You can recognize the “Yellowstone” opening sequence by its sweeping landscapes and interesting symbolism. But, fans have noticed something that’s just a bit out of place in the opening credits.
Fans took to Reddit to discuss the issues. “Anyone ever notice that [half] the stuff in the opening sequence is never mentioned in the show?” asked a “Yellowstone” fan. “The opening sequence shows oil wells and open pit mineral mines. We never see any of those in the shows I thought it would be a major theme.”
The opening sequence is a smorgasbord of western motifs, including bison, bull riding, and a raging wildfire. But it’s also rife with images of industry, construction, and oil mining.
“I’ve always taken the opening theme to be a juxtaposition of nature v industrialism,” one fan commented. The old school western images versus the new construction and technology represents the struggle of the original ways to survive. The Duttons represent the old ways, the big cattle ranches, while everything around them changes, becoming incessantly built up.
Essentially, it’s straight up symbolism. We can actually use literary conflicts to describe this; the opening credits represent a mix of conflicts, a Man versus Society versus Machine type of situation. The Duttons represent Man, while the changing industrial climate represents Society and Machine. We have the Duttons’ old school ways challenged by modern advancements like the oil rigs and building construction (Machine); we also have everyone who’s ever tried to take down the Duttons (Society).
Looking back, it’s an interesting juxtaposition that sets the stage for the show’s main conflicts. The Duttons are trying to hold onto a way of life that society slowly pushes away to the edge.
‘Yellowstone’: What Do the Credits Mean?
The “Yellowstone” opening credits are an interesting lesson in symbolism and imagery. First, the sequence is all in shades of gold; this could represent the Duttons’ wealth, or the figurative wealth of the land. The Duttons have monetary wealth, but there’s natural wealth in the plains and mountains. Not necessarily gold, but it’s that rich color that lets us know that there’s wealth here.
Additionally, there was a theory going around on Reddit previously that posed the question if the “Yellowstone” credits took inspiration from the “Westworld” credits. I came to the conclusion that they have similar western themes, but the “Westworld” credits make you feel small and contained. The machines come out of a dense black void, with the host built in front of you. You’re made to feel as if the engineers are building you as well.
For “Yellowstone”, it’s all about the expansion of the land and the grandiose backdrops. The expansive landscape is supposed to blow you away; make you feel like standing in the field surveying your land. It’s about wealth, the acquisition of such wealth, and the things that threaten that.