The universe has already spawned 7 seasons of Western television, with varying levels of quality. Introducing audiences to a gritty new world of cowboys, politics, and family drama, Taylor Sheridan's quickly became a beloved series, resulting in multiple spin-offs in the works. The original series follows the family of John Dutton (Kevin Costner), as they fight to retain control of the historic Yellowstone Ranch in Montana from various opponents who seek to take his land. While Dutton has more land than any one man deserves, the show becomes more complex as he fights not only to defend his property but also to defend the natural world from modernization.
The Yellowstone Ranch is a beautiful piece of land, and Dutton believes that the only way to preserve and defend that natural land is for him to control it. His family has lived there for multiple generations, as explored in the prequel series, and . The were met with acclaim and success, leading to even more in the works, including one that's set to star Matthew McConaughey. Despite itself concluding with season 5, Taylor Sheridan will still have his hands full, with the ongoing and two more spin-offs planned, on top of his other ongoing series for Paramount+.
It's almost not fair to consider season 5 as the worst season, as it technically isn't complete. The first part of season 5 was released in late 2022, with 8 episodes. 6 more are set to release, concluding the show. Season 5 has been rather uneventful so far, continuing a trend from season 4. John Dutton has become governor, which is the only fresh part of the season. Otherwise, Kayce and Monica continue to struggle after a recent tragedy, which seems to be the way they've started off every year since season 3. Beth and Jamie continue to do their usual business, with Beth causing chaos and Jamie scheming.
Season 5's mid-season finale did set up some intrigue between Jamie, Beth, and their father. However, due to the drama involving , the ending may have to be drastically altered in a way that damages the series. Hopefully, the last 6 episodes see the conclusion they intended to have, and can at least end decently enough to not taint the rest of the franchise.
season 4 was heavily critiqued for being uneventful, after a masterful season 3. Season 4 sees Kayce and Monica taking a backseat as they settle into their new family home. Beth and Jamie's drama reaches a notable new climax which is perhaps the most interesting event of the season. John announces his run for governor, while the family seeks revenge for the violent events of the season 3 finale. Season 4 followed a number of notable smaller storylines, such as the feud between Lloyd and Walker, and the introduction of Carter as Rip and Beth's adopted son. Or not-son, as Beth made clear she wasn't his mother.
While some shows catch lightning in a bottle with their first season, was a rough start. Overall, the season is rather slow-paced, and zigzags between a number of plot lines, many of which feel over the top and melodramatic. is challenging to get through early on, but the introduction still does have its merits, establishing the Dutton family and the political intrigue of Taylor Sheridan'sworld. The acting is always on point, and the show grips in viewers with the magnificent beauty of Montana. Luckily, the series almost immediately makes major improvements with season 2.
With Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren starring,was bound to continue the universe's trend of prestige TV with great actors. While the series sets up intriguing events for its second season, season 1 wasn't particularly special. It sees the established ranch set up, in the 40-year gap following . The story follows many similar beats as modern , as the ranch is already being sought after by rivals. This made for a story that felt fairly redundant. Though, itself is often redundant, which doesn't limit its excitement, and is still being established.
only offered one season of television, but it was some of the best Taylor Sheridan has written in the world so far. Following James Dutton, John Dutton's great-grandfather, sees the journey that led to the establishment of the Dutton ranch in Montana, starting off in Texas. While the characters in have the comfort of their beautiful family home and armed defenders, takes place on a perilous frontiersman path. The show is slow paced, and spends a good amount of time on the drama of teenaged Elsa Dutton, which ends up paying off in a thrilling finale.
After season 1's controversial start, season 2 was a vast improvement. The conflict over the Yellowstone Ranch is revealed to be more complex, as previous enemies like Dan Jenkins and Thomas Rainwater become temporary allies, while new, more vicious enemies are introduced in the Beck Brothers. The violent conflict between the Duttons and the Beck Brothers is one of the most thrilling stories in the show, as the two sides trade blows through the last few episodes. Season 2 also begins to demonstrate the depth of the show's side characters, with the Bunkhouse group's dynamic becoming more prominent.
The universe's peak so far was season 3. To contrast the violent Beck Brothers in season 2, season 3 introduces a villain that's easy for modern audiences to root against: a massive corporation seeking to rip apart the Yellowstone Ranch and build a massive airport in its replacement. star Josh Holloway is exciting as the season's main antagonist, Roarke, with many verbal face-offs against Beth. season 3 also fully embraces the beauty of the ranch, with many of characters on a camping trip in the wilderness early in the season. This slow start ends up working to the season's benefit, as it ends with a strong finale.