Will ‘Yellowstone’ end with season 5?

Image via Paramount

Season five of Yellowstone had a record-breaking premiere in November, commanding an audience of 12.1 million viewers. However, there is some speculation about the future of the hit Paramount Plus television series. Rumors abound that the show may go out on a high note by making the penultimate episode of this season its last.

Is season five the end of Yellowstone? Here is all the hottest tea on the fate of the Dutton family.

What is Yellowstone?

The Yellowstone cast posed in a field with a pickup
Image via Peacock/Paramount Pictures

Yellowstone is a neo-western television series created by filmmakers Taylor Sheridan and John Linson. The show debuted on Paramount Plus in 2018. It tells the story of the powerful Dutton family, owners of one of the largest ranches in the United States. Omnipotent patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner) embodies the family’s formidable influence. He is a seventh-generation landowner who has made it his mission to preserve the Dutton way of life in a complex and ever-changing world.

Dutton is a widower, and his children, Jamie (Wes Bentley), Beth (Kelly Reilly), and Kayce (Luke Grimes), must navigate life under the shadow of an overbearing paternal figure endowed with absolute power. Like their father, the Dutton children are anti-heroes. The palpable tension and dysfunction is part of what makes the series so compelling. Yellowstone cleverly entices its audience by intrepidly depicting the light and dark aspects of its characters’ personalities.

Rumors abound

Wes Bentley / Kelly Reilly Yellowstone
Image via Paramount

Paramount and Sheridan have yet to issue an official statement confirming that there will be a sixth season of Yellowstone, and as of December 2022, the show has not been renewed. The ominous silence has led to persistent speculation that season five will be the end. Moreover, Sheridan did not mince words when he revealed to Entertainment Tonight that fans should prepare to say goodbye to one or more of their favorite characters: 

“If you look at everyone as a chess piece, in season five, it is impossible to keep playing the game without taking pieces off the board.”

Thus far, the only certainty about the future of the series is that season five will air in two parts of seven episodes each, and it will feature an inevitable goodbye.

Taylor Sheridan hints at what’s ahead for the show

Shows like Yellowstone
Presley Ann/Getty Images

In 2020 when season four aired, Sheridan spoke candidly to Deadline about the conclusion of the series and shared that he has already decided how it will end. He expressed a desire for the Yellowstone to reach a natural conclusion instead of languishing aimlessly on air:   

“Well, I know how it ends. I know how the series ends, and you have to move in a straight line toward that end. You can’t walk in circles, waiting to get there, because the show will stagnate.”

Sheridan provided a fascinating clue about Yellowstone’s end, emphasizing that in previous seasons viewers have been privy to the crimes and misdemeanors of the Dutton family and underscoring that “consequence” will shape the show’s trajectory.

“There have to be consequences in the world, and there has to be an evolution toward a conclusion.”

The plotlines could go in thousands of different directions to illustrate Sheridan’s belief that karma never forgets an address. Anyone who has watched the show knows that the family has blood on their hands. While he did not go into detail about how accountability will manifest for the Duttons, he’s left fans in suspense to decode the moral of the story.

Many viewers have drawn parallels between Yellowstone and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather,’ widely regarded as the best American film ever made. Both tell the story of the intergenerational transfer of corrupt power, and the climax of Coppola’s trilogy ended with grim recompense. It should be interesting to see if Sheridan handles the Duttons’ comeuppance with more nuance.

Cole Hauser discloses the outcome of season five

Cole Hauser in 'Yellowstone'
Image via Paramount

Cole Hauser ended the suspense about the end of the series at the New York premiere of season five. The California native told PEOPLE, “It’s not the last season.” Hauser was then contradicted by co-star Kelsey Asbille (Monica Long Dutton), who was also asked about the future of the show at the premiere. She told Entertainment Tonight, “You know, they haven’t given us a number. But I think that we are nearing the end. We’ve got a story to tell and we don’t want to drag it on too long.”

Fans will be relieved to know that an insider confirmed Hauser’s comments, explaining that the show’s creator missed the event because he is writing material for the show’s next season. With Yellowstone’s astronomical ratings, there is no incentive for the show to end just yet, and Sheridan’s absence at the season five premiere seems to tie in with his 2020 hint about how long the show would last when he asked, “Can there be another two seasons beyond this? It could.”

It could indicate that the chicken will come home to roost for the Duttons in the next season of Yellowstone. Nevertheless, if the show can maintain its eye-popping viewership consistently in the upcoming season, there’s a good chance it may even last beyond season six. However, ratings aren’t the only deciding factor when it comes to whether or not a network will renew a show.

The future of Yellowstone

Beth Dutton
via IMDb/Emmerson Miller/Paramount

There you have it. Fans can expect at least one more season of Yellowstone when season five ends. Time will tell whether or not the show will continue beyond that.

The storyline is so robust and fruitful that it has already produced three spinoffs with prequels 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, as well as 1923 and the upcoming 6666. Each show explores the complicated, daring, and violent Dutton family history. It’s also possible that when John Dutton’s chapter story ends, another will begin in a new incarnation.

There’s no doubt that devoted fans shudder at the prospect of the show’s end. The final episode will be the end of a satisfying television era, and the series deserves to maintain the high standard set by its creator. After all, that’s what’s made it one of the greatest shows in recent memory. 

As sad as it will be to say goodbye to Yellowstone, the series has made its mark on television history and will have an enduring legacy. Few shows have successfully captured the imagination of their viewers like this one. It valiantly provokes thought about the history of the American West and what that means for the country today.

If you’re not caught up with Yellowstone, now is your chance. In the spirit of the holidays, Paramount is gifting fans with a Yellowstone marathon that will end with the season five finale on New Year’s Day.