‘1883‘ is the story of the trials and tribulations-filled adventure of the Dutton family members who leave behind the impoverished streets of Texas for a better life elsewhere during the 19th century. As they journey across the Great Plains and head to Montana, we uncover the origins of the Yellowstone Ranch.
In the present, the ranch is owned and operated by Kevin Costner’s John Dutton, as seen in the events of ‘Yellowstone.’ With the two shows set in the same fictional universe, viewers must be curious to learn about the exact relationship between John and his ancestor James Dutton. In that case, here’s what we know about how the two are related to one another. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Who is James Dutton to John Dutton? How Are They Related?
Fans meet actor Tim McGraw’s first-generation Dutton rancher, James Dillard, in the fourth season premiere of Yellowstone’ through a flashback sequence set in 1893. A decade before that sequence, James Dutton sets out with his family and eventually settles down in Montana. Prior to the prequel series, not much was known about the ancestors of the Duttons. John Dutton’s father appears only once in ‘Yellowstone’ in a flashback of the season 2 finale. In that episode, actor Dabney Coleman plays John’s father and is credited as John Dutton Sr.
On the other hand, ‘1883’ features a character named John Dutton Sr., with actor Audie Rick playing the part. The character is the son of James and Margaret Dutton and appears to be roughly eight years old. The same character appears in flashbacks in episodes of ‘Yellowstone’ season 4 with Jack Michael Doke playing the teenage version. If this character is the same as John Dutton’s father, it would mean he is the father of Kevin Costner’s character.
In ‘Yellowstone,’ it is also stated that John’s father passed away several years after his wife, Evelyn Dutton, died in the late 90s. Therefore, assuming John’s father perished around the turn of the century, it would mean that John Dutton Sr lived for nearly 120 years. Although that is possible, the math certainly doesn’t add up when you consider that John is himself around sixty years old in the present. It would mean he was conceived when his father was possibly in his seventies. For those reasons, we believe that John Dutton Sr in ‘1883’ is John’s grandfather and not father. From this point onwards, we shall refer to Coleman’s character as John Dutton Jr and Costner’s character as John for the sake of clarity.
In the first season of ‘Yellowstone,’ John states that the Dutton family is in its sixth generation as ranchers. John has four children and one grandson, Tate Dutton, which means that we can identify John, his son, Kayce, and his grandson as fourth through sixth generations. James Dillard Dutton is the first-generation rancher in the family. Therefore, his son John Dutton Sr would fall into the second generation. Thus, Coleman’s John Dutton Jr would help fill the gap if he were John Dutton Sr’s son and John’s grandfather.
By that logic, James Dillard Dutton is the great-grandfather of John. Tim McGraw, who plays James, has stated that his character’s wife is the great-grandmother of Costner’s character. Thus, McGraw’s claims further corroborate our deduction that James Dutton is the great-grandfather of John.
Read More: Where Was 1883 Filmed?