Nobody knows Westerns quite like Kevin Costner does. He was showered with Oscars for Dances With Wolves and he has now become a darling of the small screen as John Dutton in Yellowstone. So it’s no surprise that he thinks about the genre more meaningfully than the average viewer.
So when Kevin Costner talks about the best Westerns in history, we listen to him. He’s very thoughtful about the genre as a whole, describing tales of cowboys and cattle as akin to “our Shakespeare”. Certainly, the story of John Dutton and our favorite Yellowstone characters is as theatrical as it’s possible to get.
“Westerns aren’t based just on the gunfight, they’re based on literature of how people lived their life, how they spoke with each other, the danger that was involved with living in an unknown area without the level of protection that we know today in this particular century,” Costner told Parade in 2022.
He added that Westerns often refuse to acknowledge those ideas, which is why they “miss the mark more often than they make it”. We can’t help but agree with at least some of what Costner is saying. Westerns used to dominate cinema, but we could probably name the best movies of the genre from the last decade while counting on the fingers of one hand.
Costner continued by explaining that the most memorable Westerns can say so much with just one word. “You know, ‘yep’ doesn’t just mean ‘yep’. It might mean ‘that’s the last word I’m having with you, fella’,” he said. “I think Westerns, when they’re at their best, invest in the language as much as they do in the gunfight.”
Certainly, some of the best characters in the genre are known for being stoic and taciturn. Heck, some of the best Clint Eastwood movies ever featured a character called The Man With No Name.
Costner has an in-depth understanding of the genre and so we can’t wait to see what he brings to us when the Horizon release date comes around. Until then, we’re hoping to see John Dutton got a proper farewell in Yellowstone season 5 part 2.
Speaking of which, we’ve dug deep into what could happen if Kevin Costner never comes back to Yellowstone. But we’ve also noticed that Kevin Costner has already started disappearing from one of the best TV series on our screens right now.