Paramount Network’s ‘Yellowstone‘ created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson, follows the lives of the Duttons, a family of ranchers living in Montana. The family’s patriarch, John Dutton, is the owner of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, the largest ranch in the country, which was established by his great-great-grandfather James Dutton.
In the series’ fifth season, viewers see John appointed as the Governor of Montana after winning the election by a small margin. With John venturing into the broader politics of Montana, viewers must be looking for answers about his political views and alignment. If you are wondering whether John Dutton is a Republican in ‘Yellowstone,’ here is everything you need to know! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Is John Dutton a Republican?
The fourth season of ‘Yellowstone’ sees John Dutton entering the race for the Governor of Montana, as current Governor Lynelle Perry is running for the Senate. In the fifth season premiere, titled ‘One Hundred Years Is Nothing,’ John wins the election by defeating his opponent, Scott McMullen, by gaining 53% of the votes. As a result, John is appointed as the Governor of Montana. The first two episodes of season 5 set the tone for the upcoming episodes and make it evident that the narrative will be politically driven.
Meanwhile, the race for the Governor does not receive much focus, and the political alignments of the two contenders are never clarified. However, given that John Dutton supports the conservative lifestyle in the state and his campaign is powered by his promise to preserve the natural way of life in Montana, some viewers consider the character to be Republican. However, the state’s politics are far more complex to deduce an answer simply based on narrative clues.
In an interview, co-creator Taylor Sheridan shared his thoughts on claims that ‘Yellowstone’ itself is a red-state show. For the uninitiated, “Red-State” refers to a state in the United States that predominantly votes for Republican candidates. However, Sheridan denied this school of thought. “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?” Sheridan told The Atlantic in November 2022.
In reality, actor Kevin Costner who plays John Dutton in the hit Western drama, has expressed his real-life political views on several occasions. He has thrown his support behind both Republican and Democratic candidates in the past. However, the actor did not comment on his character’s political inclination. Nonetheless, the narrative suggests that John Dutton is a Republican to a certain extent. The suggestions that Montana is a conservative state, making John Dutton a republican, might stem from the state’s political history.
Looking at the past Governors of Montana, it is evident that a majority of them are Republican candidates. Since the formation of the state of Montana in 1889, fifteen of the 25 Governors have been Republicans. The most recent Governor of Montana, Greg Gianforte, who assumed office in January 2021, is also a Republican candidate. The series establishes John Dutton as the 26th Governor of Montana, and it would be easy to assume that his political views and election victory continue the state’s trend of choosing Republican leaders.
However, in the first two episodes of season 5, John clearly states that his political views and ambitions do not drive him. Instead, his actions are guided by his family values and way of life. The Duttons settled in Montana in 1883, roughly six years before it was recognized as a state. Hence, the family’s ideology far outdates the state’s political history. Ultimately, it would be a narrow judgment to classify John Dutton as an outright Republican. Instead, the character’s political venture and interests can be seen as a representation of Montana’s current socio-political climate and its impact on the show’s overall narrative.