The Phenomenon of 'Yellowstone' Is Inspiring Every Major Streamer to Round Up Their Own Western

Yellowstone's enormous success might seem like a relatively recent phenomenon, especially with the series drawing extra attention lately over Kevin Costner's rumored departure from the Dutton family drama. But Taylor Sheridan's contemporary Western has actually been rustling up record-breaking ratings for nearly five years, over an equal amount of seasons.

While the show's popularity can certainly be measured by its massive viewership since debuting on the Paramount Network in 2018, an even bigger indicator of its success has been its ability to spawn multiple other hits — and attract Hollywood heavyweights Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford in the process. Yellowstone may have laid the foundation, but prequels 1883 and 1923 have helped build the Dutton saga into an ever-expanding world that could give the Marvel Cinematic Universe a run for its spandex.

The pair of successful prequels proved that fans' appetite for the genre was far from satiated. That prompted Sheridan and his team to keep the pipeline stuffed with more sequels, prequels and spin-offs set in and around that majestic stretch of coveted Montana land. On top of 1923's second season and 1883's Bass Reeves spinoff, faithful Dutton followers can also look forward to the in-development 6666 and the recently announced 1944. And among those aforementioned rumblings of Costner's exit, we also got confirmation of yet another entry, fronted by Matthew McConaughey.

Of course, if Yellowstone's impressive ratings and Sheridan's growing stable of connected series aren't enough to convince you of the franchise's lasso-like grip on viewers, then the universe's wider influence on the TV landscape should do the trick. The popularity and continued growth of Sheridan's seemingly unstoppable empire hasn't gone unnoticed by other networks and streaming platforms, all of which are eager to follow in his trailblazing footsteps.

The last couple of years have seen a stampede of new Western series, from AMC+'s That Dirty Black Bag and Epix's Billy the Kid to Prime Video's The English and the CW's Walker — and its spinoff, Walker: Independence — all hoping to duplicate that Dutton magic. Paramount+ has even attempted to cash in on its own success with the non-Yellowstone neo-Western Joe Pickett.

But these series barely scratch the surface of the new shows saddling up to capitalize on the genre's white-hot resurgence. Nearly every big streamer and network — from Netflix and Prime Video to FX and even the Hallmark Channel — are prepping new takes on the TV Western and its sub-genres. So while we eagerly await the second half of Yellowstone's fifth season to drop this summer, it seems we'll be enjoying Westerns long after the dysfunctional Duttons have settled their differences.

Prime Video

Josh Brolin (Royal Abbott)

Richard Foreman/Prime Video

No stranger to the genre, Prime Video has already found gun-slinging success in the wake of Yellowstone's popularity. Amazon Original's The English and Outer Range both scored critical acclaim, while the latter also earned a rabid following eager to crack the series' many mysteries. Thankfully, those eager fans will be treated to a second season of the Josh Brolin-fronted supernatural neo-Western. While there's no official word on when the series will return to address the first season's cliffhangers and unanswered questions, production has already started on the next batch of episodes, suggesting a late-2023 or early-2024 release.

But Amazon isn't solely banking on Outer Range to bring in big-sky oglers. The streamer has also tapped True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto to craft an original Western series. Amazon and Pizzolatto have remained tight-lipped on specifics; but according to The Hollywood Reporter, the series will be in the tradition of ensemble Westerns, focused on a "former outlaw who must reckon with a threat from his past in order to keep the life and family he has worked so hard to build." Given the popularity and acclaim of True Detective, especially its revered first season, this project is likely to be a pretty big deal.


BTS, Jessica Matten as Sgt. Bernadette Manuelito - Dark Winds _ Season 1, Episode 6

Michael Moriatis/Stalwart Productions/AMC

Prime Video isn't the only streaming platform eager to get back in the saddle with a proven series. Western-flavored murder mystery Dark Winds earned plenty of critical acclaim, resulting in the Zahn McClarnon-led noir thriller quickly being renewed for a second season.

The next installment, which is confirmed to drop before the end of 2023, is also adding some fresh faces. Actors Jeri Ryan and Nicholas Logan will join the cast, while show-runner John Wirth — who previously oversaw genre favorites Hell on Wheels and Hap and Leonard — will take the reins of the series.

While Dark Winds' dedicated audience can rest easy knowing the series is good for at least another six-episode run, fans of the streamer's That Dirty Black Bag are still awaiting word on the gritty spaghetti Western's return. Despite positive reviews, the show generated little buzz, which could lead to it being put out to pasture.


Yellowstone's growing empire has also gotten the attention of streaming giant Netflix. The home of huge hits such as Stranger Things and Squid Game is locking and loading not one but a pair of high-profile, impressively pedigreed Westerns.

First up, limited series American Primeval is lining up the talent both in front of and behind the camera. Directed and executive produced by Peter Berg — who developed beloved sports drama Friday Night Lights — the six-episode show is said to explore the birth of the American West.

Set in the untamed wilderness, the series also promises "violent collisions of cultures, religion and communities," according to Netflix. Actor Taylor Kitsch — also of Friday Night Lights fame — stars alongside an ensemble that also includes prolific genre performer Shea Whigham (Boardwalk Empire, Perry Mason). Toss in a story overseen by The Revenant scribe Mark L. Smith, and it seems Netflix is doing all it can to set this one up for success.

But Netflix isn't putting all its Yellowstone-like aspirations in one saddle bag, as it's also ordered The Abandons. Coming from Kurt Sutter, who created biker drama Sons of Anarchy and its spinoff Mayans M.C., the 10-episode series will be set in 1850s Oregon. Casting for the ambitious project is still in the early stages, but Game of Thrones favorite Lena Headey has been confirmed to star.


Timothy Olyphant in Justified: City Primeval

Chuck Hodes/FX

Long before John Dutton was brooding in his 10-gallon hat, Justified's Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) was already making a Stetson look cool. Of course, while the contemporary cowboy rode off into the sunset some seven years ago, Yellowstone's undeniable success has made a strong case for his return.

Dubbed Justified: City Primeval, the sequel moves the timeline ahead 15 years and shifts the action from the hollers of Kentucky to the crime-riddled streets of Miami and Detroit. Whether the limited series — based on author Elmore Leonard's novel of the same name — will lead to additional seasons is unclear. But fans can look forward to at least eight new episodes of Givens doling out his infectious mix of swagger, justice and one-liners when the series moseys onto FX this summer.

Hallmark Channel

2023 Hallmark Media/Photographer: David Brown

The Hallmark Channel is synonymous with feel-good holiday flicks, family-friendly dramas and plenty of soapy, romantic fare. But even the home of sappy made-for-TV-movies has made its play for a piece of the Yellowstone pie.

Its recently released Ride is an episodic rodeo drama that carries all the, er, hallmarks of a Sheridan series, from strained familial relations and tragic losses to a beloved family ranch facing financial ruin. But surface similarities aside, Ride is set in Colorado — home to many of the channel's wholesome love stories — and it stars film and TV staple Nancy Travis, so it feels right at home on the network. Whether this mix of Dutton inspiration and Hallmark DNA will click is yet to be determined, but we look forward to digging our spurs in and finding out.

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