From Co-Creators and Executive Producers Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, Reservation Dogs is a half-hour comedy that follows the exploits of “Elora Danan” (Devery Jacobs), “Bear Smallhill” (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), “Willie Jack” (Paulina Alexis) and “Cheese” (Lane Factor), four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma. After the death of the fifth member of the Reservation Dogs, the crew took to stealing, scheming and saving in order to vicariously fulfill his dream of reaching the exotic, mysterious and faraway land of California. But after a promising start to their criminal endeavors, including the legendary heist of a Flaming Flamers chips truck, swiping some old lady’s weed edibles and some low-grade grand theft auto, the plan went bust. The gang disbanded, with everyone trying to forge their own paths.
Elora ghosted Bear and took off for California with the Rez Dogs’ mortal enemy, “Jackie” (Elva Guerra), the leader of a rival gang. Abandoned by his closest friend, Bear seeks a male parental figure to teach him how to “be a man” – but his choice of uncles to emulate leaves a lot to be desired. Meanwhile, Willie Jack thinks everything in their town is falling apart because of the curse she cast on Jackie and she’s determined to put that genie back in the bottle. Cheese who, like Willie Jack, decided that Cali wasn’t for him, reunites with his grandmother who isn’t his grandmother.
Lucky for the kids, they have the support of their loving and eccentric community of aunties and uncles to see them through, including Bear’s mother “Rita” (Sarah Podemski), local law enforcement “Big” (Zahn McClarnon), Elora’s “Uncle Brownie” (Gary Farmer), Willie Jack’s parents “Dana” (Jennifer Podemski) and “Leon” (Jon Proudstar) and “Spirit” aka “William Knifeman” (Dallas Goldtooth).
Reservation Dogs has curses and catfish, dance numbers and trust falls, decent people, terrible people and a cavalcade of supporting characters who color and shade this already vibrant world.
Filmed on location in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Reservation Dogs is a breakthrough in Indigenous representation on television, both in front of and behind the camera. Every writer, director and series regular on the show is Indigenous. This first-of-its-kind creative team tells a story that resonates with them and their lived experiences.
In its first season, Reservation Dogs landed on 80+ critics’ year-end best lists, won The Gotham Award for “Breakthrough Series – Short Form,” won two Independent Spirit Awards, was honored as one of AFI’s Television Programs of the Year and was nominated for a Peabody Award. The show is also among seven programs recognized in 2022 by the Television Academy as part of its 15th Television Academy Honors, showcasing exceptional television programs and their producers who have leveraged the power of television to fuel social change.
Reservation Dogs is co-created by Sterlin Harjo (Love and Fury, Barking Water, Four Sheets to the Wind) and Academy Award® winner Taika Waititi (Thor: Love and Thunder, Jojo Rabbit, What We Do in the Shadows, Jojo Rabbit) and executive produced by Harjo, Waititi and Garrett Basch (What We Do in the Shadows, The Night Of). Reservation Dogs is produced by FX Productions.