The Western genre died at some point in the 1970s, and one movie star more than any other has spent decades trying to bring it back. That star is Kevin Costner. He’s made several Westerns over his career — Silverado, Dances with Wolves, Open Range — and while some have been big hits, they’ve never quite brought the genre back full-force. Now it appears he’s finally succeeded: Yellowstone has inspired everyone else to make their own oaters. And one agent explains why dusting off the Western is a no-brainer.
A new report by The Hollywood Reporter rounds up some of the other Westerns currently in production at other streamers, who are hoping to strike Yellowstone gold. Amazon’s working on one from True Detective’s Nick Pizzolatto. Netflix has two, including one from Sons of Anarchy’s Kurt Sutter. Then there are all those other Yellowstone spin-offs. Why did the Western even die? That’s what one unnamed literary agent is wondering.
“Yellowstone has super-dramatic characters, love triangles, shoot-outs, murders, surprise adopted kids … it’s a soap opera in the modern Wild West,” they told THR. “It’s where a majority of the world and this country live; it’s what we should have been making this entire damn time.”
It’s not that content creators haven’t spent years trying to rescue the genre. “Writers have always pitched Westerns, but execs never wanted them,” the agent said. “Yellowstone has reignited interest in Americana and actual real-world living.”
In the past, Westerns have occasionally broken through, on both the big and small screens. Something like the Coen brother’s take on True Grit will scare up Marvel cash… only to inspire no copycats. Then again, sometimes you just get Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West.
In the meantime, the jury’s still out on whether the OG Yellowstone is ending or not, reportedly due to reported conflicts with Costner. That said, a song he recently wrote sure sounded like he was preparing for the end.