'1883': Why Taylor Sheridan Picked This Prequel as the First 'Yellowstone' Spinoff

After debuting on Paramount Network back in 2018, the drama series Yellowstone has launched a growing universe for creator Taylor Sheridan, complete with several Yellowstone spinoff series. Fans of the Dutton family, and the ups and downs of life on the Dutton Ranch, were treated to the first of those spinoffs on Sunday, when the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill-led prequel series 1883 debuted on Paramount+, and it turns out that Sheridan had a very specific reason.

Set in the same universe as the flagship show, but more than a century in the past, 1883 acts as a prequel to Yellowstone. The series tracks the Dutton family's journey across the Great Plains to Montana, where they establish the massive ranch at the heart of the drama in Yellowstone. It is "a stark retelling of Western expansion, and an intense study of one family fleeing poverty to seek a better future in America's promised land – Montana." In a new interview with The New York Times, Sheridan revealed that it is that "stark retelling of Western expansion" that prompted him to choose a prequel as the first spinoff series.

"The pioneers have never been portrayed accurately. Many of the pioneers came from Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Asia, and they hired guides to take them West. They didn't speak the language. They'd never seen a horse. They'd never held a gun. And they had no idea that this land actually belonged to another group of people," Sheridan said. "But Native Americans were not the greatest threat to the wagon trains. If you look at the leading cause of death along the trail, No. 1 one was falling off the wagon. No. 2 was disease. No. 3 was bandits. Native Americans were, like, sixth."

1883 is just one title in what has become a much larger Sheridan universe, with a second Yellowstone spinoff, 6666, also ordered. Also set to make Paramount+ its home, 6666 will focus on the 6666 ranch, "where the rule of law and the laws of nature merge in a place where the most dangerous thing one does is the next thing." It was reported in November that there may be plans to further expand Sheridan's universe, which also includes the shows Mayor of Kingstown and the upcoming Kansas City.

New episodes of 1883 air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Paramount+, which you can sign up for by clicking here. The streaming platform is also home to fellow Sheridan-created series Mayor of Kingstown, which premiered back in November. You can also sample the first few episodes of 1883 following new episodes of the flagship series on Paramount Network at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday. Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for the latest updates!