Human Interest


For the past three years, I have heard a lot of people rave about a dramatic series on one of the streaming television networks. That series called “Yellowstone” stars Kevin Costner as the owner of the largest ranch in southern Montana and the patriarch of the family which has owned and managed the property for a century. The ranch is called Yellowstone because it borders upon Yellowstone National Park.

Costner’s character, John Dutton, is a widower in his late 60’s who wages a continuous battle against external forces that threaten the integrity of his ranch. In Dutton’s mind, everyone is out to get him and steal his land by any means possible. Attempts on his life are not unusual. His four children, who are as different as night and day, are constantly having to prove their loyalty to their father, but live their lives to preserve the ranch they ultimately hope to inherit. 

If you’ve watched this series, you may or may not agree with my opinion about this story, and the message it presents. Yes, I know it’s just a movie, it’s purely fictional, and I should lighten up, but several things about this series bother me. Call me a prude, old-fashioned, or overly sensitive, but I really hope there aren’t a lot of people like most of the characters in the story. I’ve tried hard to find the silver lining in the plot, but as far into it as early in season five it has  eluded me. Every once in awhile, a redeeming value shows through, but it is offset by something that same character does in another scene.

The story is captivating but terribly unrealistic. The cast of characters is narcissistic, hateful, vindictive, revengeful, profane, and frankly evil. John Dutton is intended to be the story’s  authority figure, but his sense of right and wrong is determined only by what’s best for him. He cannot overcome the urge to bully everyone. But that’s not what bothers me about the story. 

Throughout the character dialog the use of the “F” word is pervasive and overdone. It is said so often it seems like the writers want to flood the viewer’s senses with it to desensitize us. It is used far too often by every character, in every situation, in nearly every scene, and in situations where most people would not use it. It reaches a place where it seems it’s used just to be used. I don’t know anyone who uses the “F” word, or casually calls everyone an ‘MF-er,” as often as these characters. Other profanities are frequently spoken, again seemingly just for shock effect.

Another problem with “Yellowstone” is the total disregard for the value of human life. People are killed/murdered in every episode, and most of them are for revenge. Horse thieves are assaulted and shot rather than arrested. They’re killed, of course, in retaliation for assaulting law enforcement when they tried to apprehend them. Ranch hands who get out of line are taken to a remote spot, shot in the head, and dumped in a remote canyon rather than reprimanded and fired. Dutton’s adopted son, after learning his real father engineered a vicious attack on all the Dutton’s, murders his father and dumps his body in the same canyon. This vengeful behavior is repeated in every episode, and violence and shootings are used to discipline those who cross the Dutton’s. If that’s too harsh, they beat them to a pulp, instead!

Again, I know this is a story and fantasy, and it shouldn’t bother me, but there are truly evil people in the cast of characters. Foremost among them is Dutton’s daughter, Beth, who is rude, hateful, profane, amoral, and the worst example of how an adult woman should behave. It’s difficult to accurately depict her, but her reddish-blond hair could be symbolic of the devil. The interpersonal relations between the characters are always contentious, insolent, disrespectful, profane, and adversarial. These people just don’t get along, hold grudges, and get revenge any way they can. Do people really behave like that? Is everyone trying to hurt someone else? If we had a world filled with people like these kind of folks, life would be unpleasant constantly. 

I know this is only a fictional situational drama, is pure fantasy, and I can choose to not watch it, but I object to the behavior it justifies. Pervasive profanity, random and casual murders, greed, jealousy, hateful behavior, contentious relations between family members and adversarial attitude toward anyone else sends the wrong message. Mature adults with life experiences will not be affected by this story and realize this is not reality, but how will young people react? Will “f you” become part of their every conversation? Will “f-ing this or f-ing that” be used to describe anything they talk about? Will they rudely insult people they meet rather than being polite and mannerly? Will they decide to take the life of someone who has crossed them? Gee, I hope not! If they do, our world will devolve into chaos and violence, worse than it already has.

I’m sure some readers will disagree with me and say “It’s just a movie!” I’m just registering my opinion, but if our society becomes like the Dutton’s, and the numerous other characters in “Yellowstone,” we’re in trouble. People need to get along, be courteous to one another, be respectful and loving, and value human life; it makes for a better world when they do. But if they don’t, it certainly makes for a good story.

Related Articles


  1. I agree with you 100%. I watched a few episodes with Jim and quit watching. I told my kids that it shows lack of intelligence when you can’t find another word to describe something!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button