Outer Range Season 1 Recap: What Was The Void?

Need a refresher on what happened on the Abbott ranch in Outer Range season 1? We have you covered here.

Royal Abbott (Josh Brolin) in Outer Range
Photo: Prime Video

This article contains spoilers for Outer Range season 1. 

There’s really nothing linear about Prime Video’s breakout science fiction/Western, Outer Range. Every time audiences assumed they had a grasp on what the show’s secrets would reveal, it would let loose a crater-sized twist, leaving fans scrambling to figure out what just happened. Even chronology isn’t linear, as the heroes of this fictional Wyoming ranch have been bucked back and forth through time like a prize bull-rider. 

Yet here in the real world, fans have been patient to see the continuation of the Abbott family drama. It is certainly a loaded and layered show that deserves a rewatch to catch all the clues and mysteries of the Abbott ranch, but before the second season premieres, allow Den of Geek to recap what’s happened so far. 

Abbott Family Secrets

The encapsulating hook of the pilot episode of Outer Range is that it amalgamates two major plot lines to immediately grab viewers. One continuous thread that drives the first season is the murder of Trevor Tillerson (Matt Lauria). Trevor is the eldest son of the neighboring ranch family, the Tillersons, who was nothing but aggressive with the Abbotts from the moment he’s introduced. 

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The feud between the two families stems from patriarch Wayne Tillerson (guest star Will Patton) suddenly demanding the Abbotts’ entire West pasture. Trevor comes in with support from the local surveyors saying that the land legally has belonged to the Tillersons for decades, despite the Abbotts having ranched it for generations. Audiences learn quickly that the Tillerson’s are not the kind of family to take no for an answer, despite them having grown up with the Abbott boys. 

With Rhett Abbott (Lewis Pullman) and his older brother Perry (Tom Pelphrey) both feeling utterly depressed, and with good reason, the two Abbott boys decide to blow off some steam at the local watering hole, where the Tillersons and likely 70% of the town seem to be on a nightly basis. With tensions at an all time high, Trevor shoots his mouth off one too many times, and after taking a light beating from Rhett, is beaten to death in the parking lot by Perry when Trevor really crosses the line.

With no one witnessing the murder, the Abbotts decide to load Trevor into the back of their truck and drive back to the ranch, where their dad, Royal (Josh Brolin) jumps in to help his boys and cover up the murder. 

What is The Void?

Yet there is another massive, crater sized layer to this mystery. Earlier in the day, Royal, surveying his land alone, discovers a vacuous void in the middle of the pasture. This hole is seemingly bottomless, and doesn’t seem to obey the laws of physics, as there is visible debris floating at the surface of the hole like pond scum. When Royal even dips his arm into the void, he is overcome with a vision, quickly revealed to be a vision of the future only minutes from now. 

Royal has no idea what to do with it, as he tests the limit of the void by throwing loose objects into it, even trying to fill it in with a futile amount of dirt, but when his sons come panicking that night with Trevor’s body in the back, Royal knows exactly what to do. He drives Trevor’s body through his land and disposes of the evidence in the supernatural void, presuming that Trevor’s body will never be found again. 

However, Royal wasn’t fast enough, as suddenly a flashlight is shined on his face. Autumn (Imogen Poots), a mysterious guest who has been camping on the Abbotts’ land, saw the entire act. She questions Royal more about the void than the body, spouts off about the Greek deity Chronos, and then shoves Royal into the void. 

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Royal appears unscathed hours later, this time with even more secrets. As if covering up a murder isn’t enough, Royal also decides he’s not going to tell anyone, including his own wife (Lili Taylor) about the void, where he put Trevor, or even about Autumn. The only thing for certain is the void does not have to necessarily equal certain-death. 

Royal can only hope that the same safe fate will befall his oldest son. Perry, wracked with guilt, eventually called the sheriff’s office and confessed to his crime. When out on bail, he shared a moment with his father, and decided the best plan was to leap into the hole. This was so that his family didn’t have to deal with any of the aftermath, and that Perry thought Rebecca might have disappeared in the same way. As Perry jumped in, the void inexplicably closed off, and Royal merely stood there, dumbfounded.  

Mysteries of The Land

The Abbott ranch seems to hold its own primordial secrets, not just the people who live nearby. It’s evident that Royal recognizes the importance of the void, even if he doesn’t completely understand what it does or how it works. But it’s Wayne Tillerson who really wants to get his hands on the West pasture. Tillerson has been chronically ill for quite a long time, and it seems he feels the solution to his health issues can be found in the earth of the Abbott ranch.

In a flashback, we see a slightly younger and certainly healthier Wayne talking to one of his workers who was digging near the Abbotts’ West pasture. There, the worker discovered a strange geode looking rock, and within its bizarre crystalline-like structure, is the same black debris that floats on the surface of the void, almost as if the rock itself is alive on the inside. 

Wayne has passed the necessity to own the land to his two remaining sons, even though the flighty Billy (Noah Reid) and his older brother, Luke (Shaun Sipos) have different reasons for wanting it. Noah seems to share Wayne’s theory about the importance of the minerals or the power within the soil. When Wayne takes a turn for the worst, Noah even gently feeds some of the earth to his father like a dehydrated man taking in water. Billy on the other hand wants to discover the land’s worth, and likely sell it. His mother Patricia (Deirde O’Connell), who is now venomous towards her ex-husband Wayne, has been coaching Billy on how to take everything the ranch is worth, and that includes running the Abbotts into the ground. 

Other Mysteries Abound

At the center of several of the show’s mysteries is Deputy Sheriff Joy Hawk (Tamara Podemski), who is trying to become the next elected sheriff. Hawk has been onto the Abbotts ever since Trevor’s disappearance, but it’s an uneasy suspicion, as Hawk has been a major ally to the Abbott family recently. Perry’s wife Rebecca (Kristen Connolly), and mother to the Abbott granddaughter Amy (Olive Abercrombie) also disappeared mysteriously, and has been gone for some time. Hawk has been the strongest force behind the search for Rebecca, and is not unsympathetic towards the Abbotts. The strangest thing is, Hawk also wandered into her own mystery, which includes a much more peculiar story of appearance and disappearances. 

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While investigating Trevor’s whereabouts, Hawk talks to the town loon, Frank (Barry Del Sherman) who blathers on about other mysterious disappearances in the area. Frank goes on to tell Hawk that there are tons of people who have gone missing in the area, but also strange things appear out of the blue, including a report of mastodons appearing in the wilderness, despite the wooly pachyderms being extinct for almost 12,000 years. 

Shrugging it off as mere drunk talk, Hawk is later one of only a handful of people to witness a disappearance that shocks her to her core. While driving towards the Abbott land, an entire mountain disappears in the horizon, almost making Hawk crash her squad car. Yet the rocky Wyoming vista isn’t the only mysterious location in the series

At the epicenter of this, seems to be the shaky dynamic of Royal and Autumn. When the first two met, there was an almost immediate alliance. Royal agreed the young woman could stay on their land, even to the surprise of Rhett, as it seemed out of character. After Autumn pushed Royal into the void, that alliance went the way of the mastodon. The two became more and more animalistic towards one another, as Royal knew Autumn knows more about the land and the void that she’s willing to admit.

Autumn even has a grasp on the mysterious petroglyphs that appear in and around the Abbott land. It almost looks like the Abbott ranch sigil, but the sideways V shape is a mystery all on its own. Is it an arrow head? Does it represent a specific direction? Is it the convergence of two points?

Whatever it is, it’s so important to Autumn, that eventually, as she becomes more and more unstable without her medication, she carves it into her own skin.

Yes, There Was Time Travel Too

Once all the dots are connected, it becomes much more obvious that yes, Outer Range predominantly deals with the mysteries of time travel. The mastodons, Royal’s vision, the appearance and disappearance of people, places and things – they all lead to the land itself, and certainly the void being a hub for traveling through time. 

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It is confirmed when audiences see Sheriff Joy as she’s hiking the land around the Abbott ranch where she hears a thunderous ruckus in the distance. As she comes to a clearing, she sees hundreds of buffalo stampeding across the plain. More importantly, those buffalo are being hunted by the indigenous people of that land, still living in teepees, suggesting Hawk has found a pocket back in time. 

It could also be the same time Royal is originally from. You read that correctly. One of the biggest secrets Royal kept from his family, until he eventually told Perry, is that he is from 1886. After accidentally killing his father as a child, Royal ran away, and eventually made his way through the void. Coming out on the other side, covered in the mysterious black energy that swirls around the void, he encountered a young Wayne Tillerson. While the two old men in modern time haven’t necessarily spoken of that first meeting again, it would appear that neither one of them have forgotten the sheer power the land holds. 

Another mystery that was only slightly unraveled was when Royal received a major jolt in remembering the importance of the land when Autumn pushed him into the void. When he awoke, he was not in his past in the 1800’s, he was two years in the future. There (or then?), Royal got only a quick glimpse at his own small apocalypse – the Abbott ranch was being pillaged for its resources, with massive drilling towers covering as far as he could see. There were armed guards stationed in front of him, as well as his family and the Tillerson boys all seemingly in a strange cult-like alliance. It was only until Cecelia came to her husband’s side and told him that he not only died two years ago, but that he should run from this place, that Royal realized how dangerous this future was. 

And once more, as she always tends to be, at the center of it all was the future version of Autumn, staring down Royal as if she expected his arrival in that time. What is discovered later, after Royal almost kills the unhinged visitor to protect himself and his family’s secrets, is that Autumn is likely a future version of his granddaughter Amy. How the sweet and innocent Amy becomes a malicious and strange Autumn remains to be seen, but sadly, the last time Amy is seen is when she is taken away by Rebecca, who conveniently appears at Rhett’s bull riding championship and whisks her daughter away. 

So what will season 2 reveal? What mysteries will it unravel? Is Autumn actually Amy? Where has Rebecca been? How will Sheriff Hawk get back to her time? Where or when is Perry? Will Royal reveal who he is, and is his glimpse of the future inevitable? 

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