Taylor Sheridan in 'The Last Cowboy'

'The Last Cowboy': Everything 'Yellowstone' Fans Need To Know About Taylor Sheridan's Reality Show

He may be known for the gripping fictional universes he creates, but if Taylor Sheridan has proven anything, it's that he's not afraid to step outside his comfort zone. His reality TV endeavor — aptly titled The Last Cowboy — is just one of many examples.

Fully embracing the monopoly he currently holds on the Western genre, Sheridan teamed up with the Country Music Network in 2019 to create a series that gives us a wild, behind-the-scenes look at America's rich cowboy culture. In particular, it involves the world of competitive horse reining.

The show follows eight top horse trainers as they vie against one another in an effort to win an elite, Western-style competition. It's a real-life version of Sheridan's hit TV series Yellowstone — but with an entirely different set of stakes. 

With a mix of high-octane horsemanship, rivalries and a whole lot of drama, The Last Cowboy is a must-see for anyone curious about the life of a modern-day rodeo wrangler.

Interested yet? Here's everything you need to know before tuning in.

It's A Documentary-Style Show

The Last Cowboy is a documentary-style series that "chronicles the lives of riders in the high-stakes sport of horse reining, culminating in a record-setting million-dollar competition." The show takes us on an up-close journey with the eight reining riders, each with a unique story to tell.

From family drama and grudges to romance and heartache, the emotionally charged series provides audiences with a deeper look into the lives and livelihoods of modern cowboys. With its raw cinematography and intimate interviews, it's easy to draw parallels between the real-life horse trainers on The Last Cowboy and the characters Sheridan brings to life in Yellowstone.

And it's no surprise that the filmmaker and screenwriter is able to so perfectly capture the essence of the Western lifestyle. After all, he's a cowboy himself.

Sheridan learned the ins and outs of the ranching business when he was a kid. While he eventually jetted off to Hollywood, he never forgot his roots and continues to use his experience to shape his work. In 2021, he was even inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.

It Follows A Competition Sheridan Created

Now, Sheridan didn't just randomly pick a competition for The Last Cowboy to focus on. He actually created the contest himself.

The show's premiere centers on Sheridan's inaugural Run for a Million, which he designed to "celebrate and grow the sport of reining." It's a four-day event in Las Vegas, Nevada, that pits 16 professional National Reining Horse Association riders against one another in an all-out battle for a purse of $1 million. Riders can win additional prizes, including a Cow Horse Challenge, an Open Shoot Out and a non-pro championship.

Never one to think small, Sheridan said in a 2019 interview that he wanted to create "an event that was bigger than any event in Western equine sports." According to his experience, most of the competitions these professionals participate in are located in "empty colosseums" with very small audiences. So when he shared his idea for Run for a Million, he said he was told that he couldn't charge for tickets.

Sheridan's response? "I said, 'Watch me sell it out.' And we did."

He added: "When they walked in and saw 7,000 people, there was an intensity that was unexpected. Then they come back the next year, and the crowd had grown from sold out to adding 1,500 standing room only.

"It's taken on a life of its own. It's our Super Bowl."

It's Been On For 3 Seasons

Since The Last Cowboy premiered back in 2019, it's been on for three seasons. Each one follows a new crop of riders and their respective journeys to the Run for a Million. It showcases everything from training sessions and practice runs to last-minute adjustments before competitions. And with each episode running almost an hour long, there's no shortage of thrilling footage and captivating stories to follow.

Whether a season 4 will be announced is still unknown. But according to the competition's website, there will be a Run for a Million in 2023 from Aug. 16-19. The homepage showcases riders in action, along with a few recognizable faces from Yellowstone.

While we're sure none of the actors are competing, it looks as if there may be an opportunity to meet some of the cast. Again, nothing is official, but it's not crazy to assume that some of Sheridan's characters will be there to cheer on these brave and dedicated riders. 

You Can Stream It 

Whether you're a fan of the show or simply looking for an entertaining way to learn more about reining, The Last Cowboy is worth a watch. It's inspiring and full of surprises — just like any good Western should be. So if you want to check it out, you can stream the first season on Paramount+ and all three on CMT.

READ MORE: '1923' Star Harrison Ford Shares What It's Really Like Working With Taylor Sheridan