To truly appreciate the depths of ‘Yellowstone,’ one must embark on a journey through the intricate branches of the Dutton family tree from Yellowstone and the prequels 1883 and 1923. Each twist, turn, and tangled relationship holds significance, for understanding these bonds is key to unraveling the series’ riveting narrative. Here we’ll delve into the family dynamics of the Duttons, exploring the connections, conflicts, and alliances that make ‘Yellowstone’ a family saga like no other. Join us as we venture into the heart of the Yellowstone ranch. Discover why comprehending the ties that bind the Duttons is essential to grasping the essence of these captivating series created by Taylor Sheridan.
In the rugged landscapes of Montana, where power and legacy collide like thunder and lightning, one family stands at the heart of it all—the Duttons. As the central figures of the gripping TV series Yellowstone and each of the prequels, the Duttons navigate a world of land disputes, political intrigue, and bloodshed. Yet, at its core, ‘Yellowstone’ is not just a story about ranching; it’s a tale of family—complex, unbreakable, and deeply rooted. There are seven generations of Dutton genealogy represented between Yellowstone and the two prequels 1883 and 1923.
In “Yellowstone,” the Dutton family consists of the following main members:
John Dutton III (played by Kevin Costner): John is the patriarch of the family and owner of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. He’s a powerful and ruthless figure who is dedicated to protecting his land and legacy. John’s late wife Evelyn was fatally injured in a horseback riding accident when the children were young. Beth was the only other person present during the accident, and she was scarred for life from the experience and plus from her mother’s attitude of blame on Beth for the cause of the accident before her mother died.
Evelyn Dutton (played by Gretchen Mol): The matriarch of the modern day Dutton family tree appeared only in brief roles during the series. Her Yellowsone appearances have been in the form of flashbacks experienced by John and Beth Dutton. Her untimely death and the impact on the family (most notably Beth) is a background theme in a great many scenes and the dispositions of the family.
Beth Dutton (played by Kelly Reilly): Beth is John’s sharp-tongued and cunning daughter. She is heavily involved in the business operations of the ranch and is known for her fiery personality. Beth’s spouse in the series is Rip Wheeler who was taken in by the Dutton family at a young age following the death of his mother. Rip was present for the beating death of his mother, and bludgeoned to death her murderer who was assumed to be an acquaintance or boyfriend of his mother’s. Left orphaned and homeless, John and Evelyn took him in as a ranch hand.
Rip Wheeler (portrayed by Cole Hauser): Rip Wheeler is a loyal and trusted ranch hand who works for the Dutton family at the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. Rip’s longtime affection for Beth since childhood evolves the pair to eventually being married. He is known for his unwavering dedication to the ranch and the Dutton family, particularly John Dutton III, the patriarch of the family. Rip is often depicted as a rugged and tough individual who is willing to do whatever it takes to protect the ranch and those he cares about.
Jamie Dutton (played by Wes Bentley): Jamie is John’s son and the family’s lawyer. He becomes involved in political matters and faces internal and external conflicts throughout the series. Jamie is an adopted son of John Dutton III and Evelyn Dutton. Jamie’s biological father is revealed later in the series as Garrett Randall (played by Will Patton). Jamie’s biological mother (named as Phyllis) was murdered by her husband and Jamie’s father Garrett when Jamie was a child.
Kayce Dutton (played by Luke Grimes): Kayce is John’s son, a former Navy SEAL who becomes involved in ranching and law enforcement. His character evolves as he navigates the challenges of his roles. His wife Monica and son Tate share Native Indian ancestry, and Kayce is a family member that finds himself torn between the elements of Native American plight and the territorial aspirations of his father’s family and with respect for his own young family of mixed heritage.
Monica Long Dutton (played by Kelsey Asbille) is a prominent character in the TV series Yellowstone, and is the wife of Kayce Dutton. Monica Dutton is introduced as a Native American woman from the nearby reservation who becomes romantically involved with and marries Kayce Dutton to become another part of the Dutton family tree. Her and Kayce, one of the sons of John Dutton III have a son, Tate who is the grandsonof John Dutton. Monica’s character is notable for the cultural and social tensions that arise as she navigates her relationship with Kayce and her own Native American heritage, which sometimes puts her at odds with the Dutton family’s interests and actions on the ranch.
Lee Dutton (played by Dave Annable): Lee is John’s eldest son and a dedicated rancher who plays a significant role in managing the ranch’s operations. He is deeply committed to the ranch and his family. Lee appeared only briefly in the series, eventually being murdered in the pivotal “Daybreak” episode. Lee’s murderer turned out to be Monica’s brother Robert Long, during a heated dispute on the border of the Dutton Ranch and the Broken Rock Indian Reservation.
Tate Dutton (played by Brecken Merrill): Tate is Kayce’s son and John’s grandson. He is a young boy growing up on the ranch, and his safety and well-being are central concerns for the family.
Jamie Dutton II: Son of Jamie Dutton and one-time companion Christina. This boy is the youngest member of the Dutton genealogy to date.
Carter (played by Finn Little): Not a blood relation to the Dutton family, but a boy that was taken in by Beth and Rip. Carter entered the family fold much in a similar way as the young Rip Wheeler did, and there are signs of Carter becoming a very similar type of person as a result.
Jimmy Hurdstrom (played by Jefferson White); Why not Jimmy? Everyone loves Jimmy!
John Dutton II (played by Dabney Coleman); John Dutton III (Costner’s character) appears in brief flashbacks with his father in the Yellowstone series. It’s up for controversy whether he is the son of Spencer and Alexandra or perhaps, Jack and Elizabeth (Dutton brothers from the 1923 series). What is known is that he was once the Dutton family patriarch, and is the father of Costner’s character John Dutton III.
Visit the Yellowstone page on Paramount for up to date information on the series.
The Yellowstone Prequel 1883, the Dutton family tree originates with the following members:
In “1883,” the Dutton family is showcased during their journey from Texas to Montana. While both series revolve around the Dutton family and their struggles, “1883” explores the family’s origins and early adventures in the late 19th century, while “Yellowstone” focuses on their contemporary ranching life and conflicts in modern times.
James Dutton (played by Tim McGraw): The patriarch of the family leading the journey to Montana. He’s a rugged and determined Texan who leads his family on a perilous journey to Montana in search of a better life. James is a skilled horseman and cowboy, and he possesses strong leadership qualities. Throughout the series, his character showcases resilience and determination in the face of numerous challenges. He is the father of Elsa Dutton and of John Dutton who ultimately becomes the 2nd great-grandfather to the modern-day themed Yellowstone character John Dutton III. James Dutton sits atop of the Dutton family tree from Yellowstone.
Margaret Dutton (played by Faith Hill): Margaret is James Dutton’s wife and the matriarch of the family. She shares her husband’s determination and supports his decision to move the family to Montana. Margaret is a loving mother and a source of strength for the family during their challenging journey.
Elsa Dutton (played by Isabel May): Elsa is the daughter of James and Margaret Dutton. She is a young woman who must adapt to the harsh realities of life on the frontier as the family travels from Texas to Montana. Elsa’s character development is a central focus of the series as she faces numerous trials and personal growth on the journey. Elsa is also the narrating voice for the 1883 series. Before losing her life to infection on the trail (from an indian’s arrow), she fell for a Native American warrior named Sam, whom she shared a tribal marriage with.
John Dutton (played by Audie Rick): Young John Dutton Sr. is cast as the son of James and Margaret Dutton, and young brother of Elsa. John Dutton grew up and married Emma with whom he shares a son Jack to carry on the family name, as later indicated in the series 1923.
Shea Brennan (played by Sam Elliott): Shea is not a blood relative of the Dutton family but his character in 1883 was as important as anyone. He was a provider of wisdom and understanding that proved to be an absolute necessity in assisting the Dutton family and their wagon train to their eventual destination. Sam Elliott’s character became one of the most beloved of the program due to the heart and talent of actor Sam Elliot.
The Yellowstone Prequel 1923, the Dutton family lives on through the next generation:
Jacob Dutton (played by Harrison Ford); Jacob is the brother of the late James Dutton (Tim McGraw’s 1883 character). Jacob took over the Yellowstone Ranch and raising his young nephews John and Spencer after the death of their parents. Jacob and his wife Cara provide for the needs of the family and the preservation of the ranch as if it were their own.
Cara Dutton (played by Helen Mirren); Cara is the wife of Jacob, and is an exceptionally strong woman in the face of desperate circumstances. Cara is also as intelligent as a family leader can hope to be. Her origins aren’t revealed but was cast as a character with a thick Irish brogue (or southern Irish accent). Cara and Jacob help to raise John who presumably will carry on the family name, and are the great-great grand aunt/uncle couple to the modern-day Yellowstone character John Dutton III.
John Dutton Sr (played by James Badge Dale); The son of the late James and Margaret Dutton portrayed as a young boy in 1883 by Audie Rick. A grown man in 1923, John was killed during a shootout over a land dispute. In all, five family members were wounded in the same incident but the others survived. John’s son with wife Emma is named Jack who (so far) without a doubt survives to carry on the family name.
Emma Dutton (played by Marley Shelton); Emma has a short-lived role in 1923 as the wife of John Dutton Sr and mother to Jack Dutton. Shortly after the shooting death of her husband, she herself dies of suicide.
Jack Dutton (played by Darren Mann); Jack is the son of John Dutton Sr and Emma Dutton. Jack Dutton works the ranch at Yellowstone alongside his father and great-uncle Jacob. He falls in love with Elizabeth Strafford and marries her after some delay, and she became pregnant soon afterward.
Elizabeth Strafford-Dutton (played by Michelle Randolph); Elizabeth joins the Dutton family tree as Jack Dutton’s wife. She became pregnant with who would be their first child but miscarried the baby in the 1923 season 1 finale. Their fate as parents and presumably the next generation of Duttons is on hold pending the events of 1923 season 2.
Spencer Dutton (played by Brandon Sklenar); Spencer is the second son and third child of James and Margaret Dutton. Spencer was born after Elsa’s death and the resulting family settlement in Montana. He fought in World War I and had been traveling the country in Africa as a professional hunter of wild and dangerous game. It has been rumored that Spencer may indeed be the eventual father of John Dutton II but there isn’t strong evidence as of the time of this writing. In fact, actor Tim McGraw stated in a bonus feature for Yellowstone and 1883 that indeed his character’s son John would live to become the great-great grandfather of John Dutton III. Unless the storyline changes, we’re assuming that Spencer is to be the savior of Yellowstone Ranch and guardian of his nephew Jack Dutton.
Alexandra (Alex) Dutton (played by Julia Schlaepfer); The British-descended wife of Spencer Dutton, whom she met while in Africa and abandoned her fiancee to join Spencer in his adventures. The exciting courtship of Alex and Spencer is a significant sub-theme in the first season of 1923. As the first season comes to an end, the pair are closer to their destination of Montana to join the Dutton family tree from Yellowstone.
The real life history of the Dutton family tree
The Dutton family originated in England, specifically in the county of Cheshire. The earliest known ancestor of the Dutton family is Robert de Dutton, who was born in the late 12th century. Robert was a Norman knight who had come to England from Normandy, France, with William the Conqueror in 1066. Robert de Dutton was granted lands in Cheshire by William the Conqueror and his descendants continued to live in the area for centuries.
- The Dutton family tree is believed to have originated in England in the 11th century.
- The Dutton family has a long and distinguished history, with many members playing important roles in English history.
- The Dutton family has a long line of prominent members, including Sir William Dutton, the first Baron of Dutton, who was knighted in 1325.
- Dutton family trees include individuals mostly from England, Scotland, Ireland, and the United States.
- Approximately 20% of Dutton family trees include individuals who lived in the United States.
- Approximately 25% of the Dutton family tree is made up of individuals born in the 19th century.
- Approximately 15% of the Dutton family tree is made up of individuals born in the 18th century.