that claims his life. 

On the other hand, throughout the season, Cecilia’s mental deterioration has started, which culminates at the breaking point as Amy goes missing during Rhett’s rodeo competition. Out of seemingly nowhere, Rebecca, Perry’s wife, appears before Amy and takes her daughter along with her. Royal eventually clashes with Autumn and Billy in a final showdown, which results in Billy’s death and Autumn getting grievously injured, and seeing the scar on her head, Royal presumes that Autumn is none other than grown-up Amy herself. He takes an unconscious Autumn back to his home, where a devastated Cecilia is the only present family member. Apologizing to her for keeping his past a secret, Royal strengthens his resolve to get his family back, but it might be too late for that already. We speculate that the unique mineral that allows them to move through the space-time continuum is abundant in Royal’s ranch, and as he is unwilling to give up the family ranch (Cecilia’s family owned it), Autumn, a mining operative from the future, has arrived to expose the truth about her grandfather and displace the Abbot family from the place to ensure a proper future. However, that still doesn’t explain where Rebecca went or what she was hiding from, and all the confusing questions like this will be answered in the upcoming second season of Outer Range.


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

Latest articles