Yellowstone’s timeline from 1883 to 1923 to now

From 1883 to present-day Montana.


18831923 and Yellowstone spoilers follow.

Yellowstone, co-created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson, is now one of Paramount’s most successful shows – and the universe is always expanding.

The saga of the Dutton family, owners of Montana’s largest ranch, debuted on our screens back in 2018 and has kept viewers enthralled for five seasons of family drama, blackmail, violence and betrayal.

The Western drama has since spawned two star-studded prequel shows, 1883 and 1923, revealing how the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch was founded and how the family kept it running through the advent of Western expansion, Prohibition, and the Great Depression.

The timeline spans over 100 years, so we’re here to break it all down for you.

1883: Where it all began

In 1883, James (Tim McGraw) and Margaret Dutton (Faith Hill) flee their life of poverty in Tennessee with their two children, Elsa (Isabel May) and John (Audie Rick), for a fresh start.

The family travel to Texas and join a wagon train full of immigrant settlers who are heading out west along the Oregon Trail.

After surviving numerous outside attacks, disease outbreaks and perilous conditions along the way, the Duttons are once again struck by tragedy when Elsa is fatally wounded during a confrontation with some Lakota warriors, who mistakenly believe the wagon party killed their families.

As the infection from her arrow wound grows deadlier by the hour, Elsa accepts her tragic fate and chooses her final resting place in Paradise Valley, Montana.

James and Margaret decide to settle their family in Paradise Valley after Elsa’s death, founding what would later become known as the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.

1893: Jacob Dutton becomes patriarch

Following James’ death in 1893, it’s revealed that Margaret wrote to his brother Jacob (Harrison Ford), pleading him to come to Montana and help her raise her two surviving children, John and Spencer.

However, by the time Jacob and his wife Cara (Helen Mirren) arrived, they found Margaret “frozen in a snowdrift,” while their two malnourished boys were also on the brink of death.

Jacob and Cara decided to raise John and Spencer as their own, as well as take over the ranch James had founded.

1923: Jacob and Cara Dutton

Jacob and Cara have taken James’ dream and “made it into an empire” by 1923, and Jacob is now Montana’s livestock commissioner.

However, times are tough and there’s nothing for the cattle to graze on thanks to the swarms of locusts feeding on the crops, putting Jacob at odds with a group of sheep herders led by Banner Creighton (Jerome Flynn).

In episode three, Banner and his men shoot at Jacob and his family, killing his nephew John Sr (now played James Badge Dale) at the scene.

Banner later teams up with ruthless business tycoon Donald Whitfield (Timothy Dalton), and in the season-one finale, Whitfield pays off the ranch’s property taxes in full. If the Duttons don’t repay the debt by the end of the year, the ranch belongs to Whitfield.

Meanwhile, Spencer (Brandon Sklenar) has become a big game hunter in Africa, where he meets the love of his life, Alexandra (Julia Schlaepfer). After Alexandra convinces Spencer to read the letters his aunt Cara has been sending to him, they begin their journey back to Montana in order to save the Duttons and their legacy.

1997: Death of Evelyn Dutton

In Yellowstone‘s first season, a flashback to 1997 shows Evelyn Dutton (Gretchen Mol) horseback riding with two of her children, Beth and Kayce.

It’s revealed that a nervous Beth spooked the horses, causing Evelyn’s horse to fall on top of her. Although Beth and Kayce rushed to get help for their mother, Evelyn died soon after.

The tragedy still haunts Beth (Kelly Reilly) decades later, and John Dutton III (Kevin Costner) continues to mourn the loss of his wife while his family fight for power and control over the ranch.

2018: Yellowstone season 1 and the death of Lee Dutton

In 2018, John Dutton III (Kevin Costner) is the seventh generation patriarch of Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, the largest ranch in the United States.


John’s eldest son Lee (Dave Annable) is a livestock agent who hopes to take over the ranch one day, while Jamie (Wes Bentley), his middle son, is pursuing a political career as Montana’s Attorney General.

John’s only daughter Beth works for one of America’s top banks, and his youngest son Kayce (Luke Grimes) is a former Navy Seal who lives on the adjacent Broken Rock Indian reservation with his wife Monica (Kelsey Asbille) and son Tate (Brecken Merrill).

Throughout season one, the Dutton ranch is constantly at odds with Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston), a land developer who wants to purchase the land, as well as the Broken Rock reservation led by Chief Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham), who claims the land is their birthright.

The conflict between Broken Rock and the Duttons erupts when Lee is killed by Monica’s brother Robert, to which a vengeful Kayce kills his brother-in-law.

At the end of the season, the Duttons send Dan Jenkins a severe warning by briefly hanging him from a tree.

2019: Yellowstone season 2

In season two, John Dutton is faced with a new threat to his legacy: the Beck brothers, Malcolm (Neal McDonough) and Teal (Terry Serpico).

After Malcolm and Teal orchestrate a series of violent attacks on the Duttons, John teams up with Rainwater and Jenkins, whose businesses and families have also been threatened by the two real-estate moguls.

The Beck brothers later kill Jenkins and kidnap Tate, though Kayce eventually rescues his son and kills Teal, while John kills Malcolm. Meanwhile, Beth has been expanding the Dutton property and Jamie has left politics to work on the ranch.

2020: Yellowstone seasons 3 and 4

Although the war with the Becks is won and there’s a minor ceasefire with Broken Rock, the Duttons just can’t seem to catch a break. A new real estate company called Market Equities is buying up the land surrounding the ranch, and Beth discovers that they have plans to build an airport and ski resort.

Season three ends with both Kayce and Beth being attacked, while John is shot and left for dead on on the side of the road.

Following the attacks on the Duttons (who all survive), Jamie eventually learns that his biological father, Garrett Randall (Will Patton), had ordered the hits.

Beth then blackmails Jamie into killing Garrett and films him dumping the body, later telling her father – who is currently running for governor against Jamie – that his loyalty to the family is no longer a concern.

Meanwhile, Rainwater continues to fight for his rights to the ranch, as does Market Equities, whose CEO Caroline Warner turns up to re-ignite the company’s feud with the ranching family.

2021: Yellowstone season 5

Season five of Yellowstone begins with John being sworn in as governor of Montana, while a new formidable opponent from Market Equities, Sarah Atwood (Dawn Olivieri), arrives in town to shake things up.

With some encouragement from Sarah, Jamie plans to remove his father as governor and publicly denounces him for his “egregious act of dereliction” in canceling funding for the Paradise Valley International Airport.

Beth confronts Jamie and tells him to resign or she’ll release the footage of him dumping Garrett’s body, to which Jamie threatens to sing about the many bodies put in the ground by John over the years.

As Beth and Jamie both plot each other’s deaths, Sarah encourages Jamie to strike first, setting the stage for a bloody part two this summer.

Yellowstone, 1883 and 1923 all air on Paramount+.


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