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Get to know the characters from 1883, 1923 and Yellowstone
Warning: spoilers ahead!
The Dutton family may be one of the most famous fictional families in America.
The original show, Yellowstone, premiered in June 2018 and follows the family of John Dutton III in modern-day Montana. Season 5 aired in November 2022, with an impressive 12.1 million viewers tuning in for the first episode.
After its explosive success, Paramount Network created two prequel series. The first prequel, 1883, debuted in December 2021 and focused on the Dutton family laying roots down in the western state. Creator Taylor Sheridan followed it up with 1923 in December 2022, which saw the Duttons struggling through the start of the Great Depression, droughts and Prohibition.
So who are all the characters from 1883, 1923 and Yellowstone? Here’s everything to know about the Dutton family.
Patriarch James Dutton appears in 1883 and is portrayed by Tim McGraw. James and his wife Margaret have three children: Elsa, John and Spencer. The patriarch is originally a farmer from Tennessee and a Confederate veteran of the Civil War. He decides to go West in a wagon train with his family, including his sister Claire and her daughter Mary Abel, to start a new life. At the end of the limited series, he survives the harsh winter and settles on the future Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.
Faith Hill joined her real-life husband, McGraw, in 1883 as his onscreen wife Margaret. She has three children, Elsa, John and Spencer — the latter whom she gave birth to sometime after the family arrived in Montana. Margaret was a nurse in the Civil War and is the strong-willed matriarch whose determination helps establish the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.
Elsa, played by Isabel May, is the eldest daughter of James and Margaret Dutton in 1883. She takes the journey westward with her family and along the way, she meets a cowboy named Ennis, whom she plans to marry, but he is killed by bandits. In Colorado, Elsa begins a complicated relationship with Sam, a Comanche warrior who saves her life. The two have an unofficial wedding ceremony and she vows to return to him after her family settles. However, Elsa dies from an arrow shot during an attack on the family’s wagon train, and the couple never reunite. She chooses her burial spot to be in Paradise Valley, which eventually becomes the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.
Sam appears in 1883 and is portrayed by Martin Sensmeier. He is a Comanche warrior who falls in love with Elsa after saving her life. He is loyal to his community and land, and he marries Elsa, but the two do not unite again.
John Dutton Sr.
The Dutton family's legacy continues in 1923 with John Dutton Sr., portrayed by James Badge Dale. The older son of James and Margaret Dutton, John Sr. remains close to his uncle Jacob and aunt Cara after his parents’ deaths. He marries his wife Emma, and they have a son, Jack. John helps work the land of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch with his uncle until he is killed by the family's enemy, Banner Creighton.
Emma appears in 1923 and is portrayed by Marley Shelton. She is the wife of John Dutton Sr. and the mother of Jack Dutton. After her husband’s death, a heartbroken Emma dies by suicide.
Jack is a character in 1923 played by Darren Mann. The son of John Dutton Sr. and Emma Dutton, he works the land of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch with his father and great-uncle, Jacob Dutton. He marries his wife, Elizabeth Strafford, during season 1.
Elizabeth Dutton, née Strafford, appears in 1923 and is portrayed by Michelle Randolph. She is the wife of Jack Dutton, who grapples with the reality of being with a rancher, including the time away from each other. During this transition, Elizabeth leans on Cara for support and the two grow close.
Despite their struggles, Elizabeth and Jack's relationship strengthens following her miscarriage. While some fans have speculated that the couple are the parents of John Dutton II, Randolph told The Hollywood Reporter that even she's in the dark for now.
Spencer, played by Brandon Sklenar, is the second son of parents James and Margaret Dutton. He was born in Montana sometime after the family settled. Spencer serves in World War I and deals with post-traumatic stress disorder when he returns home. Instead of working on the ranch, though, the veteran chooses to become a big game hunter in Africa, earning a reputation. However, Spencer later decides to return to Montana with his wife Alexandra after his brother John Sr. is killed and his uncle Jacob is wounded. He may be the father of John Dutton II and grandfather of Yellowstone's John Dutton III.
Julia Schlaepfer's Alexandra is visiting Kenya with her then-fiancé Arthur when she meets Spencer Dutton. After she decides to call off her wedding, she runs away with Spencer and the two quickly fall in love. The new couple experience a life-or-death situation while lost at sea and their survival inspires them to get married on a boat by a captain. The season 1 finale teases her arrival at the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch after she and Spencer are separated.
Claire appears in 1883 and is portrayed by Dawn Olivieri. She is Jacob and James’ sister and Henry’s widow. She had seven children, but only one, Mary Abel, survived past childhood. They travel westward together with the Dutton family until Mary Abel is killed, after which Claire dies by suicide.
Henry is the late husband of Claire Dutton and father to Mary Abel. Henry died prior to 1883, having outlived six of his children, and has not appeared in the series.
Mary Abel is a character in 1883, portrayed by Emma Malouff. She was the only surviving child of her parents, Henry and Claire Dutton. She makes the journey with her mother and her extended Dutton family westward until she is killed by a gang near Fort Worth, Texas.
Harrison Ford takes on the patriarch role of Jacob in 1923, who outlives his brother James Dutton and sister Claire Dutton. Jacob is married to Cara and he takes responsibility for the family ranch, working day in and day out with his nephew, John Sr., and his great-nephew, Jack. Apart from the land, Jacob is also the commissioner of the livestock association.
Cara, played by Helen Mirren, is a main lead in 1923, as she is married to Jacob Dutton. She immigrated from Ireland and traces of her past can be heard in her slight accent. She and Jacob take over the ranch after James’ and Margaret’s deaths. While Jacob, John Sr. and Jack oversee the land's maintenance, Cara helps keep the home in order alongside Emma and Elizabeth.
John Dutton II
John Dutton II is mentioned in 1923 and appears in a flashback episode of Yellowstone. Portrayed by Dabney Coleman, John II is the father of John III and grandfather to Lee, Jamie, Beth and Kayce. Although his parents’ identities have not yet been confirmed, he is either the son of Spencer and Alexandra or Jack and Elizabeth.
John Dutton III
John Dutton III appears in Yellowstone and is portrayed by Kevin Costner. John III inherits the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, the largest ranch in Montana. He has complicated — but loving and loyal — relationships with his four children: Lee, Jamie, Beth and Kayce. He also has a close relationship with his grandson, Tate. Professionally, John III is a powerful man of influence and keeps preserving his ranch and land top of mind. At the beginning of season 5, he is elected governor of Montana after being the commissioner of the livestock association.
Evelyn appears in Yellowstone and is portrayed by Gretchen Mol. She is married to John Dutton III, and they have four children: Lee, Beth, Jamie and Kayce. In 1997, Evelyn was killed in a horseback riding accident while on a ride with Beth and Kayce. Years later, her husband and kids struggle to continue on without her, as she was considered “the spine of the family.”
Though Yellowstone viewers only see Dave Annable as Lee in the pilot episode, he's spoken about throughout the series. He's the oldest sibling and set to inherit the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch — however, he is killed in an accident while attempting to recover stolen cattle.
Jamie, played by Wes Bentley, is the second oldest sibling in Yellowstone. Jamie was adopted by John III and Evelyn after his biological father, Garrett Randall, killed his mother, Phyllis. He later reconnects with his biological father, causing a tense relationship with John III. Jamie holds the seat of Montana attorney general and works with his adoptive father, who becomes governor. The lawyer also has friction with his sister Beth, who blames him for her inability to have children.
Christina appears in Yellowstone and is portrayed by Katherine Cunningham. She was Jamie Dutton’s campaign manager during his run for Montana attorney general in season 2. She and Jamie were previously in a relationship, and they had a son, also named Jamie.
Jamie Dutton Jr.
In season 4, Christina surprises Jamie with her pregnancy after ending their relationship. He is said to be named after his father, though it’s unclear if he will be called James or Jamie.
Kelly Reilly portrays Beth, who has a successful career in banking in Salt Lake City and moves back to the Dutton Ranch to help solidify her family’s legacy. Upon Beth's return, she reconnects with her longtime love Rip Wheeler and although their relationship ensues an on-again, off-again pattern, they spontaneously get married at the end of season 4. Despite Jamie wanting to become the next Montana governor, Beth supports their father instead and this fuels their sibling rivalry.
Rip Wheeler, played by Cole Hauser, was orphaned as a teen and was taken in by John Dutton III. After starting out as a ranch hand, Rip worked his way up to be the Dutton Ranch’s foreman and John's confidant. His relationship with Beth goes back to their teenage years when he first arrived at the establishment, but they reconnected in adulthood and made their romance official.
Kayce appears in Yellowstone and is portrayed by Luke Grimes. He is married to Monica Dutton, with whom he shares a son, Tate. Kayce is the youngest of his siblings and a former Navy SEAL. He starts a career as a livestock agent for the Montana Livestock Association; however, he decides to leave his position to support his father’s ranch. Kayce also helps bridge a gap between the Native American community at the Broken Rock Indian Reservation, which Monica belongs to.
Kelsey Asbille's portrayal of Monica begins in season 1 of Yellowstone, when she is already married to Kayce. Although there is little information known about how their relationship started, the couple have a son named Tate. The trio navigate being part of the Broken Rock Indian Reservation community while being members of the Dutton family. In season 5, Monica and Kayce lose their second child, a son named John, following a car accident. Despite the loss, she forms a stronger bond with her father-in-law and sister-in-law.
Tate, played by Brecken Merrill, is the son of Kayce and Monica Dutton. While his character starts off with a minor storyline, Tate's presence has evolved as he comes to terms with being the next generation to take over the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch one day. After Kayce and Monica move to the property, Tate becomes closer to his grandfather, John Dutton III.
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