Yellowstone is undoubtedly one of the biggest shows in the world right now, with the cowboy drama reaching Game of Thrones-style viewership numbers during its recent season 4 finale, as reported by Forbes.
In an era where television is dominated by superhero shows, science fiction sagas and fantasy epics, Yellowstone has resonated with viewers by bringing the focus back down to Earth and telling stories set within America’s heartland.
In fact, Yellowstone has proven so popular, that Paramount has seemingly handed its creator Taylor Sheridan the keys to its streaming kingdom, with a number of Yellowstone spin-offs either already airing (1883) or currently in the works (6666) for Paramount Plus.
With the show’s fourth season having just finished, we’re only at the beginning of our agonising wait for season 5, which is expected to arrive towards the end of 2022.
In an effort to make the break less brutal, we’ve assembled a list of the best shows like Yellowstone which you can watch in the meantime. The shows below are either similar in theme and setting, or are directly related to Yellowstone. Read on to find out more.
Best shows like Yellowstone
In this prequel series, which is set almost 140 years before the events of Yellowstone, 1883 follows the Dutton family, led by John Dutton’s great grandfather James Dutton (Tim McGraw) and great grandmother Margaret Dutton (Faith Hill) as they journey west across the unforgiving Great Plains in search of place to call home. An honest-to-goodness western that explores the heart of untamed America, 1883 brings a far greater understanding of what the Dutton family had to go through to secure their ranch, and why John Dutton (Kevin Costner) is so desperate to protect it in Yellowstone.
Mayor of Kingstown
While not strictly connected to Yellowstone in terms of story, Mayor of Kingstown is considered to be part of a shared universe of Taylor Sheridan-created shows. In contrast to Yellowstone’s rural setting, Mayor of Kingstown tackles the systemic problems of a midwestern American city. Jeremy Renner, who previously worked with Sheridan on the excellent film Wind River, stars as a sort of power broker between the city’s incarcerated population and the outside world. Though his intention is to keep the peace, it often seems like an impossible task. Gritty and hard-hitting, Mayor of Kingstown delivers the same level of quality storytelling as Yellowstone.
One of the best and most critically acclaimed western TV shows of all time, Deadwood is a dramatised retelling of historical events that took place in the South Dakota town of Deadwood in the 1870s. The shows charts Deadwood’s transition from lawless camp to town, exploring how civilisation can be built from chaos. Told in a sort of foul-mouthed iambic pentameter, Deadwood features some of the most hilarious, lyrical and complex dialogue ever written for television. Thankfully, the show has some incredible actors, led by Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant, who are more than up to the task. Though Deadwood was cancelled prematurely after only three seasons, it was later wrapped up in a one-off movie event which provided the series with a satisfying end.
Like Yellowstone, Justified is a modern-day western with a lead character who lives by an old-world code. Timothy Olyphant, an actor known for playing cowboy-style lawmen (see Deadwood above), plays US Marshal Raylan Givens – a man whose Old West gunslinger attitude sees him reassigned from Miami to his poor hometown in Kentucky after one too many ‘justified’ shootings. Now, Raylan must come to terms with the outlaw father (Raymond J. Barry) he left behind, and the childhood friend (Walton Goggins) who became everything he himself wanted to avoid becoming.
Hell on Wheels
Returning once again to the Old West, Hell on Wheels follows former Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) on a quest to find and kill the Union soldiers who murdered his wife. This leads him to cross paths with Thomas ‘Doc’ Durant (Colm Meaney), the man in charge of one of the biggest projects in American history – the building of the transcontinental railroad. Like Deadwood and 1883, Hell on Wheels offers a glimpse at what went into the foundation of America, and the blood that was spilled in order to get there.
It’s well known that the Yellowstone series primarily takes place in Montana, a state that borders with Wyoming, which is where the police procedural Longmire takes place. It follows Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor), a recently widowed sheriff who must hide his pain and put on a brave face for the sake of his community in Absaroka County, Wyoming. While the two shows have their fair share of differences, they also deal with similar themes, such as Native American spirituality and rural justice. Based on the best-selling series of novels by Craig Johnson, Longmire is a modern-day western series that should help scratch the itch left behind by Yellowstone’s absence.