TV westerns are few and far between these days, but Paramount Network's Yellowstone sits squarely among recent efforts. Creator Taylor Sheridan, of Sons of Anarchy fame, is a genre fanatic through and through, having penned 2016's acclaimed feature Hell or High Water. In fact, Sheridan spearheaded the effort to get the rights for Clint Eastwood's "Claudia's Song" from Unforgiven, despite the fact that no one had gotten permission before. Here's how he put it in an exclusive behind-the-scenes clip.
But guess what? Regardless of anyone else's previous failed attempts, Taylor Sheridan's request was accepted and allowed. It appears the iconic Clint Eastwood took the consideration to heart and decided that both Sheridan and Yellowstone were genuine and authentic enough with intentions for "Claudia's Song," and he gave his ultra-rare permission for the track to be used in the series.
"Claudia's Song" shows up at the beginning of "The Remembering," which was Episode 6 in Yellowstone's freshman season. Taylor Sheridan, who wrote and directed all nine episodes, had to have felt pretty magnificent once he got the O.K. from Clint Eastwood to go forward with the scene, Unforgiven music fully intact. In the video, Sheridan also explained how important the song and the movie are for him.
One might presume that Taylor Sheridan would have found other conspicuous ways to honor Clint Eastwood and possibly other genre legends throughout Yellowstone had "Claudia's Song" not been authorized for use. Sure, his first directorial effort, 2012's Vile, was a horror film, and his first acting role was as Veronica Mars' Danny Boyd. However, he's gotten to show off his Western skills with Hell or High Water, 2017's Wind River (which he wrote and directed), and with Yellowstone. Here's hoping he continues doing such a great job, too.
You can hear him tell the story in the exclusive clip below.
Viewers are obviously in agreement that Taylor Sheridan knows what he's doing, with or without Unforgiven's iconic theme, which Clint Eastwood wrote with conductor Lennie Niehaus. Yellowstone has been a massive hit for Paramount Network, easily becoming one of the top new cable series of 2018. Averaging over 2 million viewers across its first season, and around a 0.4 demo rating, the Kevin Costner drama doubled its viewer totals and ratings for all but one episode when delayed viewing stats were tallied.
Yellowstone ended Season 1 back in August, but fans can pick up the DVD set in stores today. No one has to worry about its future, either, as Paramount Network renewed it for Season 2 just a month after it premiered. Everyone can look forward to seeing Arrow-verse vet Neal McDonough in Season 2 as another skeezy character who probably smiles too much.