‘Yellowstone’ TV: Why Some Fans Are Totally Divided on Kevin Costner’s Character on the Series

by Jennifer Shea

“Yellowstone” fans can’t seem to decide what they think about the John Dutton character. But they can all agree on one thing: Kevin Costner is excellent in the role.

In a recent Reddit discussion, fans sounded off about John Dutton, with some expressing admiration and others tearing the character down. Whatever else he may be – good or bad businessman, kind or cruel father – John Dutton is clearly polarizing.

The same cannot be said of Costner. Even fans who dislike the John Dutton character on “Yellowstone” praised Costner for his acting chops and onscreen presence.

‘Yellowstone’ Fans Debate John Dutton’s Character

One “Yellowstone” fan kicked the discussion off with a list of reasons to like John Dutton. Those include the character’s pearls of wisdom and the respect he commands on the Dutton ranch.

“John is by far my favorite and I’m wondering if anyone else feels the same,” the fan wrote. “First off, Kevin does a great job of playing the growly and tough guy that John is at times while also adding some good one-liners and life lessons. When John is on screen, stuff happens.”

“I haven’t seen too many characters like this on TV,” the fan added. “Anyone else feel the same? Right now, he’s the king. He could’ve just been a docile or average patriarchal character and it could’ve worked. But everything starts and stops with him. I respect that.”

Not everyone was on the same page, however. Some “Yellowstone” fans had strong negative reactions to John Dutton – whether because of his capacity for ruthless violence, because of how gruffly he treats his children, or for some other reason, it varied by the commenter.

“OMG, I hate John Dutton as a character,” another fan piped up. “However, I love Kevin and what he stands for.”

“Kevin is a great actor, but John is a terrible business man,” another fan chimed in. “Also, John is a terrible terrible father.”

“He was extremely unlikeable the first season,” yet another fan posted. “Then you realize he is beyond likable despite how flawed he is.”

Still, fans of the John Dutton character outnumbered his detractors on the thread. And even those who shared their dislike for John Dutton said they liked Costner as an actor.

Costner Himself Has Mixed Feelings About John Dutton

But the actor himself hasn’t always found John Dutton easy to identify with. In fact, Costner told Indie Wire in 2019 that he has wrestled with Dutton’s ruthlessness. And he has confronted the show’s writers over some of the decisions they had Dutton make.

“When I see behavior that’s off, it bothers me,” Costner told Indie Wire. “I have to look at John and understand — outside the character — ‘Hey, you just crossed a line. There’s no going back from that. You sanctioned a killing.’ You can inform the storytellers, the creators, that, ‘Look, we’ve just done that, and now we have to make sure we deal with it honestly.’”

Costner’s overarching goal is to prevent people from losing faith in the character. He realizes Dutton has to be sympathetic for audiences to stick with “Yellowstone.” And judging by the show’s Season 3 ratings, he’s done a pretty decent job of that so far.