After many months of radio silence from the Yellowstone franchise, fans have enjoyed a relative deluge of information in recent weeks, peaking with the premiere dates finally being revealed for both Season 4 and the 1883 prequel spinoff. Personally, I'm still celebrating the news that country superstars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were cast to portray the Dutton family ancestors James and Margaret, with the legendary Sam Elliott rounding out the early casting. And while it'll probably be a couple of months before fans get any episodic footage, McGraw is already offering up some gold nuggets behind the scenes.
Considering the 1883 series may very well incorporate some gold-rush storytelling into its narrative, perhaps it's more appropriate to specifically say that Tim McGraw shared some dirty denim and brown leather nuggets on Twitter as he prepares to walk a mile (or many, many miles) in James Dutton's boots.
Let's first focus on the most exciting element here, at least for me: James Dutton is apparently going to be something of a gunslinger who isn't a slouch when it comes to quick-draw duels and the like. Which would seemingly imply that the Yellowstone prequel will indeed showcase more traditional elements from the Western genre that the modern-day mothership series can't revel in, such as revolver-heavy gunfights down dusty main drags. While we're at it, I'm also 100% down to see Tim McGraw and Faith Hill showing off their vocal skills opposite a saloon's player-piano, and I can't imagine Kevin Costner would reverse his prior well wishes if that were the case.
In a sense, Yellowstone's 1883 prequel sounds a little like a live-action version of The Oregon Trail, just with Montana as an end goal, and presumably without everybody catching dysentery on the reg. And now we can go forward with the assumption that John Dutton's great-grandfather knew his way around a pistol. Or, at least, that he'll know his way around a pistol by the time filming is happening, since Tim McGraw's pants don't exactly imply that he would have come away unscathed.
Then, beyond the tattered jeans, Tim McGraw also shared what appears to be a journal or datebook, possibly both. So that would likely imply that James Dutton is well-educated and organized. Depending on what's written in there, he might also have a creative streak, but considering how non-whimsical the Dutton offspring are in Yellowstone, James is probably more of a "facts" person than a short-story scribe.
While this obviously isn't a whole lot to go on, it's definitely more than fans had to think about last week or any of the weeks before, so I'm pumped. It's rather surprising that the show is still in the early phases of the production, yet Paramount+ already revealed the first season's premiere date will be in December, when the show will debut across both the streaming service and on Paramount Network to give the largest number of viewers a chance to tune in, with later episodes debuting exclusively on Paramount+. (The same approach is being used for Taylor Sheridan's other new drama, the Jeremy Renner-starring Mayor of Kingstown.)
1883 will expand the Yellowstone universe when it premieres on Sunday, December 19. Be sure to check out all the 2021 Fall TV shows popping up on the small screen before then, too.