If you’re not familiar with the series, it debuted on streaming service Paramount in 2018. It quickly became a hit, a mix of high drama and rugged, Mountain West toughness. Like many a prestige series, it features a cast of Hollywood A-listers.
WARNING: Expect some mild spoilers!
Yellowstone stars Kevin Costner as patriarch John Dutton III. His family owns Montana’s largest ranch. It borders Broken Rock Indian Reservation, as well as Yellowstone National Park. Drama comes in many flavors – development issues, politics, and good ol’ fashioned family conflict.
Dutton’s ranch – and his so-called “log mansion” – is the setting for much of the series, but in more recent episodes, John serves as the governor of Montana.
As of 2023, the series is enjoying its fifth season, with sky high ratings and plenty of pop culture cachet.
Cast names and names from spin-off series are included here, too. A few actors’ names seem potentially influential, too.
At present, the spin-offs include 1883, the backstory of James and Margaret Dutton, original founders of what would become the Dutton Yellowstone Ranch. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill star as the couple. And, of course, James Dutton’s name lives on in future generations.
There’s also The Bass Reeves Story; 1923; and 6666 – “Four Sixes,” about another ranch. Rumors abound that more series are under development.
No question that it’s influenced the names parents consider for their children, too.
YELLOWSTONE BABY NAMES: BOYS
A spin-off of a spin-off, The Bass Reeves Story explores the life of legendary US Marshall Bass Reeves, played by David Oyelowo. It’s based on a true story. Born a slave, Bass Reeves went on to become the first black US marshal west of the Mississippi. A skilled marksman and talented detective, his record included over 3,000 arrests.
Make no mistake, the Beck Brothers are villains. But their names – including their last name – have potential.
Another ranch hand at Yellowstone.
Yellowstone ranch hand Colby Mayfield has appeared in all five seasons as of 2023. Denim Richards plays the part.
Land developer Dan Jenkins is intent on building a new development adjacent to the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch – and destroying the Dutton family in the process.
The Dutton family is at the heart of the story. The sound? Sutton meets Daniel, a name that feels modern, current, but not unisex. It’s nicely rugged. The English surname likely meant “hill settlement” originally, though other origins and meanings are possible.
Another real estate developer.
An experienced rancher, Emmett Walsh appears across multiple seasons.
Grandfather to Monica Long Dutton, and therefore grandfather to Tate Dutton.
We eventually meet Garrett Randall, biological father to Jamie Dutton.
In the long line of Dutton men, one generation opts for a Jack instead of John.
An earlier generation of Dutton patriach, Jacob Dutton is played by legendary actor Harrison Ford.
Wes Bentley plays James Michael “Jamie” Dutton, adopted son of John and Evelyn. Like his father, Jamie Dutton runs for state office.
Another James nickname features on the show: Jimmy Hurdstrom, a bronc rider. Played by Jefferson White, his character leaves for spinoff series 6666.
While it’s not the name likely to get a boost from Yellowstone, it’s impossible to overlook this strong, timeless, and enduring choice. Kevin Costner as John Dutton III is the most familiar bearer of the name on the show, but in various prequels we also meet John Dutton Sr. (played by James Badge Dale), as well as James Dutton Jr. (played by Dabney Coleman), whose dying wish is that John III never give up their land.
Another of John and Evelyn’s sons, Kayce Dutton is married to Monica. Together, they’re raising son Tate. Kayce is heir apparent to the Dutton Ranch. He’s played by Luke Grimes.
The eldest son, Lee Dutton died in a conflict at Broken Rock Reservation.
Retired rodeo competitor Lloyd Pierce becomes a loyal ranch hand to the Duttons. He’s played by real life cowboy-turned-actor Forrie J. Smith.
One of the Beck Brothers, an early-series villain.
Moses Brings Plenty is the Oglala Lakota actor who plays Mo, right hand man to Chief Rainwater.
A rival rancher, Roarke Morris squares off with the Dutton family.
Ranch hand Rip Wheeler has a tragic backstory and a soft spot for Beth Dutton. He works his way up on Yellowstone Ranch, fiercely loyal to the family. Cole Hauser plays the part.
Yet another ranch hand – hey, it takes a lot of effort to make the Dutton Ranch run! – Ryan is played by Ian Bohen.
As in Sam Stands Alone, a Long family friend on the reservation.
Another prequel character, Spencer Dutton in the youngest son of James and Margaret. Brandon Sklenar plays the role.
Brecken Merrill plays Tate Dutton, the only surviving son of Monica and Kayce.
The second Beck brother, every bit as ruthless as Malcolm.
Chief Thomas Rainwater is chief of the Broken Rock Indian Reservation, in frequent conflict with the Duttons over claims of land theft. Gil Birmingham plays the part.
Series creator Taylor Sheridan cameos as horse trader Travis Wheatley.
Another rancher, neighboring the Dutton’s expanse.
Brent Walker is a singer and convict who earns a second chance as a ranch hand. He’s played by real life singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham.
If Rip Wheeler’s first name doesn’t appeal, maybe his surname would? It’s not so far removed from other Western-tinged favorites like Walker. Rip eventually falls in love with Beth Dutton.
YELLOWSTONE BABY NAMES: GIRLS
Angela Blue Thunder is an attorney to Chief Rainwater.
A sometimes ranch hand.
A traditional Elizabeth nickname, though in this case, it’s short for Bethany. Beth Dutton is the only sister in this generation. Played by Kelly Reilly, Beth is smart, hard-working, and loyal – but not without her flaws. She eventually marries Rip Wheeler.
Ireland-born Cara Dutton is wife to Jacob in 1923. She’s played by Helen Mirren.
Real estate mogul Caroline Warner goes toe-to-toe with the Dutton family in the later seasons. Her firm, Market Equities, is out to build a Montana ski resort.
A rodeo queen turned attorney.
Jamie Dutton’s girlfriend and mother of their child – also named Jamie.
Claire Dutton is a fierce character, her life defined by a series of tragic events.
Appearing in both 1883 and 1923, Elsa Dutton is the daughter of James and Margaret. Elsa is played by Isabel May.
No series set on a ranch is complete without a vet.
It’s not as if the baby name Emma could be more popular, but it does appear in the 1923 prequel. Emma Dutton is wife to John Sr. and mother of Jack. Marley Shelton portrays Emma.
John’s late wife, and mother to Kayce, Beth, Lee, and Jamie, seen in occasional flashbacks.
Real life country singer Lainey Wilson’s music has been featured on the show. Now she’s a recurring character named Abby. But the real life Lainey’s name is the one that seems to be another Yellowstone-inspired hit.
Hassie Harrison plays a barrel racer in later seasons. This place name has unisex potential.
Michelle Randolph appears in 1923. She’s the daughter of a fellow rancher, engaged to Jack Dutton.
Montana governor Lynelle Perry was a long-time love interest for John. By the fifth season, she’s serving as Senator.
Another barrel racer and friend to Laramie.
A classic, saintly name with history to spare. In the series, Monica Long Dutton is Kayce’s wife and mother to Tate. Born and raised on Broken Rock Indian Reservation, the tension between the Dutton family’s way of life and her indigenous roots drives plenty of conflict. Kelsey Asbille stars in the role.
An animal rights activist who befriends John Dutton, despite their differing points-of-view.
While Teeter doesn’t seem like a given name, the character is too good to overlook. Debuting in season three, she’s a female ranch hand who holds her own with the other Bunkhouse Boys.
It’s a gorgeous name, but Willa Hayes is a villain.