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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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‘Yellowstone’ all about grit

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Photo by via imdb.com

Film critic Katen Adams reviews the television drama “Yellowstone” in her latest piece. 

Kevin Costner saddles up as John Dutton in the popular television show “Yellowstone,”  which initially debuted in 2018. The show recently started season four with a whopping two episode premiere on Nov. 7, after ending season three with a massive cliffhanger. New episodes of “Yellowstone” are released every Sunday at 8 p.m. EST on Paramount+, and seasons one through three are available to stream on Peacock. 

“Yellowstone” follows the life of the Dutton family of Montana on a ranch that takes up thousands of acres, brimming with valleys, rivers and mountains. The Dutton family does everything to take care of its land and each other, while building a unique dynamic within the cowboy culture. Despite a large amount of land on the ranch, it is intriguing to watch the relationships between all of the actors in the confines of the bunkhouse. The bunkhouse scenes showcase the banter between siblings, as well as the fun and work between friends, both of which add familial culture to the show. The show also highly focuses on Native American culture and celebrates individuality. 

Beth Dutton, played by Kelly Reilly, takes the typical mold of a lead female character with her bare hands and breaks it in half. The heart of the show is the unique grit and harshness of a cowboy, traits associated with masculinity, yet Beth seems more bold and straight to the point than all of her male co-stars. She is strong-willed and comes across as rude to the other characters, but the way her character is written — and how Reilly captures her personality — makes her endearing to the audience. But, she is portrayed in a way in which the audience views her strength as something that shouldn’t be messed with. 

“Yellowstone” is perfectly captured within the show through a reference Beth makes to philosopher Nietzche. The idea is that there is no right or wrong, and the Dutton family and rest of the ranch must do what they can to protect it, no matter the cost. Filmmakers Taylor Sheridan and John Linson perfectly thought out every aspect of the show to make every episode as entrancing as the one before. 

The most recent episode, aired on Nov. 28, introduced a heated conflict about using cattle for food. John’s reaction to the situation coincides with his way of life, being the classic cowboy figure who loves his family and land. Yet, when he began to handle the situation of those that didn’t agree with him, he showed respect. Through this dialogue-heavy episode, John discusses with a protester about how mankind is killing the planet, and the only way to save it is to come together. This smaller detail in the storyline is brilliantly added, but every episode is packed with details and has its fantastic twist. 
The well-crafted plots mean nothing if the actors and actresses can’t follow suit and give their best, but not a single performance falls short. Performance is always ten times better when the actor is playing a role that seems so outside the box, even if vastly different from previous roles. 

Actor Cole Hauser is an excellent example, as he plays the intense, dark-haired Rip Wheeler in “Yellowstone’,” but appears as a character completely the opposite in popular films such as “Olympus has Fallen.” It can be a shock to fans that Hauser is a natural redhead or that Reilly is British, but it goes to show the performances these actors give can be outside of their true nature, but they can convince the audience otherwise. It’s also fun to know that during the show, there are plenty of people who appear on screen who were not originally actors, but appear because of their skillset in a specific field. Gabriel “Gator” Guilbeau was hired on set as the cook, and appeared as the Dutton family chef in the show. Many ProRodeo athletes, such as Tilden Hooper and Buster Welch, have also had their moments on the big screen. 

Filmmaker Sheridan is on a roll and not yet done with telling the story of the Dutton family. It was officially announced that “1883,” the prequel to “Yellowstone,” introducing the Dutton family and their fortune, would begin airing on Paramount+ on Dec. 19. The show has started filming in cities around Texas, including Amarillo and Fort Worth, and will star Tim McGraw and Sam Elliot. 

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