‘Yellowstone’s Taylor Sheridan Says Hollywood Killed Westerns With a ‘Bunch of Bad Movies’

by Blake Ells

When Taylor Sheridan stopped his pursuit of leading roles, he began writing. His first script was for the series Mayor of Kingstown. Then came scripts for the films Sicario, Wind River and the Oscar-nominated screenplay for Hell or High Water. Despite his quick success with writing, everyone in Hollywood passed on Yellowstone.

In a new interview with CBS, Sheridan recalls the rejection. “Nobody’s doing TV westerns,” they’d tell him. But he was sure he had something special.

“Look anytime Hollywood says a genre is dead, it’s because they make a bunch of bad movies about it,” he said.

Chris McCarthy at Paramount believed that Sheridan had something special, too. And he went all in on the risk.

“People think of Westerns as good guys and bad guys, and this is really such a different show,” he said.

“It’s much more [complex],” McCarthy continued. “And much more appealing. I’ve been in television nearly 20 years, and there’s very few times when my 18-year-old niece and my 80-year-old aunt ask me about that same show. And this was one of those moments.”

“When you see the entire world, you get it,” McCarthy said. “He mentally creates his own world in the series. He creates that world for himself. And, you know, he’s unique that way.”

Taylor Sheridan “Writes What He Knows”

“And he writes it incredibly well,” McCarthy said.

Sheridan says that he was ready to retire. His plan was to do it by the time he was 50-years-old. Now, he has at least 10 Paramount series either on the air or in the works. In addition to Yellowstone and 1883, we also know about 1932. That’s so far.

It makes sense that this worked for Sheridan because this is what he lives. He owns two ranches in Texas and he provides most of the horses for the show himself.

“All of the horses, for the most part, in our business are terrible,” said the Yellowstone creator. “They’re not very broke. They’re not very safe, which is one of the reasons you don’t see actors on ’em very often. And I didn’t want to do that. So I bought all the horses for the show, and then I taught the actors how to ride ’em.”

And why did he choose to portray Travis Wheatley himself? Because he couldn’t find an actor good enough on a horse to play a horse-trader.

Sure, when other projects were stalling, retiring seemed like a good goal. But if he had achieved that by 50, his life wouldn’t look much different than it does now. He’s not really a golfer. He’s happy where he’s at. “I don’t know how to [play golf] – I see that much grass, I wanna put cows on it,” he said.

This week, new characters were announced for the show’s fifth season.