Yellowstone Season One Review

Tonight was the season one finale of Paramount Network’s big bold series, Yellowstone. I got in on the beginning of the series and was immediately drawn to the story that is best described as gritty and intense. Check out my first review from the beginning of the season. Below are my thoughts after watching all of Yellowstone season one.

Yellowstone Season One Review

Yellowstone stars Kevin Costner, Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser, Kelsey Asbille, Danny Huston, Gil Birmingham, Michaela Conlin, and Wendy Moniz. This western drama, directed by Taylor Sheridan, carries a MA rating for language, violence and adult situations, and has an episode run time of 1 hour.

Tonight’s episode was aptly titled The Unraveling Part 2, and was the conclusion of a two part season finale.

Yellowstone Season One Review

A Whole Heap of Trouble

The events in this season ender of Yellowstone tied up a few loose ends in the story, and peaked in the middle of a broiling stew of trouble, creating a wonderful cliffhanger.

John Dutton (Costner) carries many secrets and one of the most troubling for him involves his health. This man shoulders the burdens of owning the largest ranch in the US, a very real kingdom in the west built by his family over generations, and he feels he has no one among his adult children to hand the keys of the kingdom over to. Time is slipping away and it makes him desperate.

The son who was being groomed to run the ranch is gone. His attorney son Jamie (Bentley) has seemingly turned his back on the family to pursue his own career in politics. Younger son Kayce (Grimes) is most like his father but he’s a wild and unpredictable man, as untamed as the horses he breaks for a living. And daughter Beth (Reilly), a shrewd businesswoman, will do anything to take down her father’s enemies. But when Daddy is gone, she will be the first to sell off the ranch, piece by piece.

Yellowstone Season One Review

Yellowstone Season One Review A relaxed shot of the actors who portray Kayce and Beth.

Who to Trust

The person John trusts the most is his ranch foreman, Rip (Hauser). Loyal to the point of bending the law for his boss, Rip has a better understanding of the workings of the ranch and John’s intentions to hold it together, than any of the children. He will do anything to protect John and Yellowstone.

The level of strife in John’s family is multiplied among the people seeking to destroy him and seize his property. Chief Rainwater (Birmingham) has formed an uneasy partnership with ruthless land developer Dan Jenkins (Huston). The two have plans to build a casino, hotel and housing development on the edge of Yellowstone. Their ultimate goal is to drive the Duttons out and take control of their property. Even John’s love interest Governor Lynelle Perry (Moniz) appears to have her own agenda to topple him.

Other skirmishes are in play among John’s children. Kayce’s wife Monica (Asbille) has left him and taken their son. And Jamie’s political campaign is challenged by a journalist from New York, Sarah Nguyen (Conlin), who intends to expose his father as a corrupt man.

When John Dutton says the whole county has turned against him, it appears to include his own family.

Yellowstone Season One Review

Yellowstone Season One Review

Character & Story Development

This series is much more “drama” than “western”, in spite of the horses and the cowboys who work on the ranch. I was curious after episode one, to see how the characters and the story developed. I have not been disappointed.

These are complex, convoluted characters. There aren’t good guys and bad guys in Yellowstone. Everyone is a mixture of both, from the people plotting to bring the Duttons down to John Dutton himself. The characters are portrayed as flawed, broken, hurting people who sometimes do dark deeds and sometimes display moments of courageous authenticity in the face of challenges.

I love the inclusion of backstories for the major characters. I get to see how they got broken, who hurt them, and why they now attempt to manipulate and hurt others. I can see the good that was once in them and hope for its reappearance as they grapple with life. And I recognize that while these characters are larger than life, they represent snippets found within all of us. My eyes fill with tears often as I watch their struggles. Why? Because it births compassion in me and makes me look at people in my reality differently. People that hurt, have been hurt, and everyone has a backstory of their own.

I was glad to find out this week that Yellowstone has been renewed. There will be a season two airing in 2019. That’s good news for me because the story of the Duttons and the ranch and the community that surrounds it is far from over. In fact, it has just begun. I look forward to the next dynamic chapter of Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Season One Review

Series Review: Yellowstone

I’ve seen numerous previews for this new television series, starring award winning actor, director and producer Kevin Costner. The series premiered last month on the Paramount Network. I only yesterday realized I get that station, via Direct TV. I’ve long respected Costner’s work and although traditional westerns are not my favorite genre, this series caught my attention. I had the opportunity to watch episode one this evening, through Direct TV’s on demand feature.

Series Review Yellowstone

Yellowstone has a large ensemble cast that includes Kevin Costner, Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Dave Annable, Kelsey Asbille and Gil Birmingham. This western/drama, directed by Taylor Sheridan, carries a MA rating, due to adult themes, language and sexuality. Each episode has a run time of 1 hour and 32 minutes. Episode one is titled Daybreak.

John Dutton (Costner) is a 6th generation rancher and the current owner of the family’s immense Wyoming property, Yellowstone. He is assisted on the ranch by his eldest son, Lee (Annable), who spends long days working the land and caring for the livestock. And John is aided as needed by his middle son, Jamie (Bentley), who is an attorney that specializes in land.

John’s daughter Beth (Reilly), and youngest son Cayce (Grimes), are the family members who, although not quite outcasts, dwell on the fringe. Cayce, whose relationship with his father is very strained, lives on a nearby Indian reservation with his wife Monica (Kelsey) and their young son.

Series Review Yellowstone

Series Review Yellowstone

As the owner of the largest contiguous ranch in the United States, Dutton encounters conflicts with those who share his borders…the reservation with its new Chief (Birmingham), an expanding town, a land grabbing developer, and one of the most famous parks in America.

It’s as the patriarch of his family, however, with its complex and complicated relationships, that true strength and wisdom are required from him.

Series Review Yellowstone

I enjoyed this first episode, and I’m grateful for the ability to catch up on the series through On Demand. There’s intrigue present in the well done story, family secrets, deeper family sorrows, and beneath it all, the land.

Although there are plenty of cowboy hats, cattle and horses in the series, this isn’t a typical western. John Dutton rides in a helicopter, rather than on a horse, to survey his domain. And the family dynamics are as much a focus of the show as the escalating conflicts over land. Kevin Costner definitely shines in his role as a man who, while embracing his duties and obligations as a rancher, has endured much in his lifetime, and who may be growing weary of it all.

I look forward to seeing how the characters and the story develops in Yellowstone. I have one more episode to watch, and then I’ll be caught up and ready for the third episode when it televises on July 11. Ten episodes, at an hour and a half each, should be just the right amount of time to tell this big, big story.

Series Review Yellowstone