‘Yellowstone’ Creator Taylor Sheridan Reflects on Exploring ‘Beauty’ of American West

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images)

“Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan shared with fans his thoughts on filming stories set in the American West and the “cowboy way of life.”

The official “Yellowstone” Instagram page posted an interview with Sheridan featuring gorgeous landscape shots of the Montana countryside. Montana is where the show is set and filmed, adding a real sense of authenticity to it. The show teamed up with Tractor Supply to shoot the short interview, where Sheridan talked about the “beauty” of the West.

“There’s a rawness to the West that still reflects where we came from,” Sheridan begins. “There’s an untouched beauty, and I believe that it allows us to still look at ourselves in our simplest state.”

Simple isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it’s often where we find peace and inner reflection on life.

“We go to a city where we’ve concreted everything, and it’s really hard to see how we got to that point,” the “Yellowstone” creator continues. “So I like to choose stories that take place in America’s West because it’s the world that I know.

“And also because I think it’s easier to look at ourselves. Because the issues we face and the challenges we overcome are clearer. They’re more acute because there are just fewer of us. We haven’t screwed the place up yet.”

Humanity’s touch can be hard to spot in the American West. But nobody knows that better than Sheridan, who grew up on a ranch in Texas.

‘Yellowstone’ Creator Taylor Sheridan’s Ties to Ranching and the American West

In his short interview, “Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan opened up about growing up with a cowboy and ranching mindset.

“Ranching’s been a part of my family for generations,” Sheridan says. “It was something that my parents felt was important for us to be involved in. And I look to the lessons that I learned there, and they inform decisions that I make and the stories that I tell.

“It’s the world I know. Every great storyteller tells stories in the world that they know,” the “Yellowstone” creator says.

And it clearly is a world Sheridan’s familiar with. From the real-life problems the Duttons face to the atmosphere of the ranch and bunkhouse, everything feels genuine. Mostly because Sheridan uses real people and an integral philosophy to drive his storytelling.

“In the American West, it’s always been a place built on self-reliance and community. I think it comes from the fact that it was unsettled for so long,” Sheridan continues. “People had to rely on each other. And because you’re so reliant on others around you, it’s created a code. And that code is excellence, community, faith, friendship, and your word meaning something.”

We see proof of that in John Dutton, who keeps his words with enemies and friends. John also embodies what Sheridan calls “the cowboy way of life,” because he understands that one man can’t be responsible for everything on a ranch. He needs people like Rip, Kayce, Beth, and even Jamie to lend a hand every once in a while.

“The cowboy way of life is built upon help from others,” Sheridan concludes. “I don’t try to create dramatic stories or dramatic characters. I try to create real scenarios based on people who I’ve known or who I’ve imagined. And then I hold the mirror up to that world and I believe that if I make something look real, it will be dramatic. Because life is dramatic.”