The Best Order To Watch Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone Spin-Off Series!

From 1883 to Bass Reeves

Intended as a prequel that dove into the initial origins of the Dutton family as a ranching dynasty, “1883” is, for all intents and purposes, a standalone miniseries spanning 10 episodes. Starting in Texas in, of course, 1883, it tells the story of how James (Tim McGraw) and Margaret Dutton (Faith Hill) led their family across the country. Initially having their sights set on Oregon, it is the death of their free-spirited and strong-willed daughter Elsa (Isabel May) on the wild, beautiful-but-harsh American plains she’s fallen in love with that leads them to sink roots in the land that becomes the Yellowstone Ranch.

Naturally, “1883” is our starting place. All 10 episodes are available on Paramount+. It sounds like “1883” will be chronologically followed by, or at least run concurrently with, “Lawmen: Bass Reeves.” This partly comes from the fact that the latter was originally titled “1883: The Bass Reeves Story.” But it’s also a logical assumption based on the fact that the show’s presumed protagonist, Bass Reeves, was a real person, commonly recognized as the first African American U.S. Marshal to serve west of the Mississippi River. And he was most active around the same era of “1883.”

“Lawmen: Bass Reeves” is also intended as an anthology series, with each season telling the story of a different iconic lawman in the history of the American West. No word yet on who future seasons will focus on, or if they will be set in chronological order. It is also unclear what (if any) role the Duttons will play in the show. We do know that David Oyelowo, Donald Sutherland, Shea Whigham, and Dennis Quaid are set to star in Season 1. It will be airing on Paramount+.

1923 to 1944

Next up is another crucial year in the evolution of the Dutton cattle dynasty, “1923.” Also airing on Paramount+, this one has probably the most serious star power behind it, with Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren playing the patriarch-matriarch duo of Jacob and Cara Dutton, brother and sister-in-law to Tim McGraw’s James of “1883.” It’s also when the way in which power on the plains begins to shift, encompassing not just the brute force and blunt violence of “1883,” but the use of money and influence. The big bad in “1923” isn’t a gunslinger. He’s more of a paper-pusher; a cunning, rich Englishman named Donald Whitfield who prefers to wield power through financial and legal means (though it also buys him plenty of firepower).

Not that it makes the events of “1923” any less brutal. In all, however, “1923” is where the struggles for control over land start to look a lot more like those that take center stage in “Yellowstone,” which the latter’s Wes Bentley has compared to “The Godfather.” At the time of writing, Season 2 of “1923” is scheduled to premiere in September of 2023, and is also slated to be its last season, presumably wrapping up this particular chapter in the Dutton family story.

We can assume that further evolution in this direction is what Taylor Sheridan has in mind for the next phase in the “Yellowstone”-verse. Though details are sparse at this moment, the next chapter for the Duttons, “1944,” is already in production. As is probably obvious, this is a series that will look at the evolution of the Yellowstone Ranch and the Dutton family during the final days of World War II.

Yellowstone and 6666

It’s here that we arrive in the present day and, along with it, the events of the flagship series “Yellowstone.” By now, those familiar with the show will probably have a good idea of just what Wes Bentley meant when he compared the show to “The Godfather.” This is a Dutton family just as acquainted with how to drive cattle as they are with how to drive a hostile takeover, and they’re well able to switch between legal-but-vicious and viciously extra-legal means.

They are also highly dysfunctional. Whether any members of the Dutton clan can fully trust each other, including Kevin Costner’s John Dutton III, is never quite clear, and the relationship between Bentley’s Jamie (John’s adopted son) and his stepsister Beth (Kelly Reilly) is probably one of the most unforgiving and hateful on television. While Season 5 is airing weekly on the Paramount Network, the first four seasons are all available on Peacock.

Seasons 4 and 5 have featured a large number of scenes that take place more than 1,000 miles south of Montana, down at the real-life 6666 Ranch (normally referred to as “the four sixes”) in Texas. John sent Jimmy (Jefferson White) down to the ranch in Season 4 in order to teach Jimmy how to be a real cowboy.

There’s been no word yet as to whether Jimmy or his romantic interest Emily (Kathryn Kelly), a veterinarian who works at the 6666 Ranch, will be featured in the planned spin-off “6666.” Though the 6666 Ranch has a history that goes back more than 100 years, we do know that the events of that spin-off will be set in the modern day. Though there’s no word where it will air, it’s very likely going to be on either Paramount Network or Paramount+.

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