Spoilers are ahead for the ending of the Yellowstone prequel series 1883.
- The Yellowstone universe is expanding with multiple spinoffs and prequels in the works, including 1883, 1923, 6666, and a tentative third prequel set in 1944.
- Characters from the original series, such as James Dutton, Margaret Dutton, Elsa Dutton, and John Dutton Sr., appear in multiple Yellowstone universe shows, thanks to flashbacks and narration.
- With Yellowstone ending in 2024, crossover characters are expected to appear in both 6666 and 1944, providing an exciting opportunity to see familiar faces in new settings.
A few Yellowstone crossover characters have appeared in multiple shows in the franchise’s ever-growing universe, and that trend will likely continue, especially as the parent series returns for its final season. Well before the imminent release of Yellowstone season 5, part 2, Taylor Sheridan and John Linson’s neo-Western drama spawned two prequel series: 1883, which chronicles the Dutton family’s journey to Montana, and 1923, which focuses on the Duttons and Yellowstone Ranch during the Great Deperession. Other spinoffs, including the present day-set sequel 6666 and a third prequel, tentatively titled 1944, are also in the works. Needless to say, the Yellowstone universe is far from over.
The original series, which premiered in 2008, centers on the present-day Dutton family, which is led by patriarch John Dutton. Played by Kevin Costner, who’s leaving Yellowstone before its ending, John has gone from rancher to Montana governor over the course of the show’s five-season run. The intergenerational drama franchise proves that there are plenty of stories to tell when it comes to the Duttons and their adversaries. Despite the property’s unique approach to storytelling, very few characters have crossed over into multiple Yellowstone universe series. Still, thanks to the power of flashbacks, a few Duttons have cropped up in several Taylor Sheridan shows.
Yellowstone season 5, part 2 will begin filming in early 2024.
6 James Dutton
1883 & Yellowstone
So far, no Yellowstone spinoff has matched the original series’ longevity, but 1883 worked so well because of its limited series format. The Yellowstone prequel chronicles the Dutton family’s journey to Montana and doesn’t pull punches when it comes to depicting the harsh conditions homesteaders faced on their way West. James Dutton (Tim McGraw), a Civil War vet from Tennessee, is the family’s devoted patriarch. The great-grandfather of Costner’s John Dutton III, James and his wife, Margaret Dutton (Faith Hill), both appear in Yellowstone season 4. In fact, a flashback featuring the Dutton couple and (some of) their kids serves as the backdoor pilot for 1883.
5 Margaret Dutton
1883 & Yellowstone
After the Yellowstone prequel’s harsh finale, viewers wondered what happened to James and Margaret Dutton after 1883. The Yellowstone season 4 flashback gives audience members some clues as to how the Dutton couple fair. Set several years after they settle on the Montana land that becomes Yellowstone Ranch, the flashback features a gun-toting James taking out cattle thieves. At home, Hill’s Margaret, played by McGraw’s real-life partner, shares a meal with her sons. After his scuffle with the thieves, James makes it home, though he’s bleeding everywhere. While James and Margaret’s ultimate fates are up in the air, their appearance in Yellowstone set quite the stage for 1883.
4 Elsa Dutton
1883 & 1923
Every episode of 1883, both worst and best, heavily features Elsa Dutton (Isabel May) — a young woman who learns how to be a cowboy while traveling West with her family. In fact, the 10-episode miniseries is narrated by May’s character. Resourceful-yet-naive, Elsa is hardened by the wagon party’s harsh journey to the West Coast. Although she argues with her parents, James and Margaret, throughout the series, Elsa winds up being one of the Dutton family’s most skilled survivalists. While some viewers found Elsa’s narration grating, it’s a clever way to reflect the change in perspective that came with the Westward movement of the late 1800s.
That makes the show’s ending even more brutal: 1883‘s finale kills off Elsa Dutton. After being struck by an arrow, the newly minted cowgirl knows she’ll die, but asks her father to bury her in Paradise Valley, the future home of Yellowstone Ranch. Although Elsa Dutton dies in James’ arms, she returns in 1923 — sort of. Inexplicably, Isabel May’s Elsa narrates the other Yellowstone prequel series. A touching tribute to the first Dutton to die on the land, the narration doesn’t make a ton of logical sense, but it does technically make Elsa one of the Yellowstone franchise’s few crossover characters.
3 John Dutton Sr.
1883, 1923 & Yellowstone
Evidently, no Yellowstone timeline is complete without John Dutton Sr., who appears in the original series as well as both 1883 and 1923. The younger child of James and Margaret at the start of 1883, Audie Rick portrays the character as a five-year-old boy. Unlike his sister, Elsa, John Sr. survives the harsh journey to Montana. In 1923, James Badge Dale plays the character, serving as his uncle Jacob Dutton’s (Harrison Ford) right-hand man. Much like his parents, John Dutton III’s grandfather appears in Yellowstone courtesy of the season 4 flashbacks; set in 1893, the flashbacks show John Dutton Sr. (Jack Michael Doke) as a teenager.
Yellowstone sequel series 6666 does not have a precise release date, but will likely go into production in 2024.
2 Spencer Dutton
1923 & Yellowstone
There’s no denying that 1923 has a memorable cast of characters played by top-notch talent. While playing Spencer Dutton in the Yellowstone prequel, Westworld actor Brandon Sklenar manages to hold his own with the likes of Helen Mirren, who plays Cara Dutton, and Harrison Ford, who plays Jacob Dutton. In 1923, Jacob is the patriarch of the Dutton family. Since he and Cara have no children of their own, they raise James and Margaret’s surviving children, John Dutton Sr. and Spencer, as their own. Although Spencer wasn’t yet born when his family traveled West in 1883, he does appear as a kid in the 1893-set Yellowstone flashbacks.
1 Yellowstone Spinoffs 6666 & 1944 Will Likely Feature Crossover Characters
Crossovers Are Bound To Happen In Both Yellowstone Shows
With Yellowstone ending in 2024, it would make perfect sense to feature crossover characters in both of the upcoming Paramount+ spinoffs. Given the time period in which it’s set, the first spinoff, 1944, could definitely feature characters from both 1923 and Yellowstone. Perhaps even more exciting, however, is the possibility of some fan-favorite characters appearing in Yellowstone‘s first-ever sequel series, 6666. Set at the Four Sixes Ranch in Texas, the spinoff is bound to feature a few familiar faces, including Jimmy Hurdstram (Jefferson White), a Yellowstone ranch hand who was sent to 6666 Ranch after breaking a deal with John Dutton.