‘Yellowstone’ is ending soon, but the Western appeal rides on

The Western darling is riding into its final season with plenty of room for expansion


“Yellowstone” will wrangle up its story this fall as the Paramount Network’s darling Western drama is coming to an end. But that doesn’t mean the show’s world is being put out to pasture.

Kevin Costner’s final run of episodes will conclude the dream run for the show, which drew 12.1 million viewers for its Season 5 premiere — more than any other scripted series last fall.

But with the endgame comes questions about how the show will end and what’s coming next in the “Yellowstone” universe.

“It’s foolishness,” said Craig Johnson, author of the 19-book “Longmire” western mystery novel, which had its own television show from 2012 to 2017.

“It’s just too broad of a subject matter to think you can just kill it off with one movie or one television series,” he said in a phone interview from his own Wyoming ranch. “It’s going to continue going on and on.”

“It’s a part of our heritage. It’s always going to be there.”

“When I was watching the show for the first time, I could not have even imagined some of the insane storylines that would be going on but they all fit perfectly,” said Melissa Brouillette, a 29-year-old communications account manager in Boston.

“Yellowstone” centers on the fictional Dutton family. Costner plays the patriarch John Dutton, who is doing anything he can to hold on to his ranch located near the Yellowstone National Park. The show, which has aired for five seasons, has a mix of political and family drama, and plotlines that talk about the state of America.

Paramount has not announced how many episodes will be released this fall to wrap up the series. And it’s unclear if Costner will even return. Multiple reports suggested Costner may want to leave the series ahead of its final round of episodes, which haven’t been filmed yet. Paramount did not respond to a request for comment.

A spokesperson told the Associated Press that “Kevin Costner is a big part of ‘Yellowstone’ and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come.”

But the Dutton family’s decision to lock up the ranch “is probably the right choice to make,” Brouillette said. “It would be hard to try to continue on without the main character and it will always feel like there is some sort of hole they are constantly trying to fill,” she said.


Paramount has already planted seeds for expansion. Since the success of “Yellowstone,” the network has built out its own “Yellowstone” television universe with multiple shows and spinoffs stewarded by co-creator Taylor Sheridan.

There are two “Yellowstone” prequel series on Paramount Plus already, “1883” and “1923.” The former shows the history of the Dutton family as they travel from Texas to Montana, while the latter follows the events of “1883” and shows the Dutton family running a farm along with their children while facing challenges of the early 20th century.

The network is mapping out a future as well. A new sequel series is on the way, and it is expected to air in December. Rumors are speculating that Matthew McConaughey will star in the new project. Paramount has denied those reports. A spokesperson told the AP that McConaughey “is a phenomenal talent with whom we’d love to partner.”

Sheridan has another series on the way called “Lawmen: Bass Reeves.” It was originally titled “1883: The Bass Reeves Story” before it was shortened to just “Bass Reeves.” It is based on a true story of the first black U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi River.

And then there’s the long-rumored “6666” series — pronounced “Four Sixes” — which tells the story of a specific ranch named, well, “6666.” The premiere date remains unclear. McConaughey is rumored to join this series, too, but it’s unclear if this is the same sequel series.

Brouillette said she plans to stick with the “Yellowstone” franchise and its new projects. The prequels left her hooked as much as the original show did so there’s no reason to give up now.

“This new show will be no different and I will definitely be tuning in on premiere day to watch,” she said. “Besides, who doesn’t love Matthew McConaughey?”


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