Cowboys are making a comeback thanks to Yellowstone. Created by Taylor Sheridan, Paramount’s modern Western drama has been steadily expanding its universe since its 2018 release with five Yellowstone seasons so far and four spinoffs: 1883, 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, 1923, and 6666. The show’s Season 5 premiere even drew 10.3 million viewers. And what’s not to love? There’s treacherous drama, there’s skewed morality in the name of family loyalty, and there’s Kevin Costner as a rope-wielding, cattle-tending cowboy.
In the original Paramount+ series, John Dutton III (Costner) and his children protect the Yellowstone ranch, their family-owned property that is also one of the most sought-after in America. The family thwarts attempts from several plotting landgrabbers including real estate magnates, ill-intentioned businessmen, and the Broken Rock Indian Reservation. Meanwhile, the many spinoffs follow different generations of the Dutton family and their relationship with the same covetable estate.
And with the Yellowstone universe growing, the Dutton genealogy is also expanding. We break down the Dutton family tree, starting with the present-day Duttons in Yellowstone.
The Yellowstone Dutton Family Tree
In the series that started it all, John and his children run Yellowstone and lead the ranch’s staff with a (branding) iron fist. The modern-day family grapples with selfish businessmen, political figures, and members of the media who poke into the wayward methods of the Dutton family in their attempts to keep their family property.
John Dutton III
Costner is no stranger to cowboy roles, having been in Silverado (1985), Let Him Go (2020), and Hatfields & McCoys (2012), among others. In Yellowstone, Costner plays the tyrannical patriarch John Dutton III. John prioritizes the ranch above all else, and with other parties interested in the property, John does whatever it takes to keep his family’s land — no matter the (murderous) cost. John was married to Evelyn before she suffered a tragic fate and they share four kids: Lee, Beth, Kayce, and Jamie.
Lee, John’s firstborn, dies of a gunshot wound in a feud with the Broken Rock Indian Reservation. Played by Dave Annable, fans mostly see Lee in flashbacks.
The controversial Jamie (played by American Horror Story’s Wes Bentley) is John’s second son. The Harvard Law alum has political aspirations and, as a result, sometimes sacrifices his family and their legacy to pursue his dreams of climbing the governing rung. When Jamie later finds out his own family tree isn’t what he thought it was, it complicates his relationship with John even more and his loyalty to the Duttons is further tested.
Bethany “Beth” Dutton
Beth is John’s only daughter and most devoted child. Played by Kelly Reilly, the banker-slash-businesswoman is as ruthless and cunning as her father. Beth has a complicated relationship with her brother Jamie, dating back to when they were teens. She also blames herself for the death of her mother. Beth is in a will-they-won’t-they relationship with Rip (Cole Hauser), whom John took in when Rip was orphaned as a young boy.
Luke Grimes (from the Fifty Shades trilogy) plays John’s prodigal son Kayce. Kayce returns to the Dutton ranch with his wife, Monica (Kelsey Asbille), and son Tate (Brecken Merrill), after leaving the ranch to join the Navy and raise his son on the neighboring Native American reservation. He eventually proves his loyalty to his father and rises in the ranks of the Dutton family as the appointed foreman. His return to the ranch, however, endangers his son and wife — a conflict he grapples with throughout the series.
Grimes previously spoke about his role to As If Magazine, saying, “I love my character because he is caught in-between: he is a part of the Dutton family who own the cattle ranch, but he is married to a Native American woman; they have a child together, and live on the reservation. Subsequently, he is not quite accepted by either side … he doesn’t know where he belongs.”
The 1883 Dutton Family Tree
Prior to the Dutton family owning the biggest ranch in all of America, their ancestors (John Dutton III’s great-great-grandparents, to be exact) migrated from Tennessee to Montana in the late 19th century on a perilous journey to escape a life of poverty. 1883, the first prequel to Yellowstone, tells the story of how husband-and-wife duo James and Margaret, played by real-life couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, end up in Paradise Valley, which becomes the Yellowstone ranch.
James Dutton (McGraw) is the first patriarch of the Dutton clan. As the family joins the caravan along the Oregon trail in pursuit of a better life, James has to protect his family from all sorts of villainy.
Margaret, James’ wife, is the original matriarch of the clan. Played by Hill, she has three children: Elsa, John Sr., and Spencer. Calling the role an “opportunity of a lifetime,” Hill told Paramount+ in a statement, “The Duttons are a formidable family, and it is an absolute dream to bring such a strong female character like Margaret Dutton to life.”
Elsa, played by Isabel May, is James and Margaret’s eldest child and is the narrator of 1883. After the family’s arduous journey from Tennessee over 10 episodes, it’s Elsa’s tragic story that causes the Duttons to stop in Montana. She is the oldest sister of John and Spencer — but more on them soon.
The 1923 Dutton Family Tree
Yellowstone’s newest prequel, 1923, out on Dec. 18, follows a different Dutton family permutation as they navigate their own set of struggles: “historic drought, lawlessness and prohibition, and an epidemic of cattle theft,” per the streamer. Not much is known about the characters yet, as their stories are still unfolding week after week on Paramount+. Here’s what we know so far about the Dutton family of 1923, starring Harrison Ford and Dame Helen Mirren.
After James (McGraw) and Margaret (Hill) die in 1883, James’ brother Jacob takes up the mantle of guardian to his brother’s two children and ranch. Played by Star Wars star Ford, Jacob Dutton becomes the newest patriarch of the Dutton family.
Played by Mirren, Cara is Jacob’s wife and matriarch of the clan. Since Cara and Jacob can’t conceive, they take in her in-laws’ surviving kids and raise them as her own: John Sr. (presumably Yellowstone John’s grandfather) and Spencer.
John Dutton Sr.
First seen in 1883 as a little boy (played by Audie Rick), John Sr. has his own family 40 years later. Played by James Badge Dale, John is married to Emma (Marley Shelton) and has a son named Jack.
Played by Darren Mann (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Jack is the only son of John Sr. and Emma — as of Episode 1, at least. The young man is a dedicated rancher. So far, 1923 hasn’t shown John Dutton Jr. yet but should that character be introduced, that will likely be Yellowstone John’s father. The series will likely introduce him as another of John and Emma’s sons.
John Sr. and Elsa’s youngest brother, Spencer (Mapplethorpe’s Brandon Sklenar) is a WWI veteran hunting game in Africa.
As more episodes of 1923 are released, more fans will get to see the characters’ connections to the current-day rancher family.