'Outer Range': That Cliffhanger Explained and Lingering Questions Answered

The sci-fi Western predictably provided both answers and more questions in that season 1 finale.

Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
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  • Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Jennifer Bisset
4 min read
A bright light shines down on hippy-type character Autumn, played by Imogen Poots.

Imogen Poots plays the mysterious Autumn in Outer Range.

Prime Video

Prime Video's Outer Range sets up a mystery box in the plains of Wyoming, featuring cowboys, time travel and bottomless holes. In true maze-building fashion, the season 1 finale answered a few questions, while making sure to leave us with plenty more.

What is the hole really? What's Autumn's true identity? Is Royal from the past? Let's dive into all those questions and more in the spoiler-packed section below.

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Joy in the past

In the penultimate episode (episode 7), Deputy Sheriff Joy stumbles across a huge rock marked with the symbol of the mining company Royal researched. Following a trail of the black substance connected to the void, Joy enters a forest.

On the other side, she emerges in the past, where a stampede of wild bison stream before her. She notices tepees in the distance and realizes she isn't in Kansas anymore.

In Amazon Prime Video's Outer Range, Josh Brolin is a rancher fighting for his land and family who discovers a possibly supernatural mystery in Wyoming's wilderness.

Josh Brolin is a rancher fighting for his land and family who discovers a possibly supernatural mystery in Wyoming's wilderness.

Richard Foreman/Prime Video

Royal's royally big secret

Also in episode 7, we settle in for the tale of what happened in Royal's past. While showing off the void to his son Perry, Royal reveals the reason why he ran away as a kid.

While on a hunting trip, the 9-year-old Royal accidentally shot his father in the chest. Unable to drag his father home, Royal wished he could disappear... and his dream came true. Royal discovered the void and took his escape route. This all happened in 1886. When he came back out of the hole, he'd traveled into the future, to 1968.

After hearing this, Perry, in search of his lost wife Rebecca, jumps into the hole -- but surprise! This time the hole closes up, leaving a ring of red dust in its wake.

Amy finds Rebecca, then goes missing

While Rhett tries to win the rodeo, Amy leaves her grandmother's side and stumbles across a stunning discovery: Rebecca. Her long-lost mother makes a miraculous return, calling Amy over for an epic hug.

Amy asks where Rebecca has been all this time, and Rebecca says cryptically, "I had to hide."

Before giving a proper explanation, she whisks Amy away, to the horror of Grandmother Cecilia.

Cowboy Noah Tillerson drives his red truck.

Noah Reid as Billy Tillerson.

Prime Video

Luke strikes gold

When discovering the hole has closed up, the eldest Tillerson son digs as many new holes as it takes to find the black powder that has something to do with the physical form of time. His efforts pay off and he finds the key to his money-making plans. Could this be the beginnings of the mining company? Maybe -- as long as they can stop the bison herds from rampaging through the passages they unlock.

Autumn is Amy, Amy is Autumn

Aha! Finally we learn the true identity of Autumn Rivers. Thanks to a scar both she and Amy share on their forehead, Royal connects the dots and realizes he was about to murder his own granddaughter. Autumn says she doesn't have any memory of her life before the age of 9. It's no coincidence that Amy is also 9. Does Rebecca take her through the hole in search of Perry? It's one possibility.


Autumn and her fellow cult members at the mine in the future.

Amazon Studios

What does the future hold?

Plenty of questions remain to be answered, not least being how the hole itself works. While some who enter it emerge in the future, others are sent to the past. Perry believes the hole takes you where you need to go, that there's a "plan."

The mountain

Remember when the mountain disappeared? It coincided with Autumn and Royal shaking hands. Now that we know they're related and displaced in time, maybe we'll see more Earth-altering occurrences (although nothing seemingly happens when they shake hands in the first episode). Maybe that mountain was momentarily teleported to the future.

Who was Rebecca escaping from?

Autumn initially carries a lot of cash and later demands more funds from a mysterious benefactor over the phone. There may be other parties working in the background we've yet to encounter, and they may have had something to do with Rebecca's disappearance.

A child's drawing of over a dozen people in blue and yellow clothing.

Amy's painting of what she thinks heaven looks like is uncannily similar to the mine in the future.

Amazon Studios

That pesky cult

Finally, Autumn is the leader of a cult in the future, where the members wear yellow uniforms. While it's clear they're keen on mining the black powder, their grand plans are another mystery waiting to be unraveled. In the first episode, Amy cryptically paints a picture of what she thinks heaven looks like, and it looks remarkably similar to the mine and the cult members in the future. Coincidence?

There's no word on whether Outer Range has been renewed for another season, and sadly the reviews have been favorable to mixed. Trippy sci-fi mysteries are all the rage at the moment (when haven't they been?), so let's hope another season flies out of the void to help tie up loose ends.

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