Taylor Sheridan Says Writing & Directing ‘Yellowstone’ Nearly Killed Him: “3,4 Hours Of Sleep A Night For 6 Months”

Taylor Sheridan Yellowstone
The Joe Rogan Experience

Is Taylor Sheridan the busiest man in Hollywood? Seems like it.

The first half of Yellowstone Season 5 is in the books, and 1883, which told us the origin story of the Dutton Ranch, and how the original Dutton family (played by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill) made the trip across the great plains to settle in the great state of Montana, is in the books as well. We’ve seen the first season of 1923, which continues the Dutton story, and the show is slated for a second season which should premiere later this year, or possibly in early 2025.

Another spinoff, which may or may not feature Matthew McConaughey, is also in the works, a modern-day sequel of sorts with the working title 2024, in addition to another prequel series, 1944Not to mention, he is currently filming for his new series titled Landman starring Billy Bob Thornton and Jon Hamm, as well as the 3rd season of Mayor Of Kingstown which stars Jeremy Renner. And there are plenty more shows on the docket over the next couple years…

So that begs the question… how does Sheridan do it? Does he eat? Does he sleep? Where does he find the time to crank out a zillion shows every year? Well, as it turns out, the grueling process damn near kills him when he gets on set.

In his recent podcast visit to the Joe Rogan Experience, Sheridan detailed his grueling schedule:

“When I go direct, if I go on a six-month, which I’m about to, a six-month, seven-month run of directing every single day… where I have to make decisions from 6am until 9 o’clock at night, then I got to watch footage till midnight, I get 3, 4 hours of sleep a night for 6 months. I’m a f**** wreck after 6 months.”

Oh, yeah and he does movies too…

He went on to explain how he was filming Those Who Wish Me Dead, which starred Angelina Jolie and Yellowstone’s Finn Little, and had to write for his shows throughout the night when they weren’t filming:

“I was directing a movie with Angie, Angelina Jolie in New Mexico, and they had a start date that, by God, they were gonna start, it didn’t matter they didn’t have scripts, they were gonna start. We would do a night-shoot Friday night and finish about 7 in the morning. And I come home and sleep till 2 and wake up, have coffee and write the script Saturday until 1, 2 in the morning. Wake up Sunday, do it again, finish the script, send it off…  I did it 10 episodes. I did it 10 weeks in a row. F****** killed me.”

He went on to say that he takes a number of nutritional supplements to keep his health in order during this grueling schedule:

“You’ll get what they call the movie flu where you just get run down. The hours are 14, 16 hours a day”

Insane… and yet, you could argue that Sheridan is probably busier than ever this year, following the writers and actors strikes. With Yellowstone to finish, 1923 to finish, the other shows in the Yellowstone universe, plus everything else on his plate… it’s gonna be a wild few years for Mr. Sheridan.

You can listen to Sheridan discuss the history that inspired the beginning of Yellowstone, Sheridan’s 1883:

Mapping Out The Dutton Family Tree

With the second installment to the Yellowstone prequels underway, we’re getting another look into the history of the Dutton Family.

Following 1883, the next part of the story picks up in 1923, as we see the next generation of Dutton struggle to maintain ranch life at the newly constructed Dutton Ranch.

According to the official synopsis:

“1923 focuses on the Dutton family’s next two generations as they struggle to survive historic drought, lawlessness and prohibition, and an epidemic of cattle theft; all battled beneath the cloud of Montana’s great depression, which preceded the nation by almost a decade.”

The first season of 1923 has wrapped and we’re expecting a second season in the near future. We’ll get into all that chaos with Kevin Costner another time, but for now, this new chapter of the Dutton saga might have some of you confused about the family tree of the Dutton family.

And honestly, when I went looking for a Dutton family tree, I had a hard time finding an accurate one (or, at least what I believe to be an accurate one). So, we made our own…

Of course, not everything is 100% clear, but with the first season of 1923 n the books, and another on the way, I’m sure some more information will come to light. And we will get into some details so if you haven’t watched 1883 or 1923 yet, you might want to stop at the graphic.

But without further ado… mapping out the entire Dutton family, from 1883, to today.

Yellowstone Dutton Family Tree

The Dutton Family


James Dutton

The original patriarch of the Dutton Family, James (Tim McGraw) was a farmer from Tennessee who took his family out west in search of a new life. The husband of Margaret Dutton and father of Elsa, John and Spencer, he chose to establish the modern day Dutton Ranch where his daughter Elsa passed away.

Margaret Dutton

The original matriarch of the Dutton Family, Margaret (Faith Hill) is married to James Dutton and the mother of Elsa, John and Spencer Dutton.

Elsa Dutton

Elsa (Isabel May) was the eldest child of James and Margaret Dutton. She also serves as the narrator of both 1883 and 1923. She was going to marry a cowboy named Ennis, however, he was killed on the journey West. She vowed to return to a Comanche warrior named Sam once her family reached its destination, however she was killed in an attack on the wagon train. The Dutton Ranch property was established where she died, and she was the first to be buried there.

John Dutton 

John Dutton (Audie Rick in 1883, James Badge Dale in 1923) is the son of James and Margaret Dutton, brother to Elsa and Spencer. He was just a young boy during the events of 1883, however in 1923, he works alongside his uncle Jacob on the Dutton Ranch. He is married to Emma Dutton, and they have at least one son, Jack. John is tragically killed (in 1923) during an attack from Banner Creighton and his men.

Claire Dutton

Claire (Dawn Olivieri) is James Dutton’s sister, who joins the journey west with her daughter Mary Abel. A widow, she kills herself once her daughter is killed on the trail.


Jacob Dutton

Jacob (Harrison Ford) is the brother of James Dutton, who becomes the leader of the family once James passes away. He and his wife, Cara Dutton, work to run the ranch with their nephews, John and Spencer, and John’s son Jack.

Cara Dutton

Cara (Helen Mirren) is the wife of Jacob Dutton. A hard-nosed Irish immigrant, she becomes the matriarch of the Dutton family in 1923, following the passing of Margaret and James.

Spencer Dutton

Spencer (Brandon Sklenar) is the second son of James and Margaret Dutton. Born after the Duttons settled in Montana (and the death of his sister, Elsa), Spencer is a WWI vet who spends time hunting in Africa before returning back to Montana to work the ranch.

Emma Dutton

Emma (Marley Shelton) is the wife of John Dutton Sr. and the mother of Jack Dutton. Perhaps even more tragically, she kills herself following the death of her husband John.

Jack Dutton

Jack (Darren Mann) works on the Dutton Ranch alongside his father, John Dutton Sr. and great-uncle, Jacob Dutton. He is engaged to Elizabeth Strafford, the daughter of another notable rancher.

My suspicion is that Jack may be the father of John Dutton II since the “II” title is generally used when the child is named after another relative, not the father. My initial guess was that John Dutton won’t survive 1923 (and he didn’t), and Jack will name his first born son after his late father… John Dutton II. Elizabeth gets pregnant in the first season of 1923, although she sadly miscarries.

That being said, I maintain my hunch that the line runs through Jack.

Elizabeth Strafford-Dutton

Elizabeth (Michelle Randolph) is Jack’s fiancée. The two end up postponing their wedding briefly, but are planning on marrying very soon.

Alexandra Dutton

An extremely wealthy English socialite, she leaves her fiancé, the the son of the Earl of Sussex, in Africa and runs away with Spencer Dutton. The pair are married at sea on their way back to Montana, and could be the couple where the Dutton line runs through. Alex was sea sick on the boat, but could it be morning sickness? I suppose it is possible but like I said above, my hunch is still Jack.

Either way, the line runs through Jack and Emma, or it runs through Spencer and Alex…. we’ll see.


John Dutton III

The modern day leader of the Dutton family and the current Governor of Montana. He is the father of Lee Dutton, Beth Dutton and Kayce Dutton, and the adoptive father of Jamie Dutton.

Evelyn Dutton

Evelyn (Gretchen Mol) is the wife of John Dutton III who passed away in a horseback riding accident when her children were young. She is the mother of Lee, Beth and Kayce Dutton.

Lee Dutton

Lee (Dave Annable) is the oldest son of John and Evelyn Dutton. The heir to the Dutton Ranch, Lee was killed by Robert Long (Monica’s brother) after an argument broke out over stolen cattle.

Beth Dutton

Beth (Kelly Reilly) is the daughter of John Dutton III and wife of Rip Wheeler, her father’s ranch foreman and right-hand man. Unable to have children of her own, her and Rip have taken in teenage Carter.

Rip Wheeler

Rip (Cole Hauser) is the Yellowstone foreman and right-hand man of John Dutton III. He came to the Dutton Ranch as an orphaned teenager after he killed his own father (who killed his mother and brother). Teenage sweethearts, he eventually marries John’s daughter, Beth Dutton.

Kayce Dutton

Kayce (Luke Grimes) is the youngest of the Dutton siblings, and a former Navy SEAL. He’s married to Monica Dutton and the father of Tate Dutton and John Dutton IV (deceased).

Monica Dutton

Monica (Kelsea Asbille) was raised on the Broken Rock Reservation. She is married to Kayce Dutton and the mother of Tate Dutton and John Dutton IV.

Tate Dutton

Tate (Brecken Merrill) is the oldest son of Kayce and Monica Dutton, the eldest of the 7th generation of Duttons.

John Dutton IV

John Dutton IV is the second son of Kayce and Monica Dutton, who tragically only lived a few hours following complications from an early birth and a car accident.

Jamie Dutton

Jamie (Wes Bentley) is the adopted son of John Dutton III and the black sheep of the Dutton family.


Christina is Jamie’s ex assistant and the mother of his child.

James Dutton Jr.

The son of Jamie Dutton and his ex-girlfriend Christina, Jamie finds out he has a son after the birth.

Additional Characters in 1923:

Jerome Flynn, AKA Bronn from Game Of Thrones, will play Banner Creighton, a hard-nosed Scottish brogue and the leader of the local sheep men. Sounds like he has the makings of the bad guy?

Robert Patrick takes on the role of Sheriff William McDowell, a friend to the Dutton family.

Brian Geraghty will play a loyal ranch foreman in the show.

Aminah Nieves will play Teonna Rainwater, a young woman who lives at a government residential boarding school. Judging by the last name, she’s probably related to Thomas Rainwater from Yellowstone.

Julia Schlaepfer will play Alexandra, a British woman who meets one of the Duttons while abroad.

Jennifer Ehle will play Sister Mary O’Connor, an Irish nun.

Former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton will play Donald Whitfield, a “wealthy and nefarious” man who seems to be a Dutton Family enemy.

7 Generations

In that 1893 flashback from Yellowstone Season 4, we see that James has two sons with him, John Sr. (who will be a major character in 1923) and Spencer… Generation Two.

They should be in their forties or so by the time 1923 rolls around and will have children of their own (Generation Three), and John Sr. 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 III (born sometime in the 1950s) of Yellowstone would 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.

And that’s exactly what Tim McGraw himself has confirmed.

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.”

Of course, which generation of Dutton has implications for the show because 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.”

Doesn’t bode well for the Dutton family in Yellowstone Season 5, does it?

If you’re looking for the entire Yellowstone soundtrack, complete through every episode of Season 5, then look no further.

Our Yellowstone: The Soundtrack Playlist, featuring every song from every episode, updated in real time, every Sunday night.


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