Photo via Paramount

Will ‘Yellowstone’ end with season 5?

The 'Yellowstone' universe is in for some big changes on the horizon.

Paramount’s number one series and everyone’s favorite neo-western Yellowstone has been taking fans on a ride to visit the Dutton family since 2018, and while mainstream media only just caught on to the magic, wonder, and drama that exists, die-hard fans have been devoted to the show since the opening episode of the very first season.

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There’s a lot on the line for audiences who have been tuning in for five years, forming relationships within the pop culture sub-genre that is the Yellowverse, and bonding with friends and loved ones over the series. Hopeful viewers were looking forward to a long future with the series, and while Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone universe only continues to grow, an integral piece of it is coming to an end.

In fact, with a record-breaking premiere in November of 2022, fans were sure that the ride was only just getting started, so to get hit with back-to-back blows about our favorite cowboy drama last week was a pretty big deal. Not only did we learn that Kevin Costner was planning to end his run as John Dutton, hours later, it was confirmed that the series would conclude with the fifth season, far before fans ever imagined having to say goodbye.

That’s right, just months after fans were given the news that we were supposed to get at least two more seasons with this chapter of the Dutton family as we know it, our hopes and dreams were given a one-way ticket to the train station. So why is Yellowstone ending with season five? What is going on with the Kevin Costner rumors, and if you’ve somehow yet to tune into the series, what is all the fuss about over the Dutton family anyway? Sit back, grab a drink, and get comfortable — because, as usual, we’ve got you covered.

What is Yellowstone?

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

Yellowstone is a television series created by filmmakers Taylor Sheridan and John Linson. The show debuted on Paramount Plus in 2018, and 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) is the physical embodiment of strength, determination, and undying devotion to a promise he made that changed the direction and dynamic of his life so many years ago.

Dutton is a widower, having lost his wife in a tragic horse riding accident, and he’s been trying to piece together how to raise his children, Jamie (Wes Bentley), Beth (Kelly Reilly), and Kayce (Luke Grimes), as they all navigate everything from power struggles to love and compassion and everything in between. This isn’t some Hallmark family story; it’s real, raw, and quite vulnerable, and it’s also messy. Yellowstone is a look at what the hunger for power can do to a family, what it looks like to walk around with a target on your back, and how to carry the hope for a less volatile future quietly around in your pocket without anyone ever noticing. You’d be hard-pressed to sit down for dinner at the Dutton family table and see a unit of people who work together, but the one thing no one can deny is that underneath all of the tough exterior, there’s a love there — albeit not the healthiest, but a love nonetheless.

So when you hear friends, co-workers, or family talking about the series, what they’re explaining is a layered attachment. Yellowstone has something for everyone, and it brings out something different in everyone.

The rumor mill swirls

Wes Bentley / Kelly Reilly Yellowstone
Image via Paramount

Rumors began swirling at the beginning of this year that some behind-the-scenes drama was responsible for a muddy future where Yellowstone was concerned. Everything from power struggles to timing issues was deemed “responsible” for what was taking place, but the truth is — no one except those closest to the equation knew what was unfolding.

On May 3, news broke that Costner wasn’t set to return to Yellowstone, and with no more than a night to make sense of that, entertainment sites soon shared the continued story that the series as a whole would be ending after season 5.

Another piece of the puzzle is that there’s no guarantee for when season 5 will resume filming again, who will be involved, and what moving forward looks like at all. With a writers’ strike underway, Sheridan and Costner rumors swirling, and what’s being called a spinoff to fill the space of Yellowstone on the horizon, there’s a lot to unpack for a future that is already painfully unclear. The worst part is, we have no clue when we’ll be able to unzip our suitcases to start.

Taylor Sheridan hints at what’s ahead for the show

Shows like Yellowstone
Presley Ann/Getty Images

Taylor Sheridan himself has talked about the future of Yellowstone and the type of conclusion he hoped to provide for the series eventually. In 2020, he spoke with Deadline about the show drawing to a close, wanting things to happen naturally, something that didn’t beat a dead horse, so to speak.

“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 also 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 knows the family has blood on its hands, but this almost feels personal. Sheridan didn’t allude to wrapping up the series this soon, and some of the cast members themselves were under the assumption that there were a couple of seasons of the story left to be explored.

This quickly approaching end signals significant changes taking place, and fans are growing a little tired of being left in the dark about them.

Cole Hauser teased a longer future

Cole Hauser in 'Yellowstone'
Image via Paramount

Cole Hauser spoke more than once about season 5 and how it was not set to be the end, including at the New York City premiere of season five of Yellowstone. He spoke with PEOPLE, saying simply, “It’s not the last season.” Again in early 2023, during a red-carpet appearance at the Golden Globes, he said we could anticipate more seasons with our favorite family, just as they are now.

“I work in the best office in the world; Montana is it. I mean, the writing’s unbelievable with Taylor, the actors are superb, and we’ve got a great crew. You know, we just finished five, and we’ve got six and seven coming, so we’re excited.”

Hauser felt confident in the idea that we’d be getting at least two more seasons of Yellowstone, and fans were thrilled at the thought. While it certainly lends to the idea that there were some issues taking place behind the scenes, it also breaks the hearts of fans who hoped that the bonds the cast had been building were strong enough to carry them through for plenty of storylines to come.

What is the future of Yellowstone?

Beth Dutton
via IMDb/Emmerson Miller/Paramount

The truth is, no one knows what’s coming for the future of Yellowstone, and that’s what happens to be driving fans up the wall. There was a path that it appeared that the series was following, and now it seems like that dirt trail had muddied, and we can’t find the direction we were supposed to be traveling.

One thing is for sure; the Yellowverse isn’t drawing to a close when Yellowstone does. The series has already inspired two prequels, and there are several spinoffs on the horizon, including one set to take place at the 6666 Ranch in Texas, another with Matthew McConaughey lined up to star, and one that will now “take the place” of Yellowstone. Sheridan has a lot of stories left to tell, and while the end of the core series will undeniably be messy, one that takes lives down with it, there will be survivors left, too — and fans can’t wait to see what happens with them.

While a sad goodbye is on the horizon, fans are celebrating the fact that so much heart still exists in the Dutton realm and that there will always be Yellowstone; we’ll always have this spot in pop culture history to come back to, and the entertainment realm will forever be changed by a cowboy, a ranch, a love story, and a power struggle. What a legacy they’ll be leaving behind.

If you’re not caught up with Yellowstone, now is your chance. With seasons 1-4 on Peacock now, the DVD release of season 5 happened earlier this week, so you can now watch every episode of our favorite Dutton family story, and you won’t want to miss a second of it.

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Image of Ashley Marie
Ashley Marie
Ashley Marie is a staff writer, beat leader, Disney fanatic, and Yellowstone expert. When she's not filling her friends in on all the entertainment news they can handle, she's drinking her go-to Starbucks order — a caramel macchiato, thank you — and wishing she was at Disney World or spending time at the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. With a focus on positivity and kindness in journalism, Ashley has been writing for a decade and hopes to keep bringing you articles for decades to come.
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Manya Seisay
Manya is a Contributing Writer for We Got This Covered, who explores diverse topics, including entertainment, gaming, and new technologies.