A Comprehensive Season-by-Season Ranking, from the Groundbreaking to the Unforgettable

For some, ranking the seasons of Yellowstone is akin to selecting a favorite child. However, when you delve into the essence of the Paramount+ series—a saga reminiscent of Succession, centered on the battle for control over the Dutton family’s Montana ranch—the comparison seems quite apt.

It’s evident that the Kevin Costner-led series is nearing its twilight, partly due to the off-screen drama involving disputes between the show’s leading man and its creator, Taylor Sheridan. This contractual tug-of-war, coupled with production halts from strikes and a recent lawsuit, has led to a notably tense atmosphere on set.

But out of all the seasons of this epic saga, which has not only captured the title of America’s most-watched ongoing series but also given rise to numerous spin-offs, which one truly stands out?

5. Season five – The series might be strategically holding back, gearing up to deliver a dramatic surge in the latter half of the season. However, in the initial episodes of season five, the plot progresses gently, primarily focusing on John’s ascent to governorship.

But, hope is far from extinguished! The mid-season finale introduced several intriguing plot threads that promise to escalate the drama, including Jamie’s bold move against John and Beth, alongside Kayce and Monica’s resolution to return to the ranch. Moreover, the ongoing saga of the wolves continues to stir the narrative, ensuring viewers remain on the edge of their seats.

4. Season four – The critique directed at season five echoes the sentiments previously aimed at its predecessor, suggesting a pattern where Taylor Sheridan might be overextending himself amidst the increasing demands from Paramount.

Despite filling season five with a substantial 10 episodes, notable developments seem sparse. Even the unexpected assault on the Duttons in season four resulted in… little to no consequences.

3. Season one – This is the season where everything started, deserving automatic recognition for launching numerous sequels and spin-offs. However, this inaugural season finds itself lower in the rankings, primarily due to the implausible scene involving an exploding meth lab that occurs while Kayce and Monica are on a drive. Therefore, it’s not devoid of moments filled with exaggerated melodrama.

2. Season three – The third season of Yellowstone offers a riveting viewing experience. Following a season deeply entrenched in Old West dynamics, where the Duttons clashed with the Beck Brothers, the show introduced a modern antagonist: a colossal corporation aiming to demolish the ranch for an airport development.

However, this season’s momentum took a hit. After the dynamic and well-balanced second season, which skillfully combined hijinks and melodrama with deep character explorations, the third season appeared sluggish in comparison.

1. Season two – The Beck Brothers emerge as top contenders for the title of the show’s ultimate villains, showcasing their prowess in manipulation and intimidation, all while chillingly considering their actions to be justified. Their violent confrontations with John Dutton and his allies—especially the harrowing attack on Beth—remain among the most compelling narrative moments in the series.

Regardless of your feelings towards them, several of Taylor Sheridan’s resilient women and ruthless cowboys have secured their place in the pantheon of TV character legends. Through Yellowstone, these characters navigate contemporary dilemmas with an Old West flair. Yee-haw!