Yellowstone TV: How a Feature Film Would Perfectly Capture the Final Battle Between the Duttons and Broken Rock

by Jon D. B.
Photo credit: Paramount Network / Viacom Inc. / Yellowstone

Yellowstone fans the world over are hoping for a feature-length film for the Duttons – and this epic climactic battle is the only way to do a Yellowstone movie justice.

Television and film have long stood apart as two separate worlds. While viewership for the “small screen” traditionally eclipses the “big screen” movies, we still tend to think of films as the “bigger” of the two in pretty much every single way. This does not, however, make it the superior storytelling format. In fact, film and television both serve as entirely different ways to tell stories – and we’re all the better for it.

Will The Duttons Work in Film?

In an age where more and more of us are getting our movies at home on our small screens, the “bigness” of the big screen is held intact by the epic nature of films. Sure, we may be binging more long-form storytelling via Netflix series and streaming shows like Yellowstone, but its the be-all-end-all, epic stories that warrant that grandiose, two-hour window.

As such, the feature film format best serves a narrative when it can remain tightly focused on a linear story. Imagine trying to fit even just half a season of Game of Thrones into a single film. Er, honestly, just go watch the final season for proof that cramming that much story into a truncated timeframe simply doesn’t work. Too many characters, plots, and ideas wasted.

While Yellowstone is not the same sort of warhorse as GOT, it does still feature a hefty ensemble. The Duttons, however, are a relatively concise family unit at the core of the show. Focusing in on a two-hour tale for John, Beth (& Rip, of course), Jamie, Kayce, Monica, and Tate is absolutely doable. But what sort of story could warrant telling it through a two-hour film as opposed to Yellowstone’s episodic formatting? The story would have to be something monumental for the ranch. Otherwise, why not just use it for an episode or two of television?

Season 4, Then Yellowstone Film?

When thinking of Yellowstone in this way, one conflict for the Duttons comes to mind – and it is where all of Seasons 1 – 3 have been leading: The final battle between the Duttons of Yellowstone Ranch and the Indigenous Peoples of Broken Rock Indian Reservation.

Season 4 is nigh, and will absolutely deal with this thread head-on. But are we to that climactic final battle yet with S4? Has everything gotten to the point where we’re in for a season-long, bombastic, all-out war between the Duttons and Broken Rock? Oh no. They’re just beginning.

Season 3 ended with assassination attempts made on several of the Dutton clan. We can assume, then, that much of S4 will be dedicated to unraveling the Dutton assassination attempts, and weeding through the snakes in the grass to get to the true culprit (double agent Angela Blue Thunder is a top contender here). And once we do narrow in – the final battle can begin. This won’t be any small task, either. The wolves are circling Yellowstone from all sides, and the Dutton’s enemies are far from few.

This, in essence, sets up S4 as the perfect pre-cursor to an epic, standalone film to follow. Working through all this thick plot in S4 would also, in turn, allow for writers to focus in on a tight, outcome-based story for a Yellowstone film to follow.

Yellowstone vs Broken Rock Would Shatter the Duttons

Photo courtesy of Paramount Network Press / Viacom

With all this in mind, it also becomes evident that nearly every main plot line from the show is leading to this conflict. This, combined with the importance it holds for every single main character on the show, makes it the best candidate for a film plot, by far. By crafting a film script around the backbone of the show, Paramount could ensure that they don’t fall into the oft’ trap of “making TV show into a movie just for the sake of making a TV show into a movie.”

But what would make it absolutely perfect for a film – is the heart of this battle. It’s not just Duttons vs Broken Rock. It would become the Duttons vs themselves. Few conflicts stir audiences like that of a couple meant for one another. To this end, the complex relationship between Monica and Kayce Dutton would become that very heart of this conflict – and serve as the perfect heart for a Yellowstone film.

Monica is a Native American born within the lands of the Dutton Ranch. Her indigenous ancestors lived within the valley’s northwestern plains for centuries, before ending up on the Broken Rock Indian Reservation. After marrying one of the Dutton boys, Kayce, she became a part of their family, as well, before giving birth to their precious son, Tate.

Kayce & Monica: The Heart of Yellowstone

A key part of Monica’s role in the show has been centered around her Native American heritage. Fittingly so, as it is who she is. Yet as she becomes increasingly torn between (and more involved with) her Native American upbringing on the reservation and her love of the Duttons – where would her loyalties lie in such a final conflict between her families? How could she possibly choose? How could we, as an audience, possibly choose a side, either?

This sort of dichotomy is exactly where filmmakers want to land. The best villain is a villain who sees themselves the hero. And in this battle, there are absolutely heroes (and villains) on both sides. As such, a strong, solid, and absolutely gripping story unfolds for viewers. And this is exactly what fans deserve from a Yellowstone film.

In short, having the final, surely violent confrontation between Yellowstone & the Reservation, with Kayce and Monica at the heart of it all – sounds like the perfect Yellowstone film we’ve all been waiting for.

What’s more, Paramount will be switching its studio focus to “made for television films.” In fact, the show is such a hit for them in recent seasons, that Yellowstone itself is molding the studio’s entire future plans. They’re so dedicated to this, they’re rebranding to the Paramount Movie Network. As a result, PMN will now structure our favorite television show as a “cinematic experience.” How will they do this? Possibly by “programming two episodes in a single night with limited commercial interruptions”, according to Variety.

While all of this seems to point toward the inevitability of a film, there has been no official confirmation from Paramount. One thing is for certain, though – and that’d be the success of a Yellowstone movie. So bring it on, Paramount. The fans, well… We’re ready.