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  • Yellowstone is expanding its universe with the prequel series 1883.
  • The Paramount+ series stars Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Sam Elliott.
  • How are Tim McGraw and Kevin Costner’s characters related?
Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Isabel May in the Yellowstone prequel series 1883
The stars of the ‘Yellowstone’ prequel series ‘1883’ | Paramount

The Yellowstone universe is expanding with the prequel 1883, which features country music superstars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. The new series is slated to premiere on Paramount+ the week before Christmas, and it’s just the first of many projects that Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan has in different stages of development.

As fans know, the flagship Yellowstone series tells the story of rancher John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and the land that his family has owned for decades. But what about 1883? What will the prequel be about, and how are McGraw and Costner’s characters related?

The ‘Yellowstone’ prequel is a ‘retelling of Western expansion’

Details about 1883 have been hard to come by. But we do know that the series will star McGraw and Hill, as well as Oscar nominee Sam Elliott. He plays a character named Shea Brennan, a “tough-as-nails, handsome cowboy with immense sadness in his past.”

The series’ title hints at the late 19th century time period, when John Dutton’s ancestors moved to Montana.

According to a press release, “1883 follows the Dutton family as they embark on a journey west through the Great Plains toward the last bastion of untamed America. It is a stark retelling of Western expansion, and an intense study of one family fleeing poverty to seek a better future in America’s promised land — Montana.”

Tim McGraw’s character is Kevin Costner’s grandfather

McGraw and Hill play John Dutton’s ancestor’s James and Margaret Dutton, who were the first members of the family to settle the Montana land that becomes the Yellowstone Ranch. James and Margaret are the patriarch and matriarch of Yellowstone’s Dutton family, and they are also John Dutton’s grandparents.

Brecken Merrill — who plays John’s grandson Tate on Yellowstone — confirmed the relation between McGraw and Costner’s characters in an Instagram post after the Paramount Network announced the major players in the 1883 cast.

Merrill posted a Deadline article that featured photos of McGraw and Hill. In the caption he wrote, “Tate’s great great grandpa and grandma!”

‘Yellowstone’ star Kevin Costner approves of Tim McGraw

When Paramount announced they had cast McGraw, Hill, and Elliott in 1883, McGraw took to social media to tell fans he could finally reveal why he was growing out his beard. He also confessed that he and his wife were “pretty excited” about the new project.

“Faith and I get to star alongside Sam Elliott — I mean goodness gracious — for the new Yellowstone prequel called 1883,” McGraw said on Instagram. “It’s going to be a fantastic family saga about the original Duttons and their journey to Montana and how they founded the ranch up there.”

In the comments, Costner voiced his approval of the casting choice by writing “Dutton looks good on you.”

‘Yellowstone’ fans got a glimpse of ‘1883’ in the season 4 premiere

A month before the scheduled 1883 premiere, fans got their first glimpse of McGraw and the prequel via a flashback during the first episode of Yellowstone season 4.

In the scene, McGraw as James Dutton was with his sons when they spotted Indians on the Dutton land. James found out that they were there to bury one of their ancestors. After some debate, he allowed them to do it. He also left them a cow to harvest and eat.

Back in the present day, a skeleton — assuming it is the ancestor they buried in the 1883 clip — is found while a construction crew is digging.

The ‘1883’ prequel and main ‘Yellowstone’ series will air on different networks

The Yellowstone prequel 1883 will debut on the Paramount Network. But that’s not where the series will remain. After airing the first two episodes on the cable outlet — which is the home of Yellowstone — the prequel will move exclusively to Paramount+.

The streamer will also be the home of the other Yellowstone spinoff that’s currently in the works – 6666. As well as Sheridan’s new drama Mayor of Kingstown, starring Jeremy Renner.


‘Yellowstone’ Prequel ‘1883’: Where Have Fans Seen Sam Elliott Before?

Yellowstone airs Sunday nights on the Paramount Network. The new prequel 1883 premieres Sunday, December 19 on the Paramount Network and Paramount+.