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Modern Western Shows and Movies Like Yellowstone to Watch While You Wait for Season 5

Yee — and I can't stress this enough — haw

liam-mathews-headshot2.jpg
Liam Mathews
Kevin Costner and Kelly Reilly, Yellowstone

Kevin Costner and Kelly Reilly, Yellowstone

Paramount Network

Creator Taylor Sheridan's Yellowstone is officially an empire — and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. In the past month or so, there have been big updates about Texas-set Yellowstone spin-off 6666, 1883 offshoot The Bass Reeves Story, and Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren-led Yellowstone Ranch origin story continuation 1932. But the most important update from the Yellowstone universe is that the mothership, the stallion that sired all these offspring, Yellowstone itself, is returning for Season 5 on Nov. 13. Gas up the pickup, because we're going back to Montana.

If you've watched Yellowstone from front to back on Peacock and are looking for something Yellowstone-y to hold you over until the fall, we've put together a list of shows and movies that will scratch your Western soap opera itch until John (Kevin Costner), Beth (Kelly Reilly), and the rest of the dastardly Duttons are back on your TV screen. The list features other Taylor Sheridan productions, things that influenced Yellowstone, and shows about families trying to protect what's theirs, as well as other modern Westerns and shows that just feel something like Yellowstone.

Watch Yellowstone Now on Peacock


More recommendations:


Joe Pickett

Michael Dorman, Joe Pickett

Michael Dorman, Joe Pickett

Spectrum

The success of Yellowstone has single-handedly brought the neo-Western genre to the forefront of television, and we're starting to see heroes in cowboy hats flood our televisions. One that's not a pale imitator is Joe Pickett, a Spectrum original that's been given new life (and a new audience) now that Paramount+ has picked it up. The series, based on the rural detective books, stars Michael Dorman as Joe Pickett, a game warden in Wyoming, where most aren't too respectful of a guy with a badge telling them what they can and can't hunt. Joe gets himself involved in a murder investigation when a man turns up dead on his doorstep, which brings him face to face with a criminal family, a whole lot of unsavory characters, and even an emu. -Tim Surette



Outer Range

Josh Brolin, Outer Range

Josh Brolin, Outer Range

Richard Foreman/Amazon Studios

There's no way this mind-bending sci-fi Western wasn't pitched to Amazon as "Yellowstone meets Lost." Josh Brolin, a Taylor Sheridan veteran from Sicario, stars in creator Brian Watkins' Prime Video puzzler as Royal Abbott, a Wyoming rancher who discovers a large, mysterious hole on his property that seems to have some kind of supernatural power. In a thread that's shamelessly borrowed from Yellowstone, people are trying to take the ranch from Abbott and his family — one of the aspiring buyers is Wayne Tillerson, a wealthy rancher played by Will Patton, who Yellowstone fans will recognize as Jamie Dutton's biological father Garrett Randall — but Royal refuses to sell, at least not until he figures out what the deal is with this hole. The sci-fi element gives Outer Range something very different from Yellowstone, but the setting, cinematography, casting, and performances are all heavily influenced by TV's reigning Western hit. 



Hell or High Water

Ben Foster and Chris Pine, Hell or High Water

Ben Foster and Chris Pine, Hell or High Water

Lorey Sebastian/CBS Films

This 2016 heist thriller about two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) who go on a bank-robbing spree to get enough money to buy back their family ranch from the very bank they're robbing is the movie where Taylor Sheridan became Taylor Sheridan. Sheridan was nominated for an Oscar for his intelligent, lived-in screenplay, and the movie also earned nominations for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Jeff Bridges, who plays the grizzled Texas Ranger on the brothers' trail. More than that, though, Sheridan's distinctive voice as a writer that became mega-popular with Yellowstone was crystalized here, more so than it was in Sicario, his darker, more cynical first screenplay. Hell or High Water has a lot of the same elements as Yellowstone: a contemporary Western setting, a strong sense of place (West Texas, in this case), a sort of libertarian populist bent without any explicit political agenda, and profanely poetic Western dialogue. After four seasons of Yellowstone, Sheridan's pronouncement-heavy dialogue has grown a little self-parodic, but it still feels fresh and focused here. The cast includes Gil Birmingham, Yellowstone's Thomas Rainwater. And like Yellowstone, it's about people trying to hang on to their home and way of life. 



1883

Tim McGraw, Sam Elliott, and Billy Bob Thornton, 1883

Tim McGraw, Sam Elliott, and Billy Bob Thornton, 1883

Emerson Miller/Paramount+

1883 is a prequel to Yellowstone that tells the story of how John Dutton's ancestors got to Montana. James Dutton (Tim McGraw) is leading his family on a perilous journey across the Great Plains alongside Pinkerton agent Shea Brennan (Sam Elliott), a tough old cowboy with a heart of gold. It's an old-fashioned Western with beautiful cinematography. It's an on-the-road show more like Lonesome Dove than Yellowstone, but Taylor Sheridan hallmarks like artfully macho dialogue and an impressive sense of authenticity in its cowboy-life details will make fans of the flagship show feel at home in the earlier time period. If you want to know more about the differences and similarities between Yellowstone and 1883, check out our review



Mayor of Kingstown

Kyle Chandler and Jeremy Renner, Mayor of Kingstown

Kyle Chandler and Jeremy Renner, Mayor of Kingstown

Paramount+

Taylor Sheridan is proving himself to be one of the hardest working men in Hollywood (his corner of Hollywood is a historic ranch in Texas that he owns). Not only is he busy with all those Yellowstone spin-offs, but he co-created the  Paramount+ series Mayor of Kingstown, which has been renewed for a second season. Though not set anywhere near a ranch, it features lots of Yellowstone's touchstones: a rugged leading man (Jeremy Renner, who also starred in Sheridan's Wind River), complex dynamics between strong characters, and tough guys being tough guys. Renner plays a power broker in Michigan whose business is prisons, mixing him up with politicians, the police, and criminals as he struggles to keep his empire afloat. -Tim Surette




Wind River

Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner, Wind River

Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner, Wind River

Before Taylor Sheridan began his domination of television, he was making a name for himself as a film screenwriter, penning such hits as Sicario, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, and Hell or High Water, which earned him a ton of nominations, including for an Oscar. In the middle of those films, Sheridan wrote and directed 2017's Wind River, a drama about a U.S. Fish and Game tracker (Jeremy Renner) and an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who team up to solve a case of sexual assault and murder on a Native American reservation in Wyoming in the dead of winter. It has all the Sheridan trademarks, including intense action sequences, a connection to the land, and challenging character dynamics.




The Son

Pierce Brosnan, The Son

Pierce Brosnan, The Son

Van Redin/AMC

If you'd like a show that's something like a mashup of 1883's period setting with Yellowstone's family ranch drama, mosey on over to the 2017 drama The Son. The series aired on AMC for two seasons and also stars a well-known face — Pierce Brosnan — as the head of a ranching family. The difference here is that The Son is set down south in Texas across two different timelines, the 1840s and early 1900s, following Brosnan's character Eli McCulloch as a young boy when he was taken by Comanches and as a father who has difficulties connecting to his son in the show's present timeline. But the premise is eerily similar to Yellowstone: Stay the hell off my ranch!




Let Him Go

Diane Lane and Kevin Costner, Let Him Go

Diane Lane and Kevin Costner, Let Him Go

Focus Features

Calling all Costner heads. If your favorite thing about Yellowstone is seeing present-day Kevin Costner in the American West, you should be all over this movie, in which he plays George, a retired sheriff turned horse farmer mourning his son. But it goes beyond the standard "grizzled older man learns about his feelings" trope, as it quickly becomes clear that the movie is actually about George and his wife, played by Diane Lane, leaving their ranch in Montana to track down their young grandson and their daughter-in-law, who has recently re-married an abusive man. It's less of a quiet family drama and more of a high-stakes thriller, and Costner is just so dang good in it. -Allison Picurro 




Dallas

Larry Hagman, Dallas

Larry Hagman, Dallas 

CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

If you want to watch the proto-Yellowstone, Dallas is the one. Yellowstone isn't subtle about being Dallas for the 21st Century, swapping in cattle for oil. They're both cowboy-hatted soaps about a rich, fighting family, with similarly heightened melodramatic tones. Season 3 of Yellowstone even ended on a "Who shot J.R.?"-style cliffhanger. The difference is that Yellowstone is made to also feel like a premium cable show with bloody violence, swearing, and nudity that they couldn't get away with on '80s broadcast TV. It's the Dallas Dallas couldn't be.




Succession

Brian Cox, Succession

Brian Cox, Succession

HBO

Yellowstone is about the Mountain West elite, and Succession is its East Coast counterpart. The shows have pretty much the same premise: A difficult, demanding father and his emotionally stunted adult children fend off attacks on their empire from all sides, while fighting amongst themselves over who gets to be daddy's favorite (or at least his least-disliked). The trappings of wealth manifest a little bit differently — Yellowstone has a fleet of fancy pick-up trucks, while Succession has a mega-yacht — but they're both about the corrosive effects of that wealth on the soul.




Longmire

Robert Taylor, Longmire

Robert Taylor, Longmire

If your favorite part of Yellowstone is its Western setting, this crime drama will be a satisfying next step. Robert Taylor stars as Walt Longmire, the sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, who investigates Western-tinged crimes while battling his personal demons. Like on Yellowstone, conflict and negotiation between the region's white and Native American residents is a major theme, with a particular focus on Longmire's relationship with the Cheyenne reservation's tribal police force, led by Chief Mathias (Zahn McClarnon), which has its own authority and sometimes works with him and sometimes doesn't.




Sons of Anarchy 

Charlie Hunnam, Sons of Anarchy

Charlie Hunnam, Sons of Anarchy

FX

The similarities between Yellowstone and Sons of Anarchy are numerous. SAMCRO and the Yellowstone are both families/gangs that are hard to join and harder to leave. Both shows have an obsession with codes of masculinity — toxic or otherwise — and an outlaw spirit of us-against-the-world ruggedness. The women in each family are tougher than any of the men (Katey Sagal's Gemma on Sons and Kelly Reilly's Beth on Yellowstone). Charlie Hunnam and Luke Grimes vibe on the same frequency. There's even some significant personnel overlap: Yellowstone's co-creator, writer, executive producer, and director Taylor Sheridan acted on Sons of Anarchy as Deputy Police Chief David Hale, and his co-creator John Linson also executive-produced Sons of Anarchy. In a very real way, Yellowstone would not exist without Sons of Anarchy. SoA spin-off Mayans M.C. is another macho soap in a similar vein to these other shows.




Ozark

Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, Ozark

Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, Ozark

Netflix

If you love the crime family part of Yellowstone, Ozark will hit the same sweet spot. Jason Bateman and Laura Linney star in this hit thriller as Marty and Wendy Byrde, a married couple who move their family from Chicago to the Lake of the Ozarks region of Missouri after Marty's job laundering drug cartel money goes wrong, and they quickly get involved with the criminal element in their new red state home. Like Yellowstone, it has the level of acting and production value you'd find in a top-tier prestige drama being used in the service of pure popular entertainment. 




Breaking Bad 

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

AMC

Hear me out: Contemporary Western setting, family drama revolving around a difficult and demanding father figure and his conflicted son, occasional forays into hair-raising brutality, neo-Nazis, Jeremiah Bitsui, a constant feeling of "this is all going to turn out very badly," a star who talks in a very growly voice. Yellowstone lacks Breaking Bad's relentlessness, but it has a lot of other things in common. 




Those Who Wish Me Dead

Angelina Jolie, Those Who Wish Me Dead

Angelina Jolie, Those Who Wish Me Dead

Emerson Miller

Angelina Jolie stars as a skydiving firefighter (I know) who encounters a boy – played by Finn Little, also known as Yellowstone's dirty-shirted orphan ranch hand Carter – on the run from assassins who killed his father. Her journey to get him to safety is complicated by the two assassins (played by Nicholas Hoult and Aidan Gillen) pursuing them, and the blazing fires that surround them. Technically this is a movie, not a show, but it should be of interest to Yellowstone fans, as co-creator Taylor Sheridan directed it. If you already like his general style, Those Who Wish Me Dead is definitely worth checking out. -Allison Picurro