Co-creator and Yellowstone mastermind Taylor Sheridan‘s name has become synonymous with the modern Western. But how many episodes of his most famous project to date has he actually written?
We’ll give this one to you right off the bat. How’s that for service? When it comes to Yellowstone, Taylor Sheridan is credited for writing 30 episodes of the Western epic by IMDb.
Now you might be thinking to yourself “30, that’s it?” But keep in mind Yellowstone has only been around for 3 seasons so far, with each averaging 10 episodes. In fact, Season 1 was 9 episodes. Season 2 was 10, and Season 3 also had 10 episodes. Each feels like its own film, too, so the slow-burn episode count isn’t without merit.
In today’s modern world of binge-watching and streaming old classics, however, 30 episodes sounds… Meager. Especially when we consider the 251 total episodes of M*A*S*H, or the 14 seasons and 431 episodes of NBC’s longest-running western, Bonanza.
While Yellowstone only (officially) has 29 episodes to its rank, Taylor Sheridan has written 30 according to the database. This may include, we’re thinking, an (unaired) pilot.
Other modern Westerns have closer runs, though. Take Westworld, for example, which is on pace with Yellowstone at 28 episodes across 3 seasons.
In short: Taylor Sheridan has written, or at least co-written, every single episode we’ve seen of Yellowstone so far. No wonder we love it!
Taylor Sheridan IS ‘Yellowstone’ – and Vice Versa
In our extensive coverage of our favorite show here on Outsider, we often remark on Sheridan’s total influence over Yellowstone. This isn’t any sort of service or pandering. It’s simply the truth of the matter.
In fact, IMDb further cites the following all-encompassing credits to Sheridan’s name:
|Taylor Sheridan||…||(created by) (30 episodes, 2018-2021)|
|Taylor Sheridan||…||(written by) (30 episodes, 2018-2021)|
|Taylor Sheridan||…||(story by) (30 episodes, 2018-2021)|
|Taylor Sheridan||…||(teleplay by) (30 episodes, 2018-2021)|
And while many other prolific television directors have taken a crack at Yellowstone, Sheridan holds the record for most episodes directed at a total of 9 out of 29 (or is it 30?), too. In second place is Stephen Kay with 8, followed by John Dahl with 4.
So how, exactly, did Taylor Sheridan come to create his sprawling Western epoch?
Sheridan’s Family Ranch ‘Informed’ the Dutton’s Own In Many Ways
Speaking to Texas Highways in his home state, the creator states outright that his “family ranch has informed ‘Yellowstone’ in many ways.”
“But losing it was the biggest one,” he adds. Which makes sense, as Yellowstone is absolutely frothing with loss. And if you’ve read up on Sheridan himself, then you know he’s not just a fanatic – but a true-to-life cowboy, too.
“When you write, it’s always of an autobiographical nature,” he continues for the trade. As such, Sheridan has poured his whole self into the show, which has undoubtedly contributed to its uber-success.
For a bit of history, Sheridan’s family ranch sold 30 years ago in 1991; a product of his parents’ divorce. Studying at Texas State University, San Marcos at the time, a young Taylor would be deeply scarred by this loss. Cue the Dutton’s deadly fight to keep their family ranch.
In the same interview, Sheridan’s mother, Susan Drew, says her son did not speak to her for a year after the sale.
But Susan couldn’t run the ranch alone, knew this, and was ready to move on. Taylor, however, was not. And as Yellowstone so powerfully demonstrates, he may never be.
Yet somehow we’re all better for it. Long live the Duttons.