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

Kevin Costner Yellowstone John Wayne modern Western

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!