The TV series Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner, is one of Paramount’s most notable shows. After a prequel spinoff show called 1883 garnered great success, the platform announced another limited series that was in the works called 1923. Now, the show has finally arrived, so fans wonder, how are 1883, 1923, and Yellowstone all connected?
1883, 1923, and Yellowstone create a TV universe revolving around a Montana ranching family – the Duttons. 1883 follows the first-generation Duttons who founded the ranch. 1923 revolves around second-generation Duttons and the rise of the ranch, while Yellowstone follows the ranch in the present day.
Seeing that the time gaps between the shows are large, there are not many recurring characters from the show to show. Still, the location remains the same, the job stays the same, and the family stays the same. Let’s explore the Yellowstone timeline a bit more thoroughly to see how all the separate shows connect into one awesome TV universe.
Are 1883, 1923, and Yellowstone connected?
As I’ve mentioned, although there aren’t many recurring characters from the show to show. 1883, 1923, and Yellowstone are all connected and revolve around the Duttons and their cattle ranch in Paradise Valley, Montana.
Each show revolves around their own particular struggles that are unique to their own time. For instance, 1883 dives deeper into the conflict between the Indigenous People of Montana and how the ‘white man’ stole their nations and territories.
It also deals with the Westward Expansion of America and the first-generation Duttons moving from Texas to Montana, where the Dutton ranch was eventually founded.
The second spin-off show, 1923, is set 40 years in the future and revolves around the second-generation Duttons that successfully ran the ranch since it was founded and managed to get it to ‘stardom.’
The ranch was now big and successful, but this generation of the Duttons dealt with problems of their time – one of the toughest periods in American history, known as the Great Depression, that happened after World War I.
Finally, Yellowstone takes us into modern-day Montana, almost a hundred years later. The first season happened in 2017, and the fifth season – which is currently running on Paramount+ – happens in 2020. The Duttons, led by John Dutton (Kevin Costner), are still running the ranch in Paradise Valley.
However, things might be more complicated than ever, and everything points to the ranch being close to shutting down in the near future. Or maybe not? We’ll have to wait and see how things unfold, but that’s about it when it comes to the connection between the three separate shows.
The entire TV universe that includes Yellowstone and its spin-off prequels is also known to fans as the Sheridanvers, named after the creator of the shows, Taylor Sheridan. There are plans to expand the Sheridanverse even more, but we won’t be diving into speculations within this article.
There were also some cool flashbacks intertwined throughout the Yellowstone series, taking us back to the 1990s and early 2000s when John Dutton was a younger man. It gives us a better understanding of who he is, how he grew into the man he is today, and how some other characters became the way they are.
We learn a lot of useful info about the Duttons in that long 100-year gap between 1923 and Yellowstone, so let’s dive into the timeline and each show in a bit more detail to help you understand how it all connects to one another.
With the three main, Dutton family-related shows gaining such insane numbers, it’s only natural that Taylor Sheridan and Paramount+ decided to make the universe even larger. In fact, two new shows are already in the works that likely won’t include the Duttons but will belong in the same universe.
Yellowstone universe timeline explained
Seeing that there are already three shows out in the Yellowstone universe, aka the Sheridanverse, it would be quite useful to dive into each show separately to learn more about the characters, the Dutton family members, and the overall history of their cattle ranch business in Paradise Valley, Montana.
Before we continue, I have to warn you that there will likely be some minor spoilers throughout the rest of the article. I will try to keep them to a minimum and stick only to the broad plot points of each show, but if you haven’t watched any of the Sheridanverse shows and don’t want to know much about their plots, I suggest you skip the rest of this text. Let’s dig in.
The story of the Dutton family begins in 1883 – the first spin-off series that expanded the Yellowstone universe. The show premiered on December 19, 2021, and was imagined as a limited series that ended after one ten-episode season. The creator is, of course, Taylor Sheridan, and the main stars were Sam Elliott, Faith Hill, Timm McGraw, and Elsa Dutton.
Obviously, the spin-off is set in 1883, making this show a period drama and quite a bit different from Yellowstone – albeit just as good as the excellent 8.8/10 IMDb rating would suggest. It mainly follows the first-generation Duttons, James and Margaret, along with their two kids, Elsa and John Sr.
The Dutton family embarked on a journey out west from Texas to Montana during the Westward Expansion of America in the late 1800s. The daughter, Elsa Dutton, was dying, and the family was trying to find her a spot where they could settle and bury her in peace.
Long story short, it was actually Elsa who picked Paradise Valley in Montana as her grave site due to the sheer beauty of the landscape. Of course, the Duttons accepted her wish and settled there, founding their ranch in Paradise Valley.
They remained there and built a family legacy that spanned more than a hundred years, dating all the way to the present day, when Yellowstone is taking place.
1883: The Bass Reeves Story (2023-)
1883: The Bass Reeves Story was announced under that particular name in May 2022, but it seems that the show will don a simpler name when it premieres: Bass Reeves. It will happen in the same universe and the same timeline as 1883 but in a totally different place in the United States.
It will also be the first show within the Yellowstone universe that won’t focus on the Duttons, and that will actually be based on a real-life person; Bass Reeves.
Reeves was a very important figure in US history; he was the first African-American US Marshall west of the Mississippi river. He lived from 1838 to 1910, and was believed to have apprehended over 3000 criminals without ever getting wounded.
The Emmy-nominated British actor David Oyelowo will portray Bass Reeves in the show, joined by Dennis Quaid as his Deputy officer named Sherrill Lynn. How connected the show will be to the 1883 show – if there’s any connection at all – remains to be seen.
Fans were absolutely blown away by 1883 and wanted another season of action. They didn’t get it, but they did get an entirely new show that is, so far, just as amazing as 1883. The show is set 40 years after the Dutton ranch was founded and starred some incredibly high-profile names, such as Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, Jerome Flynn, Marley Shelton, and others.
1923’s first episode premiered just weeks ago and picked up great reviews, much like the rest of the Sheridanverse shows. So far, 1923 has an amazing 8.4 IMDb rating, but it will likely fluctuate up and down as new episodes come out. The show will likely have two seasons of action, unlike 1883, which was imagined as a one-season show from the get-go.
The show follows the second-generation Duttons and their journey toward making their ranch one of the biggest, most successful cattle ranches in the state and even the country itself.
After James and Margaret passed away, James’ brother, Jacob (Harrison Ford), continued the family legacy on the ranch and built the Dutton empire on the backbone of what his brother created 40-ish years ago.
In the pilot episode of the season, we learn that Jacob took charge of the Yellowstone ranch in 1894, meaning he was already there for about 30 years when 1923 hit the calendar. Jacob and his wife, Cara (Helen Mirren), took in James and Margaret’s son, John Sr.
He was still just a boy when Jacob took over the ranch, but come 1923; he was already a grown man. We follow the family as they struggle through some of the hardest times in American histories, such as Prohibition, the Great Depression, and the consequences of World War I.
Interestingly, John Dutton Sr. is the only character so far returning from 1883, when he was just a five-year-old boy. That is if you don’t count Elsa Dutton, who passed away in the season finale of 1883 but returned to 1923 as a narrator.
Yellowstone is now running for five seasons, with Season 5 yet to come to its finale and currently coming out one episode at a time. Throughout the show, however, we get many flashbacks that help us learn more about the Duttons and their family history.
For instance, we get a flashback to 1997, when we witness the death of Evelyn Dutton. She was a strict mother to Beth (who we see a lot of in Yellowstone), and one particular horsing accident caused by an inexperienced beth had Evelyn crushed and killed.
That gives us an insight into how Beth’s traumatic life started in her early childhood but then continued with her having an abortion and being sterilized years later. It made her who she is in Yellowstone, and luckily, we see her find happiness by marrying Rip in Season 4 of the show.
There are many other flashbacks throughout the show that feature John Dutton Jr. (Costner) in his younger days, portrayed by Josh Lucas regularly. However, I won’t be going into too much detail about these flashbacks, as they usually reveal something important for the plot, so it’s better not to throw any heavy spoilers in here.
What I did find interesting, however, was one particular Yellowstone scene that wasn’t really a flashback but gave us another insight into the history of the Duttons. In one moment, we see a gravestone of one Precious Dutton. The gravestone says Patience was born in 1931, making her a third-generation Dutton.
We still don’t know how much ground the 1923 spin-off will cover, but it’s possible that we might see Precious eventually appear in the show, which would be yet another small but interesting connection between 1923 and Yellowstone.
Last but not least, we arrived at the TV series that started it all – Yellowstone. It’s one of the most popular series today, with millions of fans and an epic 8.7 IMDb rating over five seasons of action (so far). The show premiered in 2018, but the plot of the first season started in 2017.
It revolved around John Dutton, who is now the head of the Yellowstone ranch, and his own struggles to keep the family business afloat due to family turmoil, and the struggles of his own time, much like his predecessors struggled with their own stuff like Prohibition or the Great Depression.
The first season faces the Duttons against a neighboring reservation called Broken Rock and their territorial dispute. The second and third seasons are mostly happening in 2018, as a common enemy comes to threaten both the Yellowstone ranch and Broken Rock – the villainous casino owners Malcolm and Teal, also known as the Beck brothers.
The fourth season happens in 2019 and sees John, his family, and associates attacked on all fronts, but they aren’t shy of returning the blow. John investigates who’s behind the attacks, and when the culprit is found, things don’t end well for him…
Meanwhile, the Dutton family life becomes more complicated as John’s son, Jamie, runs against him to become the Governor of Montana.
Finally, in the fifth season, which happens in 2020, the Duttons face new challenges, mainly against Market Equities, their biggest rivals. The Yellowstone Ranch is heading towards its doom, but John Dutton has plans to make the territory of the ranch a conservation easement. Will he succeed? It remains to be seen.
Last but not least, another Yellowstone spinoff series is in the works, and will likely come out sometime in 2024. 6666 (read, ‘Four Sixes’) is a story about a modern ranch in West Texas that is as important in American history as any other.
The ranch actually exists in real life, whereas in the Yellowstone universe, we saw Jamie Dutton being sent to work there for a while. It’s unlikely that the show will feature any Duttons whatsoever, but will serve as a Yellowstone spinoff, and a part of the overall Yellowstone universe. The official summary on IMDb states:
“Founded when Comanches still ruled West Texas, no ranch in America is more steeped in the history of the West than the 6666. Still operating as it did two centuries before, and encompassing an entire county, 6666 is where the rule of law and the laws of nature merge in a place where the most dangerous thing one does is the next thing.
The 6666 is synonymous with the merciless endeavor to raise the finest horses and livestock in the world, and ultimately, where world-class cowboys are born and made.“
No names have been connected with the show other than the creator, Taylor Sheridan, but we’ll keep you updated as new information emerges. Jefferson White may return as Jimmy, considering he appeared in Yellowstone as a guy from the 6666 ranches, as well as Emily (Kathryn Kelly), his girlfriend, and Walker (Ryan Bingham).
There you have it! The entire timeline of the Yellowstone universe in a nutshell. 1923 is currently coming out on Paramount+ but is at a mid-season break, so make sure to catch up before it continues if you already haven’t.