Why Are Duttons Buried on Their Ranch? Who Were Ned and Chance Dutton?

Paramount Network’s ‘Yellowstone‘ follows the Duttons and the many threats they face while protecting their ancestral Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. In the series, the Dutton family holds their land dear to them and will never give it up at any cost. Therefore, it is safe to say that the Duttons will live and die on their land. That seems to be the case for several Duttons over the family’s history, as it is a ritual to bury dead family members on the ranch. Among them are Ned and Chance Dutton, whose lives and connections to John Dutton (Kevin Costner) remain unknown. If you are wondering why the Duttons are buried on their ranch in ‘Yellowstone,’ here is everything you need to know! SPOILERS AHEAD!

Why Are Duttons Buried on Their Ranch?

In the series premiere episode of ‘Yellowstone,’ viewers see the death of John Dutton’s eldest son, Lee Dutton. After Lee’s death, he is buried on the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch among other deceased members of the family. Later, viewers learn that John’s wife, Evelyn Dutton, and father, John Dutton Jr, are also buried on the ranch following their deaths. Thus, it is evident that the Duttons hold a sentimental value to their land. The answer about the sentimentality regarding the land and desire to be buried on the property is explained in the prequel series ‘1883.’

In the series, James Dutton and his family set out from Texas in search of a better life in Oregon. However, several challenges affect their journey, forcing them to travel toward Montana. Meanwhile, James’ daughter, Elsa Dutton, is gravely injured and near death. Therefore, James’ wife, Margaret, implores him to find a place where they can bury Elsa and visit her grave.

Eventually, James finds a piece of land with help from a Native American tribe leader. Elsa is buried on this land, and the Duttons settle on the property. Hence, Elsa’s grave marks the foundation of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. The Duttons protect their land generation after generation because it is the resting place of their ancestors. After they die fighting to defend their land, Duttons prefer to be buried on the property, joining those who came before them.

Who Were Ned and Chance Dutton?

The names of Ned and Chance Dutton are never spoken on the screen. However, they are present in spirit during the series’ premiere episode. During the funeral of Lee Dutton, two graves are seen in the background. One is dedicated to Ned Dutton, while the other has Chance’s name written on it. However, the relationship between Ned and Chance Dutton or their relationship with other members of the Dutton family remains unclear.

Interestingly, Ned Dutton’s grave is marked with the year 1863. Therefore, his death would predate Elsa’s death and the Dutton family’s arrival in Paradise Valley. It is likely that series co-creator Taylor Sheridan had not crafted the Dutton family’s backstory while the first episode was filmed, explaining the lack of explanation about the graves of the two forgotten Duttons. However, the date on Ned’s grave could easily be retconned to his birthday, making the character a nephew of James Dutton. Similarly, Chance Dutton could also be a nephew of James or related to other members of the Dutton family tree.

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