March 11, 2019  (Web Review)

Yellowstone: Season 1

Paramount, 465 min., not rated, DVD: 4 discs, $29.99; Blu-ray: 3 discs, $42.99

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

Kevin Costner stars as John Dutton, patriarch of a Montana ranching dynasty, who is determined to protect his legacy—the largest contiguous ranch in the country—from all threats in this drama created for the Paramount Network. The ranch is situated between America’s titular national park and a Native American reservation, and Dutton winds up battling an aggressive land developer (Danny Huston), the U.S. government, and the chief of the reservation (Gil Birmingham)—with the latter making the fight personal because Dutton’s ancestors stole the land from his ancestors. And Dutton has children: one son (Luke Grimes) rejects his father to live on the reservation with his Native American wife, another (Wes Bentley) desperately seeks his father’s approval while serving as the family lawyer, and a hard-drinking daughter (Kelly Reilly) with a killer instinct becomes his secret weapon. Created by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, this is a modern-day Western by way of a nighttime soap opera set among the rich and powerful of the Midwest. There aren’t any clear-cut heroes and the show is packed with more plotlines and conflicts than a full season of Dallas, which ends up swamping many of the subplots and drowning out most of the female characters (who are already vastly outnumbered). Still, this is handsomely produced, full of action, and highly entertaining at its best. Compiling all nine episodes from the 2018 debut season, extras include interviews with creator Sheridan and Costner, and behind-the-scenes featurettes. Recommended. (S. Axmaker)