Probably the most compelling sentence from all of Season 4, and perhaps, the most poignant when you think about the entirety of Yellowstone.
But what does it mean? Well, that’s anybody’s guess…
The only person that really knows is Taylor Sheridan… and he isn’t telling anybody (Gil Birmingham says he doesn’t even have his Season 5 script yet).
Of course, the pivotal line comes the scene when Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes) emerges form his vision quest and his wife Monica Dutton (Kelsey Asbille) asks him what he saw.
And there’s basically two schools of thought about what it could mean…
One: It’s the end of Kayce and Monica (and with Avery sniffing around Kayce now, that doesn’t seem impossible).
Two: It’s the end of the Dutton Empire.
Now, there was a scene during the season finale of 1883 that made folks think it was the latter, and that’s because when the Dutton’s first settled the land, a Native American elder told him that in seven generations, his people would take it back and Tim McGraw (James Dutton) confirmed that he was the great great grandfather of modern day John Dutton (Kevin Costner).
However, in a new interview with Us Magazine,Ryan Bingham (who plays Walker) thinks the end goes beyond the Dutton family, and all the way to the cowboy way of life:
“Probably as, like, the culture of the American West… it’s kind of a dying breed.
It’s definitely where I come from. I grew up like that, going to junior rodeos as a kid like you would go to Little League baseball. It wasn’t just a sport. It’s a way of life.”
However, he thinks the show can help to bring some elements of the cowboy way of life back to the forefront of American life:
“Hopefully, this show kind of brings some of that back, and educates some people on where your hamburgers are coming from.
Even if things all have to change and we make adjustments and things like that, hopefully we can hold on to some of the history.”
Only time will tell…
Tim McGraw Confirms He Plays The Great-Great-Grandfather Of John Dutton
In the Season Finale of 1883, Elsa Dutton (Isabel May) is on the verge of death and her father, James Dutton (Tim McGraw) needs to find a place to bury her because wherever they bury her body is where the Dutton family is going to settle.
So Spotted Eagle, a Crow elder, recommends a spot called the Paradise Valley.
But, there’s a catch… the Duttons can’t have it forever.
“Yes, Paradise. Good name. But you know this: that in seven generations, my people will rise up and take it back from you.”
To which James says:
“In seven generations, you can have it.”
A lot of the family trees on the internet seem to say that Tate is a 6th-Generation Dutton, making James Dutton the great-grandfather of modern day John Dutton (Kevin Costner).
However, it was my argument, that based on the dates, the limited family history that we know of, the timeline of the shows, and the early age at which people got married and had children back then… that there has to be another generation in there.
I suppose 1932 will help us figure that out, but in that 1893 flashback from Yellowstone Season 4, we see that James has two sons with him, John and Spencer… Generation Two.
They should be in their fifties or so by the time 1932 rolls around and will have children of their own (Generation Three), and John and Spencer might even have young grandchildren (people got married pretty young back then), so that’s Generation Four.
Now, here’s where it get’s interesting… John Dutton (born sometime in the 1950s) of Yellowstone could be Generation Five, which means Kayce, Jamie (adopted), the late Lee Dutton, and Beth Dutton would all be Generation Six, and young Tate would be Generation 7.
However, all that speculation can be put to bed since Tim McGraw himself has confirmed it.
According to CinemaBlend, Tim says he plays the great-great-grandfather of John Dutton in the bonus Blu-ray content:
“I play John Dutton’s great-great-grandfather. Our family is the first to discover Yellowstone and settle it. And in doing that, we are the first to really defend it and fight people off, and try to establish it and then survive.
J.D.’s the patriarch of the family. He’s the guy that had the balls, I guess, to set out and take his family across the country and head up to Montana, and sorta settle this unknown land, this untamed land up there, and turn it into something.
I think that he’s a principled man. And I think that sometimes survival and honor cross paths, and you have to make a choice.”
So in light of Tim’s confirmation and Spotted Eagle’s warning about 7 generations, if we go back to the Season 4 Finale when Kayce “saw the end of us” during his vision quest, was he talking about him and Monica, or the entire Dutton empire?
Yellowstone Creator Taylor Sheridan Explains Why ‘1883’ Is Only One Season
Yellowstone producer David Glasser confirmed 1883 was one and done, and that 1932 will essentially serve as the “second season,” or next chapter in the story, but now, the genius behind the story himself is weighing in as well.
The busiest man in television sat down with Deadline to discuss the Season finale of 1883, crafting the Dutton story, why he chose to tell the story this way, and more.
But much like Glasser, Sheridan confirmed that there will not be a second season of 1883, and that all of these prequel series are designed to give you a small peak back in time…. not the entire story from beginning to end:
“I created this peek through time to show you this one specific journey. I’m not someone who likes to tie everything up in a bow and explain how everyone lived happily after, or didn’t.
I’d rather you imagine it, and wonder what Thomas and Noemi made of their lives. You never get to see how James and Margaret move on. You did seem them in a flashback as having moved on, and so that’s what I cared to explore. On to the next peek through the window.
I also wanted to create something you could watch and be completely enthralled and fulfilled, having never seen Yellowstone. Let it live on its own merits. Yes for those fans of ‘Yellowstone,’ there are some real Easter eggs and understanding you can take away from that, that informs the way you watch Yellowstone.
I like that model. For me, as a storyteller it feels close ended. I’m going to peek through the window of a different era and see what I see then.”
1883 was one peek through time in the Dutton story, and 1932 will be the next peek through time at the Dutton story.
So for Sheridan, while it’s technically a spinoff since it points back towards his flagship series, Yellowstone, he likes to tell stories that can stand on their own.
If you’ve seen 1883, you understand why:
“Yeah, peek through a different window into a different era. Again, I don’t think of any of these as spinoffs, but rather as complete stories that have common roots.
My goal with the next one would be that you could never have seen 1883 or Yellowstone, and still have a fully realized experience as a viewer.”
Ultimately, 1883 was the beautiful, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking miniseries that many of us hoped it would be. Some might even argue that it’s better than Yellowstone.
But if one thing is clear, this is just the beginning of the Dutton story.