Due to Yellowstone’s rural setting and focus on the rancher way of life, the show was initially viewed as a story that would only appeal to viewers in red states. As far as Sheridan was concerned, the idea that only middle Americans would enjoy Yellowstone was patently ridiculous. Yes, the show is set on a sprawling ranch in Montana, but it’s a family drama at its core — much like Emmy darling Succession. The series centers around an aging patriarch who is trying to groom his children to keep his legacy alive. The major difference is, Succession is about a rich man in a suit fighting for his corporation, while Yellowstone is about a rich man in cowboy boots fighting to preserve his land.
Both series are full of rich family dynamics, backstabbing, and machinations worthy of a Shakespeare play, but only one of them was lauded by critics right from the start. For Sheridan, critics’ attempts to politicize Yellowstone vastly underestimates just how similar Americans are, no matter where they hail from. “To be perfectly honest, it’s bulls**t noise,” he told Deadline of Yellowstone being labeled a red state show. “I’m in Katy, Texas right now, moving horses, and I just left this shopping center after getting an organic gluten-free shake from a shake shop. It’s the same. People are not that much different … To think that everyone from inside a barrier of the Eastern Seaport or on the West Coast thinks identically is ludicrous.”