‘Yellowstone’: Meet the Real-Life Montana Man Who Was Like John Dutton

by Amy Myers

For John Dutton and his kids, family and their property always come first, no matter the cost. Sometimes, for the Yellowstone stars, that means they aren’t afraid to break the law or line up their crosshairs. Legal or not, it’s a matter of deeply-set morals that deem that blood is always thicker than water – or whiskey for that matter. But the Duttons aren’t the only ones to have adopted that mentality. In fact, once upon a time, there was a Montana frontiersman that became something of a folk hero for some of the very same reasons Yellowstone has found a special place in our hearts.

Originally from Clarksburg, West Virginia, Granville Stuart’s childhood was marked by his time playing cowboys and Indians in the 1830s, according to Rock Island Auction Company. When they later moved to Iowa, his father, like so many, caught gold fever. So, on he went to chase his dreams of wealth and wonder in California when Granville was only four years old. Once he and his brothers were old enough, they ventured into the wild west, where Granville earned the name “Mr. Montana.”

While Stuart spent much of his younger years dabbling in the mining industry, he managed to pick up some valuable knowledge about ranching all the while. In fact, he’s the one responsible for introducing the territory to cattle ranching, becoming the most respected rancher that the region had ever seen. As we know, John Dutton, himself, is a formidable rancher, not only taking good care of his animals but carefully selecting the individuals he put in charge of the property. Like John, Granville protected his own lands against cattle thieves, competing industries and Native American tribes.

How John Dutton’s ‘Yellowstone’ Brand Mimics the Ideology of ‘Stuart’s Stranglers’

But this isn’t the only similarity that John and Granville share – far from it. Both the Yellowstone patriarch and Mr. Montana demonstrated that the only law that matters is the ones they create, themselves. For John, this meant the creation of the ranch brand. For Granville, this was the start of “Stuart’s Stranglers.”

Like in Yellowstone, there was a vague sense of law enforcement in Montana at the time of Granville’s influence. However, it was much more effective if you had your own clan of rough and tumble men. And, of course, women that could uphold the standard. So, in order to put a stop to local thievery, Granville collected 14 men that he trusted and deemed them Stuart’s Stranglers.

Much like John Dutton’s men on Yellowstone, these true cowboys weren’t afraid of a shoot-out, and best bet they would win nearly every time. Their family-and-ranch-first mindset was the cornerstone of the “Stranglers'” loyalty to Granville, just as the bunkhouse pledges their loyalty to John.