Maybe it's the heavily armed ranch hands and the yearning for traditional values that have made many consider Paramount TV's hit series "Yellowstone" as "The Red State Game of Thrones."
The New York Times once referred to "Yellowstone" as a "conservative fantasy" that liberals should watch, and The Guardian dubbed it "Game of Thrones set on a ranch."
But tell that to series creator Taylor Sheridan, who once called for the impeachment of Donald Trump in 2017, and he chuckles because many of his works, including "Yellowstone," are pocked with progressive themes.
"They refer to it as 'the conservative show' or 'the Republican show' or 'the red-state Game of Thrones,'" Sheridan said in an interview this week with The Atlantic ahead of the show's fifth-season premiere on Sunday. "And I just sit back laughing. I'm like, 'Really?' The show's talking about the displacement of Native Americans and the way Native American women were treated and about corporate greed and the gentrification of the West, and land-grabbing. That's a red-state show?"
"Yellowstone" follows the life of the Dutton family, led by patriarch John Dutton, a sixth-generation rancher from Montana. Dutton is played by Kevin Costner, who endorsed Liz Cheney in her losing bid to win the Republican nomination for Wyoming's lone House seat. Dutton owns the largest contiguous ranch in the United States, and the show navigates the struggles Dutton goes through to keep his land.
Sheridan, whose screenplay for "Hell or High Water" was nominated for an Oscar in 2017, is juggling several other series, including "Yellowstone" prequels "1883" and "1923," and "Tulsa King," a mob drama that stars Sylvester Stallone.
"People perceive all my stuff as 'red state,' and it's the most ridiculous thing. If you truly look at this show or [the movies] 'Wind River' or 'Sicario' [which he wrote], these are pretty wildly progressive notions," Sheridan told The New York Times in an August 2019 interview, adding those referring to "Yellowstone" as "red state" have "probably never watched it."
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