The Yellowstone universe is ever-expansive and all-encompassing, and fans are continually learning more about the family at the heart of it all: the Duttons. As we were first introduced to John Dutton and his family, we immediately learned that life wasn’t always kind to them. We also learned that they weren’t always kind to one another and that sometimes, the harm they brought to one another was stronger than anything they faced from the outside.
With 1883, we learned that the same idea was relevant in the story of the Dutton family from days past. Led by James and Margaret, the family faced the highs and lows of traveling west to find a better life for themselves and the multitude of losses that met them on their journey. The Duttons of 1923 know a thing or two about a journey, and as the family tree continues to grow, we understand the depths into which Sheridan’s storytelling truly goes. He’s not telling a story so much as weaving together characters and pieces of the puzzle that will continue to grip audiences for decades to come.
As we gear up to welcome in a new family of Duttons, we’re looking at what led us to where we are today and who played a role in each step of the process.
With a family tree being formed, we’ll dive into each chapter of the family story and who the key players are. It’s important to note that another variation of the family tree exists where John Dutton II is the son of Jack Dutton. As we dig deeper into 1923, we expect to see where that familial tie truly exists.
Without further ado, let’s learn more about each chapter of the Dutton family story.
The first look into the Dutton family technically began with Yellowstone, but the first branch of the family tree is filled out with the characters we met in its prequel, 1883. This is where fans were first introduced to James and Margaret Dutton, the husband and wife pair who first set off to travel west with their children: Elsa and John I. The couple would welcome a second son into the world, but he was not shown in the series.
James also had a sister named Claire, who traveled with her brother and his family to find a better life for herself and her daughter after losing her husband, Henry. Claire and Mary would have a heartbreaking journey that ultimately ended with both of them passing away before they reached the end of their travels.
While we didn’t meet him until 1923, James also had a brother named Jacob Dutton, and his story becomes very important in the next chapter of the family’s saga. In fact, as fans know, Jacob Dutton is the patriarch at the heart of the storyline and has already proven incredibly smart and savvy.
In a heartbreaking turn of events, Elsa passed away in the final episode of 1883, and in the series premiere of 1923, we learn that only one of the other children James and Margaret shared would live long enough to see their own children be born. Thanks to Yellowstone flashbacks, fans knew that James Dutton passed away sometime after the family settled at the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. We saw him return home with gunshot wounds, and fans believed that might have been his cause of death, though it was never confirmed. 1923 also revealed that Margaret passed away, frozen in a snow drift.
All in all, the story being told in 1883 was heart-wrenching, and to learn that only the two youngest children survived at all is bittersweet.
With just one episode of 1923 so far, fans are still figuring out the ins and outs of the Dutton family ties in this prequel. So far, fans have been introduced to a few of the major players for the new series; Cara and Jacob Dutton lead the family this time around. While they’ve got children and a blossoming family, viewers learn that Margaret and James’ sons have continued to live out the Dutton family legacy alongside Cara and Jacob.
Fans see Spencer Dutton living in Africa, hunting big game animals as he attempts to flee his mind. Trapped in an endless cycle of memories and suffering from PTSD, Spencer’s life isn’t easy. He tries to outrun his circumstance at every opportunity. Of course, we also see the negative side of that way of existence, as Spencer is nearly attacked twice in the first episode, with the second happening in the last moments of the episode. Viewers aren’t sure what his fate will be just yet, but we’re hoping we’ve not seen the last of him yet.
We were also introduced to Jack Dutton and his soon-to-be bride, Elizabeth Strafford. They’re young and in love, which means emotions are high, and they’re set to be wed soon. While they’ve not officially made it to the altar, it seems to be the next step, as long as Jack makes it home safe from a cattle job. We’ll learn more about that in the episodes to come.
While we’ve yet to “meet” Emma and John Dutton, they’re also an integral part of the 1923 storyline, and we anticipate their arrival happening very soon. The bonds we see in this series will bridge the gap between the Duttons of 1883 and the family we follow in today’s timeline.
Yellowstone’s family is the one viewers are most familiar with, as it’s the story we’ve been diving deeper into since 2018.
John Dutton, the family patriarch, had three children with his late wife, Evelyn. The couple brought Beth, Kayce, and Lee into the world, and while their family loved one another, one wouldn’t have called their home an overly “loving” one. Relationships were strained, especially between that of Beth and her mother. Of course, fans of the series know that there is another Dutton child, Jamie Dutton, whom Evelyn and John adopted after learning of his tragic circumstances. Jamie’s biological father killed his mom and was promptly taken in by authorities.
Jamie lived with the Dutton family as one of their own until he learned of his adoption and biological father in season three. Jamie also learned that he had a son in season four, and that information was only shared with him once it seemed as if he would be leaving his adopted family behind. His ex-partner, Christina, introduced the father and son pair as Jamie visited his biological father, Garrett Randall.
Of course, if you’re all caught up with Yellowstone, you know Jamie decided to cut a branch off his family tree after season four. Jamie took the life of his father, and while he blames Beth for that decision, Jamie is the one who pulled the trigger in every sense of the word. The only family Jamie has now is the Duttons, and he’s still fighting them at every turn.
Viewers also know that Lee Dutton was killed at the very beginning of Yellowstone, which happened well before his time. Lee’s untold story is a painful weight that John carries on his shoulders daily.
John and Evelyn had another biological son, Kayce, and he’s continuing the true legacy of the Dutton family as we know it. Kayce married Monica, and they have two sons together, one who lived for only an hour after being born and was named after his grandfather, John. The other is the beloved Tate Dutton, the boy who grew up with more trauma than most adults will ever face in a lifetime. Tate is smart, witty, and full of charisma, and as the next generation, it’ll be interesting to see which path he takes as he continues to grow.
Kayce seems to want to bring another child into the world, but they’re both reeling from the loss of their son, and we’re not sure what the future holds for continued growth in the Dutton family tree, but we’ll all find out as the series continues.
Of course, John and Evelyn shared a daughter, too — Beth Dutton, and she is as brilliant as she is fierce and fiery. She’s also dedicated to her father and the life he has always envisioned for his family. She cannot have biological children of her own (something Jamie decided for her without her knowledge), but she is married to Rip Wheeler, and they’ve taken in a boy who needs safety and people to care for him. Likewise, she doesn’t like being called a mother since it’s something she’ll “never be,” but Carter is important to Beth, and she also means a lot to him.
One of the most unspoken truths in Yellowstone is that you don’t have to be related by blood to be family. There’s a lot the Dutton family is up against, but they’re there for one another at the end of the day, and few things in the world are more important than that.