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Is ‘Yellowstone’ Star Kevin Costner The Modern Day John Wayne?

Kevin Costner, the star of the hit show 'Yellowstone', is perhaps the best modern Western actor. But does he compare to The Duke, John Wayne?

Yellowstone, the popular Paramount Network series, is back for a fourth season. The epic Neo-Western follows the trials and tribulations of the Dutton family, owners of a massive ranch outside of Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone stars Kevin Costner and is an underground hit despite being on a network few people have heard of. But how does Kevin Costner compare to the king of the Western genre, John Wayne? Let’s take a look.

Costner, who has starred and directed several westerns, returned (OR DOES HE!?) for the 4th season and posted the following picture.


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A post shared by Kevin Costner & Modern West (@kevincostnermodernwest)

What a stud! Seriously, hard to think of a man who is more connected to the modern western than him. 

Related: Fans Really Want Kevin Costner To Star In A Christmas Movie

Is Yellowstone Lead Kevin Costner Today’s John Wayne? 

Now before all of you go “NO one could ever replace John Wayne.” Let’s just take a step back here.

He isn’t replacing The Duke. No one can.

But in an era when masculinity is discouraged and even attacked, it is refreshing to see a strong male character on the screen. 

They don’t make many westerns anymore and when they do it can often be overly styled violence or just a Sergio Leone rip-off. With Costner, he brings an honesty that is rarely seen on the screen today.

Related: John Wayne Had The Perfect Response For Critics Who Said His Characters Were All The Same

Costner doesn’t look like he’s playing a western powerbroker, he embodies the western powerbroker. Too often even the most striking movie stars can look like goofballs in boots and a cowboy hat.

But Costner looks like he’s stepped right off a horse after a long day in the saddle.

What I’m about to say is controversial. But we are still entitled to our opinions, right? I honestly find Kevin Costner to be a better actor than John Wayne.

That’s no shot towards Wayne, he was a great actor in his day. But the modern actor requires a nuanced subtly that Costner has always brought to his characters. There’s a believability there that is so rare.

Case in point: Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves.

Why Yellowstone Is So Popular

Yellowstone is written and produced by Tyler Sheridan, a writer, and director widely seen as responsible for the reinvigoration of the modern Western genre. 

But why is Yellowstone so popular? Because it is a perfect blend of classic and modern tastes.

In an age when everything is safe and PC, Yellowstone takes modern issues head-on and doesn’t water them down with preachy non-sense. The show lays bare violence, familial turmoil, and clashing cultures in a way a lot of entertainment is afraid to do.

The show, in particular, is notable for its portrayal of Native Americans. The tribe and its leaders in Yellowstone are presented as fully-formed characters instead of the stereotype of only being “savages” or downtrodden and impoverished. They scheme, love, kill, and care.

The writing and characters are strong. Yes there is a lot of melodrama and no one in the world exists like Rip Wheeler, but it is still something markedly different from the drama-soaked but consequence-free television we are used to.

Are you a Kevin Costner fan? Do you watch Yellowstone? Share this story and add your comments!

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