How Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan became America’s king of ‘Dad TV’

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He reunited with Renner for last year’s Mayor of Kingstown, a mini-series set in the same universe as Yellowstone. And then there is 1883, which grabbed headline of its own following a cameo by Tom Hanks, who portrays a Civil War veteran surveying the chaos of the battle of Antietam (his wife Rita Wilson has signed up for a guest-turn in future episodes).

Sheridan is a fascinating figure – and, politically at least, hard to pin down. He has spoken out about the continued marginalising of Native Americans. But he has also criticised the idea of white privilege and the demonisation of working class white Americans (a demographic routinely looked down upon by the people who make and watch shows such as Succession).

“Here’s the worst two words put together in the past 10 years: white privilege,” he told Esquire. “Oh, really? Help me, Mr. Harvard-f______-Ph.D., convince the man who’s losing his ranch, who can’t afford his kid’s college—he has no health care, he has no f______ clue what Obamacare is, he’s never seen a social-security-f______-office, his only concept of federal government is taxes. How do I convince that guy he’s privileged? You won’t do it.”

Yellowstone remains entirely obscure in the UK, where seasons one and two came and went on Paramount Network UK. A case can be made that its themes of American decline and fall, set against the vast skies of Montana, were never going to resonate with a British audience. 

Sheridan’s uniquely blue-collar perspective on the world is perhaps best summed by his appearance in Hell or High Water, in which he cameoed as a rancher attempting to lead his cattle to safety from a bushfire. “It’s the 21st century and I’m racing a fire to the river with three hundred cattle,” he protested. “No wonder my kids don’t wanna do this nonsense for a living.” 

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