The single-camera comedy series aired two seasons on the NBCUniversal streaming service. The first 10-episode first season aired in 2021, while the eight-episode second season aired in June 2022. The cast included Ed Helms, Jana Schmieding, Michael Greyeyes, Jesse Leigh and Dustin Milligan.
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Per the official logline, the show follows “lifelong best friends, Nathan Rutherford (Helms) and Reagan Wells (Schmieding), who find themselves at a crossroads – quite literally – when their sleepy town gets an unexpected wakeup call.”
As the show begins, the town of Rutherford Falls decides to remove a statue of Nathan’s ancestor, which drives Nathan to begin a campaign to save it. But Reagan, a member of the fictional Minishonka Nation, campaigns against it, as his ancestor was known for attacks on her people during the founding of the town.
The show received strong reviews from critics upon its debut, who praised the humor as well as the willingness to address issues facing Indigenous people in America. The show also made a point of hiring multiple Indigenous writers and performers as part of its production team. That included people from the Navajo, Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota, Cheyenne River Lakota Sioux, and Plains Cree.
Helms co-created the series with Sierra Teller Ornelas and Michael Schur. Schmieding also worked as a writer on the series. Helms, Teller Ornelas, and Schur executive produced along with Mike Falbo, David Miner, and Morgan Sackett. Universal Television produces in association with Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment and Pacific Electric Picture Company.
“It’s been a true joy to make these two seasons of ‘Rutherford Falls,'” Teller Ornellas said in a statement. “Mike Schur, Ed Helms and I set out to make something new, real, and smart—but also dumb—that made you cry and think, but also laugh when Reagan got kicked in the face or Nathan was stuffed into a coffin. Before our show—to borrow a line from Terry Thomas, played by the ridiculously talented Michael Greyeyes—’Native representation [was], for the most part, a hate crime.’ Which is why it’s been an honor to introduce the best of Indian Country to the masses. We remain overwhelmed by the critical response, garnering a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score in our second season, and while we’re sad that our time at Peacock has come to an end we are immensely grateful to them for picking us up and showcasing the talents of comedy legend Ed Helms and breakout stars like Jana Schmieding, Jesse Leigh, Dana Wilson, Beth Stelling, Dallas Goldtooth, Kaniehtiio Horn, and many others. We love these characters, the world we created, and the impact it has had, and will be exploring other platforms where, hopefully, the folks of Rutherford Falls can call home.”
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