“Yellowstone” is an American drama series created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson. It premiered on June 20, 2018, on the Paramount Network.Kevin Costner stars as John Dutton, a sixth-generation patriarch of the Dutton family, which operates the Yellowstone/Dutton Ranch, the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. Wes Bentley plays Jamie Dutton, John’s oldest son, an attorney, and an aspiring politician. Although completely loyal to his father and family, he is constantly frustrated by their apparent intolerance of him. Jamie has an intense love/hate relationship with his sister Beth, who is played by Kelly Reilly. Beth is John’s daughter and a financier. Although well educated, highly intelligent, and a master manipulator, Beth is bitter, emotionally unstable, and suffers from a substance abuse problem.
Kayce Dutton, John’s youngest son, is played by Luke Grimes. He is a former Navy SEAL. He initially lived on the local Native American reservation with his Native American wife (Kelsey Asbille) and son, but in the second season, he and his family moved to live at the Dutton Ranch.
Cole Hauser plays Rip Wheeler, the ranch foreman and John’s right-hand man and enforcer. Rip is fiercely loyal to John after being taken in by Dutton as a young runaway. He and Beth have and an on-again, off-again romantic/sexual relationship.
Rounding out the ensemble cast is Gil Birmingham, who plays Chief Thomas Rainwater, the nearby Native American tribal chief. He seeks to reclaim the Yellowstone ranch from John and his family, land that he considers stolen from the Native Americans who originally inhabited it.
The series follows the Dutton family, led by John Dutton, whose ranch is constantly under constant attack by those it borders — land developers, an Indian reservation, and America’s first National Park. It is an intense study of a violent world far from media scrutiny, where land grabs make developers billions, and politicians are bought and sold by the world’s largest oil and lumber corporations. Where drinking water poisoned by fracking wells and unsolved murders are not news: they are a consequence of living in the new frontier. It is the best and worst of America seen through the eyes of a family that represents both.
This soap-opera-ish, contemporary western drama is well acted and intense, with a lot of violence. But it’s quite an addictive and compelling TV show. Unfortunately, since it doesn’t air on a traditional broadcast network or on a cable network, it is only available to those who currently stream on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, if you have Peacock Premium or Peacock Premium Plus.
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