Yellowstone Sequels And Spinoffs We Want To See Next
Created by actor and writer Taylor Sheridan, "Yellowstone" took the TV world by storm when it premiered in 2018. Set in the mountains of Montana, the series chronicles the life of a ranching family led by patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner) who must defend the Yellowstone-Dutton Ranch from those who would seek to take it from them, including neighboring Native Americans, powerful industrialists, and even the government.
Thanks to brilliant performances and gripping, unpredictable storylines, "Yellowstone" became an instant hit. And if there’s one thing assured when a TV series gets as big as "Yellowstone," it’s that a spinoff will soon follow. The prequel series, "1883," launched in 2021, and followed the Dutton’s ancestors as they made their way along the Oregon trail in the latter half of the 19th century. Another period drama came next, with "1923" landing the following year, starring Harrison Ford as Jacob Dutton, who must fend off attacks from rival ranchers in the era of Prohibition.
We know that more spinoffs are already in the works, with Sheridan ready to expand his story on the frontier, and star Matthew McConaughey rumored to be making a run at the franchise. And with talk that "Yellowstone" may be nearing its end, we thought it was the right time to talk about the next sequels, prequels, and spinoffs of TV’s hottest show that we’d like to see.
A true sequel to 1883
When the first "Yellowstone" spinoff, "1883," was announced as a prequel that would chronicle how the Duttons founded their ranch, many probably assumed that this would be a multi-year series. So it came as quite a shock to audiences when the finale aired and the announcement was made that there would be no further seasons about James and Margaret Dutton, but that’s exactly what we want to see. Meanwhile, a reported "1883" Season 2 will recount a completely unrelated true story.
With a cast of stars led by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, the simplest "1883" sequel would be a follow-up that shows the early years of the Yellowstone ranch. Flashing forward to 1890, these early days could be marked by the Dutton’s then-friendly relationship with the Native Americans who live nearby and their tenuous relationship with an expanding federal government. Setting the series just after Montana became a state could also offer plenty of material about the changing way of life in the American North, a common theme in "Yellowstone" stories.
The series could even center on clashes with the trio of real-life industrialists known as the "Copper Kings," mining tycoons who transformed the region that decade. With a hero that represents the dying life of the American pioneer and a villain who stands for the gilded age of the future, an "1883" sequel would have all the trappings of a new Western classic.
An 1883 spinoff for Thomas and Noemi
The ensemble cast of "1883" also includes Pinkerton agent named Thomas, who helps guide a group of immigrants across the frontier. By the end of the story, Thomas falls in love with one of them, mother and widow Noemi, and they settle in Oregon together. A spinoff centered on Thomas and Noemi holds plenty of promise.
In fact, set in the Pacific Northwest in the late 1880s, the explosion of American railroads could form the backbone of this spinoff story. During that period, Chinese immigrants were the majority workforce for rail companies in the region, with a history of contentious relations, while it was Pinkerton agents who were often hired to prevent and break up labor strikes.
In this proposed series, Thomas would be brought in to squash an immigrant worker stoppage. His disdain for who he initially sees as greedy workers could give way to sympathy for their plight as Noemi reveals what the American dream means and how the rail companies are taking advantage of those at the bottom. With a roster of talented actors, rich characters, and a compelling and socially relevant story, a spinoff centered on Thomas and Noemi could be the best idea on the drawing board.
Tales of Broken Rock
"Yellowstone" has been praised for its portrayal of strong Native American characters. A rare show to explore what life is like for Native Americans living on reservations, there have been several stories that examined real-world problems, with one episode shining a light on the problem of missing Indigenous women.
But whatever it has done for Native Americans on television, "Yellowstone" and its spinoffs have mostly used them as supplementary characters to a larger narrative about the people who stole their land. If you ask us, it’s time for a spinoff series that puts a focus on the lives of the Native Americans who have and continue to play a critical role in the evolution of America.
For a series like this, the premise is wide open. It could be set in the 19th century and follow the characters we briefly met in "1883," showing their harrowing fight for survival against encroaching pioneers. It could spin out of the story of Teonnah in "1923," or explore a 21st-century struggle just prior to "Yellowstone," where Kayce Dutton could flip the script to become a minor supporting character. But with a dearth of popular shows that explore the Native American story, "Yellowstone" should seek to add to the likes of "Reservation Dogs" and "Dark Winds."
How Yellowstone dealt with organized crime
When "Yellowstone" first launched, its first seasons were more like a gritty action series than the character-focused melodrama that has led many to label it a "soap opera for men." Early in its run, the Duttons seemed to be constantly under threat from dangerous villains, always on the run from gun-wielded madmen, and we’d love to see a spinoff, prequel, or sequel that takes the franchise back to its roots as a first-rate crime drama. To do it, a new series could follow the path set by "1883" and "1923" as a prequel, taking place at a time when organized crime could have posed a problem for the Duttons.
Though the mountains of Montana have never been the kind of landscape one conjures up when talking big city mafias, the region has not been without its criminal elements. Back in the 1960s, cities like Butte, Montana saw a rise in criminal activity; It was an area rife with money-making in the mining industry, and with an explosion of exhausted laborers came an industry of brothels, gambling, and extortion. Sure, crime in Montana in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s might not have risen to the levels of Chicago or New York mafia activity, but there’s still plenty of organized crime stories to explore, with a unique Western flavor only barely touched on so far in "1923."
Spencer’s battle during World War I
Among one of the many surprises of "1923" was the discovery that Dutton’s son Spencer — who had been glimpsed as a young child during a flashback sequence in an episode of "Yellowstone" – begins the series far from home. A big game hunter in North Africa, Spencer is estranged from the family not due to any specific incident, but because of his traumatic experiences while serving in World War I that left him feeling out of place in the mountains of Montana. Before being called home to help his family we are treated to a few of Spencer’s own flashbacks of his struggles during the war, which were impressive enough to make us want to see more.
In what could be dubbed "Yellowstone: 1917," series star Brandon Sklenar could reprise his role as Spencer as he fights on the Western front. From the early events of "1923" we know that he refused to read letters from his Aunt Cara while in the army, and with that entryway, a spinoff series could be narrated by actress Helen Mirren through the correspondence sent his way, giving the stories a deeper connection to the Duttons back home. Because we really want to see how a brilliant writer and filmmaker like Sheridan would envision a war epic, as the brief but visceral moments shown in "1923" are a tantalizing glimpse into a potential spinoff about how Spencer came to be the man that he is.
Rip’s real story
Since the debut of "Yellowstone," there’s been no character more popular than breakout star Cole Hauser as ranch enforcer Rip Wheeler. An angry, bitter cowboy who hides a heart of gold, there is nothing Rip isn’t willing to do for the ranch, and the series has already spent some time flashing back to his younger days to show us just what a great debt he owes the Duttons. These flashbacks include actors Kyle Red Silverstein and Forest Smith as younger versions of Rip and bunkhouse leader Lloyd, whose friendship with Rip has long been a pillar of "Yellowstone."
But while Season 5 has taken several detours to reveal Rip’s backstory on the ranch, we still think there’s enough left to tell for its own series. Likewise, our pitch for a "Young Rip Wheeler" spinoff would be far more focused on the bunkhouse, with a younger Lloyd and other cowboy ranch hands forming the center of the story, rather than the bigger problems of the Yellowstone.
Perhaps this one is a miniseries, covering an unexplored gap of time that delves deeper into the friendship between Rip and Lloyd, as they spend time off the ranch where a dangerous inciting incident causes trouble for them both. With a pair of characters that each have a sinister dark side and a mysterious past, it feels like there’s a story here begging to be told, and a cast of eager actors ready to take the spotlight.
John III’s early days as Yellowstone leader
The adventures of a young Rip Wheeler are hardly the only flashbacks we’ve been privy to in "Yellowstone." Most of the recurring stories in the past we’ve seen have actually revolved around a younger John Dutton, as played by actor Josh Lucas. We’ve seen his earlier days as a married father to young children, with his wife Evelyn played by Gretchen Mol, and we think it’s time we got a further look at what their life was like in the days when they were first given control of the Yellowstone.
We’re positing a prequel that sees a newly married John Dutton and Evelyn struggling to gain respect in the community as father John Sr. suddenly falls ill and is unable to keep outside forces at bay. Far from the sure-handed, steady leader we know John to be today, this younger version isn’t quite prepared for the problems that arise when the ranch unexpectedly finds itself without a leader. But by his side is Evelyn, a confident, strong woman who shows him how to be the man he is to become.
As for the villains, a younger Garrett Randall — eventual father of Jamie — could be a potential rival, a thug for a bigger bad. This would also add another, more eyebrow-raising layer to John’s adoption of Jamie, doing what any good prequel does by adding a further dimension to an existing story.
Barrel racers gone wild
Strong women have been a hallmark of "Yellowstone" right from the beginning, with the likes of Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) and Senator Perry (Wendy Moniz) providing powerful characters of the fairer sex to rival any man on the show. But what was even more striking was the introduction of women into the ranch’s cowboy clique, when the likes of Avery (Tanaya Beatty), Mia (Eden Brolin), and Laramie (Hassie Harrison) joined the bunkhouse to work on the Yellowstone. The latter two were veterans of barrel racing, an old rodeo pastime and a horse racing sport that is dominated by women.
At the end of Season 4 however, Mia decides that the life of a rancher on the Yellowstone is far too risky for her following a fight that left Walker stabbed and near death. She hasn’t shown up in Season 5, and we’re thinking this is the perfect opportunity to give actress Eden Brolin her own spinoff, a series focused on the life of the barrel racing rodeo riders.
Laramie leaving the Yellowstone to join her is certainly a possibility, but not a requirement. Besides, we’d wager there’s more than enough drama and action on the rodeo circuit all ready to provide plenty of stories for Mia. At the same time, Brolin seems primed to lead her own series after supporting roles in shows like "Beyond" and "Yellowstone," and when you put it all together, this feels like a spinoff that needs to happen.
Chronicles of Courtright
The "Yellowstone" franchise has had some stellar guest stars, including Tom Hanks and even Sheridan himself. But arguably the best cameo the saga has seen yet is "Goliath" and "Fargo" star, Billy Bob Thornton. In the second episode of that series, Thornton turns up as U.S. Marshal Jim Courtright, a ruthless lawgiver who helps James Dutton and Shea Brennan get justice after a group of bandits attacks their camp and kill several people. What may have surprised some viewers however is that Courtright is actually based on a real-life Marshall and infamous wild Western gunman, and we think he’s deserving of his own spinoff.
With a big screen star in the title role of "Yellowstone: The Jim Courtright Story," a series centered on the latter days of the notorious gunfighter would be packed with high drama and sharp-shooting action. According to history, Courtright was a less than honorable lawman, said to have been involved in a protection racket while serving in Fort Worth, Texas, and later pursued by justice-seekers himself. He made his way from Texas to New Mexico, and saw plenty of gun fights along the way, getting involved with a number of well-known Wild West figures including Luke Short and Bat Masterson. A series centered on his exploits, with a broad cast of famous gunmen, could be just the kind of classic Western throwback the "Yellowstone" saga needs, and a chance for Sheridan to live out several boyhood fantasies.
Dutton Sr. tales
In a Season 2 episode of "Yellowstone," we met John Dutton’s father at the end of his life, played by Dabney Coleman. Said to be in his 90s, we’re still not quite sure how he connects to the Duttons in "1883." It’s possible he’s the young Jack Dutton from "1923," or perhaps the future son of Spencer and Alex. Whatever the case may be, his heyday running the Yellowstone Ranch was probably the ’50s, ’60s, or ’70s, and that’s a story we want to see.
The era in which John Dutton Sr. would have ruled the ranch would have been a rocky one. The ’60s and ’70s in particular saw a precipitous rise in tourism, as the mountainous regions became a respite for many as bigger and bigger cities sprung up all across the nation. The ’70s saw a new state constitution that made attempts at protecting the environment, while population changes led to the decline of railroads, and a rapid increase in cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles.
All of these advances could serve as more material for a "Yellowstone" spinoff focused on the rapid changes in Western life, as John Dutton Sr. would be the last generation to be clinging to the pioneer mindset. At the same time, his young son John III (later played by Costner) could be rebellious youth who embraces the advances that new technology brings, as generations clash over the future of the ranch.
Cara’s story in Ireland
Though "1883" took the "Yellowstone" story back more than 130 years, there’s still so much that has yet to be explored in the distant past of the Dutton line. In "1923," we met Cara Dutton, played by Academy Award-winner Mirren, an Irish immigrant who came to America, eventually marrying Jacob Dutton at a point in the past we have yet to see. While Cara and Jacob raised James’ children as their own, they have remained childless themselves, which seems rather curious for the day. We’re betting there’s a story behind it though, and it’s one we think deserves to be explored.
Beginning with Cara’s story in Ireland, possibly in the aftermath of the Great Famine in the mid-19th century, we could see a new actress take Mirren’s place as a young Cara who makes her way to America, where — presumably in Tennessee — she meets Jacob, and falls in love. Or perhaps there is more to their story than something so straightforward. Was she Jacob’s wife during the Civil War? Did she tend to the homestead while he was fighting the Union, or did she only meet him as the nation was still healing? Could their decision to not have their own children have been forced upon them, thanks to a devastating disease, or the death of their own children when they were younger? With so many questions and possibilities, a spinoff prequel for Cara seems like a good place to start.
No, we’re not proposing a futuristic sci-fi spinoff, set in a world of flying cars, or a post-apocalyptic dystopia. But there’s a story to be told about a fractured Dutton clan some 20 years hence, after the death of Costner’s John Dutton. From Dutton-by-blood Tate, to adopted heir Carter, we could see family feuds spark a fight for the family legacy, as different factions vie for control of what’s left of the Yellowstone Ranch.
At the same time, forces around Montana could have finally taken much of what was once theirs. Whoever comes out on top will have to fight harder than ever to stay alive, as an automated future threatens to destroy everything they’ve built. Meanwhile, a prophecy from the time of their ancestor James Dutton — that the region’s Indigenous people will rise up to take back their land — casts a pall over everything, as the nearby Broken Rock Reservation stands to reclaim the Yellowstone. But as it happens, the reservation may actually be the Dutton’s salvation and the only way of preserving the land they’ve spent more than 150 years protecting.