Why did the Duttons establish the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch in Montana instead of their original destination Oregon? Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone had proven to be a shock success following its 2018 debut. Each season has seen the Dutton clan – fronted by Kevin Costner’s John – defend the ranch against those who seek to take it for themselves; often with bloody results. The ranch is both a blessing and a curse, in other words, but despite the show’s enduring success, its prequel 1883 is still the most acclaimed outing of the Yellowstone franchise.
1883 is a grueling Western that followed Tim McGraw’s James and Faith Hill’s Margaret Dutton as they travel along the Oregon Trail with their children to start a new life. 1883 filled in some key details about the backstory of the Dutton Ranch itself, and just why the family has maintained such a tight grip on the land for over a century. 1923 would do the same, showing James’ brother Jacob (Harrison Ford) and his wife Cara (Helen Mirren) trying to hold on to the Yellowstone as the world changes around them. 1883 ended with the Duttons choosing the spot to build their ranch, which happens in suitably tragic circumstances.
Yellowstone Was Founded On The Spot Elsa Dutton Died
Arguably the lead of 1883 is Elsa (Isabel May), the daughter of James and Margaret Dutton. The prequel shows her living a lifetime over the course of the trip, including falling in love not once but twice. Unfortunately, Elsa is hit with a Lakota arrow towards the end of the series, and her parents quickly realize she’s going to die. Knowing they won’t complete the journey to Oregon, Elsa asks to select the spot where she will be buried. James and Elsa ride off and, on the recommendation of Crow elder Spotted Eagle (Graham Greene), they find a secluded spot in Montana’s Paradise Valley.
Elsa eventually passes while James cradles her under a tree. This is the place where James and Margaret choose to establish their ranch, as they didn’t want to leave Elsa behind to head to Oregon instead. As depicted in Yellowstone season 4 flashbacks, James himself would die a decade later after being shot by horse thieves on the ranch. Margaret would pass shortly after that, with Jacob arriving to find her body in a snow drift and taking care of his nephews in the aftermath.
Are The Duttons Destined To Lose Yellowstone?
Throughout Yellowstone’s five seasons thus far, it has become increasingly difficult for the Duttons to hold on to their beloved ranch. 1883 dropped a major hint the show will end with them losing it too, with Spotted Eagle telling James Dutton that after seven generations, his people will rise up and take the land back. John’s grandson Tate – who is half-Native American – is the seventh generation of the Dutton family, and it appears Sheridan plans to fulfill the Crow elder’s prophecy. Just how it will play out is the question; could the Duttons give the land back to the Indigenous people, or will it be taken?