The Paramount Network's hit modern western Yellowstone and its star-studded cast have garnered a passionate fan following since its debut in 2018. Viewership has just continued to rise since the series premiere, partially thanks to movie star Kevin Costner leading the cast and partially because the show really is that good. Season 4 of Yellowstone premiered on Nov. 7, 2021, drawing in a whopping 8 million total views, which was up 104% from the Season 3 premiere. This made it the most-watched cable series telecast since a special 2018 episode of The Walking Dead. Who even knows what records they'll set throughout Yellowstone season 5. The show has become the most popular series on cable, and for good reason.
Centered around a modern ranching empire in the state of Montana, the show is gritty, full of action, and features loads of family drama that keeps fans coming back for more, season after season. Whether you're a die-hard fan looking to learn a little bit more about the show or you're curious about what all of the fuss is about, you've come to the right place. Here's everything you could possibly want to know about the hit series, but rest assured, it is definitely worth the watch.
The show was a first for the Paramount Network
The network decided to take a chance on the show, and it became the very first scripted series on the newly branded network. They started with an initial order of 10 episodes and grew from there based on the show's popularity. Not only did the network have a hit on its hands, but now it seems like every other network has been trying to replicate its success by launching western shows. Westerns are back, and we're here for it.
Paramount Network Kent Alterman told Deadline that Yellowstone is a cornerstone of the network.
"We really want things to be cinematic with really great storytelling and have complex, nuanced, complicated characters where the setting is almost like a prime character of the whole piece," Alterman said. "The best example of that is Yellowstone. It's very cinematic. It has a movie star in Kevin Costner. It's got really deep, rich, complicated characters, the great interpersonal family relationships, and it can just keep exploring a lot of different stories with those characters."
What is Yellowstone about?
The popular series follows the Dutton family in Montana, as they own the largest ranch in the United States. Their ranch is literally so big, its the size of the entire state of Rhode Island. The series is centered around the Dutton ranch's fight to keep its borders intact come hell or high water as a nearby Native American Indian Reservation, land developers, rival ranching families, and Yellowstone National Park all try to encroach onto their territory.
Kevin Costner leads the series as Dutton patriarch John Dutton who does everything in his power to maintain his legacy with the help of his adult children. There are some rough family dynamics going on and some questionable ethics since John is willing to go to the dark side to get what he wants. Outside of the drama and action, there are also some sweet love stories, specifically centered around his daughter Beth's romance with a longtime ranch hand and his son Kayce's marriage to his Native American wife Monica.
Who wrote Yellowstone?
Series creator Taylor Sheridan based the series on his childhood. Well, kind of. Taylor Sheridan as an actor, is best known for portraying the role of David Hale on the FX show Sons of Anarchy. He became sick of acting and decided to start writing scripts which changed the trajectory of his career in a major way. After writing numerous scripts that quickly gained the attention of Hollywood, including an Oscar nod, the Paramount Network allowed him to write his own series with Yellowstone. Sheridan had grown up in rural areas of Montana and Texas and used that as his inspiration to create the series, which helped bring authenticity to the modern ranch setting.
In addition to his many hit movies, Sheridan has been hard at work expanding the Yellowstone universe with multiple spinoff series, including the new prequel 1923, which stars Harrison Ford.
How to Stream the Series
Yellowstone isn't available to stream on any of the big streaming platforms like Netflix or Hulu. Confusingly, it's also not available on Paramount's streaming network, Paramount+. However, if you want to watch Yellowstone without cable, you can purchase DVDs on Amazon Prime or stream the series on Peacock.
The Dutton Property is a Real Montana Ranch
The majority of Yellowstone National Park is in Wyoming, but there is a small percentage that is in Montana, where the show is based. Filming locations include parts of Montana as well as Utah in earlier seasons.
The setting for the Yellowstone Ranch is The Chief Joseph Ranch. The ranch currently isn't accepting reservations due to filming restrictions but keep checking back...that could change once Paramount finishes filming the second set of episodes for Yellowstone season 5.
Yellowstone filmed in Park City, Utah as well, according to IMDb, but its fourth and fifth seasons were all in Montana. Aren't we glad it wasn't on some soundstage in Hollywood like so many other shows? It makes it feel so much more authentic.
The cast is iconic
The Yellowstone cast is one of the best parts of the entire show. Kevin Costner stars as John Dutton, Luke Grimes as his youngest son Kayce Dutton, Kelly Reilly as his only daughter Beth Dutton, Wes Bentley as his oldest son Jamie Dutton, and Cole Hauser as the Duttons' trusty head ranch hand Rip Wheeler. Together these lead characters really create something special on set and have helped make the series so popular over the course of its four, and counting, seasons. Not to mention, many of the members of the bunkhouse crew are real cowboys who help out behind the scenes with horse wrangling, training, and more.
Some of the cast members have even worked together in the past. Before appearing together in Yellowstone, Wes Bentley and Danny Huston (an early-season Dutton family foe) previously appeared together in season four of American Horror Story.
Dave Annabel (the short-lived Lee Dutton) and Luke Grimes also previously appeared together in the show Brothers and Sisters.
Meanwhile, Yellowstone lead and Oscar-winner Kevin Costner and Ian Bohen, who plays ranch hand and livestock agent Ryan on the show, had filmed a previous western together. They both appeared in the 1994 film Wyatt Earp. Not only that, but they played the same character. Costner was the titular lead in the movie, while Bohen played the younger version of Wyatt Earp.
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This article was originally published in April of 2020.
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