To paraphrase a line from a 1976 song by country singer Ed Bruce: “Mammas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.” If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the expansive “Yellowstone” world and all its offshoots, it’s this. While the contemporary cowboy’s lifestyle may have its perks, such as open spaces, farm-raised cattle, and well-tailored denim jackets, it is also a solitary one that is plagued by greed, competitiveness, and treachery.
Now the most popular show on television, “Yellowstone” began on the obscure Paramount Network as a down-to-earth look at the struggle of a single Montana ranching dynasty to defend its ancestral land holdings from outside interference. After the success of “Yellowstone,” creator, writer, and showrunner Taylor Sheridan launched as many as six spin-off series, some of which are still airing. He is also skillfully manipulating each production to drive even more profit into his coffers through location and bovine rentals.
In a recent in-depth feature for The Hollywood Reporter, Sheridan took stock of his empire and drew a number of disturbing parallels between himself and the heroic yet tragic tycoons of “Yellowstone.” Sheridan said, “I don’t know why I was surprised — I wrote it into ‘Yellowstone.'” He said, “I was surprised by the amount of political influence that we have” with the recently bought property where he authorizes Paramount to shoot his series. Sheridan said that he wasn’t the only one to be taken aback by the bleakness of the cowboy lifestyle. Kevin Costner, who plays John Dutton, was reportedly less than delighted to learn the depths to which his hero would go in order to protect Yellowstone Ranch.
The Godfather On Montana’s Most Extensive Ranch
Sheridan was interviewed by James Hibberd, the profile’s author, to dispel reports that he and Costner had a disagreement about Dutton’s development. The Daily Mail claims (take this with a grain of salt) that following an argument with Costner over Dutton’s season 2 plot, Sheridan urged him to “stick to acting.”
A family conflict between the Duttons and the Becks, who have opposing interests in Yellowstone, is chronicled in season 2 of “Yellowstone,” which you can skip if you choose. At the season’s climax, things take a fairly dark turn, with even the heroic Dutton patriarch getting involved. Sheridan recalls the tense exchanges he had with Costner as the situation unfolded:
The character, he stated, “wasn’t going in the direction he wanted,” which caused him great distress during Season 2. I reminded Kevin that we were staying at Montana’s largest ranch and that he had been warned that it was like being in “The Godfather.” so the Godfather is murdering people, are you really so taken aback by it?
It was Sheridan’s opinion that Costner had “clung to [Dutton’s] commitments to his family and way of life,” to the detriment of his ability to see “Dutton’s big failing,” which is that he isn’t “evolving with the times — not finding different revenue streams [for the ranch].” “I don’t know that he was wrong,” Sheridan does concede. Season 3 was when we re-entered it.
As “Yellowstone” has progressed, Dutton has become steadily more evil, thus it appears that Sheridan ultimately prevailed. In light of the program’s announcement that it will end after five seasons, and of Costner’s announcement that this would be his last year on the show, it seems as though Costner was indeed the Godfather of the “Yellowstone” universe.