What with all the backstabbing, secrets and assassination attempts, it might just be the understatement of the millennium to say that the Duttons are — cough — complicated. And now that the family’s tree has put down roots on not only Yellowstone but two spinoffs (with more on the way), the clan’s lineage is getting to be more complex than its members’ motivations.
Heck, sometimes even when we’ve thought we’ve known how someone fits in, we’ve been proven wrong. Did anybody predict the Paramount Network hit’s Season 3 reveal that Jamie Dutton was adopted? Us, either.
Don’t get your chaps in a knot, though, because your friends at TVLine are about to simplify matters by taking you character by character through a Who’s Who of the Duttons. We’ll tell you where the family members that we’ve met on Yellowstone and its prequels, 1883 and 1923 came from, how they’re related and, while we’re at it, offer up a hint as to what makes them tick — and, in some cases, ticked.
And yes, along the way, we’ll also distinguish between the shows’ many Johns. (There are so many!)
So saddle up and get comfortable. You’ve got a long ride ahead, one that’s going to take us back 140 years, stopping off to pay our respects to poor, ill-fated Elsa Dutton, to tip our cowboy hats to Jacob Dutton and risk being turned into the ruins of a trailer park by walking tornado Beth Dutton. All you have to do to embark on the journey is keep scrolling.
John Dutton II, Yellowstone
Parents: Unknown. Spouse: Deceased (and never named). Children: Two sons, John III and Peter, who died only hours after being born. Siblings: Unknown. Defining characteristic: The late rancher demonstrated a love of the land that arguably surpassed any feeling that he ever had for his family — and, for better or worse, passed it on to John III.
John Dutton III, Yellowstone
Parents: John Dutton II and an unnamed wife. Spouse: You’ve gotta wonder whether the late, lamented Evelyn would approve of her widower’s relationship with Summer Higgins, the activist serving out her house arrest in John’s bed. Children: Montana’s governor has a daughter Beth and three sons, Kayce, Jamie (adopted) and Lee (deceased). Siblings: One brother, Peter, who died shortly after birth. Defining characteristic: A head hung low, as heavy as it is from wearing the cowboy hat signifying that he is responsible for keeping the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch intact.
Evelyn Dutton, Yellowstone
Parents: Unknown. Spouse: John Dutton III. Children: Four with husband John III, three biological offspring (Lee, Beth and Kayce) and adopted black sheep of the family Jamie. Siblings: None that we know of. Defining characteristic: Evelyn drilled into her daughter the fearlessness that transformed her into the brave-to-the-point-of-foolish steamroller that she is today.
Lee Dutton, Yellowstone
Parents: John and Evelyn Dutton (R.I.P.). Spouse: None that we know of. Children: Alas, no. Siblings: Sister Beth, brother Kayce and adopted brother Jamie. Defining characteristic: Of all of John’s children, Lee was said to have been the one that was most like him — and, of course, he had to be the one to go and get himself killed.
Jamie Dutton, Yellowstone
Parents: John and much-missed missus Evelyn Dutton, who adopted the future attorney general of Montana after biodad Garrett Randall murdered biomom Phyllis. Spouse: Never married but in a relationship with Market Equities schemer Sarah Atwood. Children: One son, also named Jamie, with Christina, his onetime campaign manager. Siblings: Jamie was raised with John and Evelyn’s biological children, Lee, Beth and Kayce. Defining characteristic: Jamie has spent the better part of his life wanting the one thing that he can never have: John’s approval.
Beth Dutton, Yellowstone
Parents: John and the late Evelyn Dutton. Spouse: Beth married longtime love Rip Wheeler in 2022. Children: None… unless you count Carter (which we do; more on him in a bit). Siblings: One brother who’s alive (Kayce), one who’s dead (Lee) and one that she only wishes were dead (adopted sibling Jamie). Defining characteristic: The business whiz described herself better than we ever could when she said, “Wherever something good is trying to happen, something bad is trying to stop it. I’m something bad.”
Kayce Dutton, Yellowstone
Parents: John and the late Evelyn Dutton. Spouse: Monica Long. Children: One son, Tate. But more to come, they hope. Siblings: Brothers Lee (deceased) and Jamie (adopted) and sister Beth. Defining characteristic: Few and far between are the folks who are more torn up than the Livestock Commissioner over doing really terrible things for really excellent reasons.
Monica Dutton, Yellowstone
Parents: Unknown. But she’s very close to her grandfather, Felix Long. Spouse: Kayce Dutton. Children: One son, Tate, and (fingers crossed) someday more. Siblings: Brother Robert Long was killed by Kayce, who was hoping to save his brother Lee during a dispute between Broken Rock Indian Reservation and the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. Defining characteristic: Frustration. The longtime resident of the reservation married into too complicated a family to ever have the simple life for which she yearns.
Tate Dutton, Yellowstone
Parents: Kayce and Monica Dutton. Spouse: The kid hasn’t even been on a date so far as we know. Children: Yeah, let’s get that whole date thing outta the way first, shall we? Siblings: None. But he’s hella eager to be a big brother. Defining characteristic: Tate’s a trauma magnet, plain and simple. He’s not even old enough to drive, yet he’s already been kidnapped, killed a man and survived the rare car/pickup truck/buffalo three-way collision.
Rip Wheeler, Yellowstone
Parents: Never met ’em, but father-in-law John Dutton is all the father the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch’s foreman needs — or ever wanted. Spouse: Whether it makes him brave, crazy or both, Rip is hitched to the boss’ daughter, Beth. Children: No biological ones, but Rip and Beth have taken in Carter, an orphan who’s as goodhearted as he is foulmouthed. Siblings: None that we know of. Defining characteristic: Rip is a contradiction, as tender with Beth and respectful toward John as he is tough with everyone else.
Parents: After his deadbeat dad dropped the “beat” from his descriptor, Carter was taken in by Beth Dutton and husband Rip Wheeler. (They insist the boy’s not “theirs,” but c’mon.) Spouse: Too soon for that. But girls have started to notice how hard puberty hit Carter. Children: Not so far. Siblings: Not that we know of. Defining characteristic: Life has knocked the would-be ranch hand down so many times, you know he’s gotta be as resilient as all get-out if he’s still getting back up.
Jamie Jr., Yellowstone
Parents: Jamie Dutton and onetime campaign manager Christina. Spouse: Er, no. He’s a baby. Children: Again, he is a child. Siblings: Not so far. Defining characteristic: Cuteness? Kid’s still figuring out that his hands aren’t edible, so we haven’t gotten to know him too well.
James Dutton, 1883
Parents: Unknown Spouse: Margaret Dutton Children: Elsa Dutton, John Dutton I and Spencer Dutton Siblings: Claire Dutton, Jacob Dutton Defining Characteristic: A sense of adventure and a desire to build a lasting family legacy — without James, who knows if the Duttons would ever have established the Yellowstone at all?
Margaret Dutton, 1883
Parents: Unknown Spouse: James Dutton Children: Elsa Dutton, John Dutton I and Spencer Dutton Siblings: Unknown Defining characteristic: An internal fortitude that proved crucial while following husband James’ dreams of establishing the family out West.
Elsa Dutton, 1883
Parents: James and Margaret Dutton Spouse: Sam, a Comanche warrior Children: None Siblings: John Dutton I, Spencer Dutton Defining characteristic: The plucky teen found her place — and society-defying freedom — on the Oregon Trail. (Unfortunately, a poisoned arrow found her, leading to her eventual demise in Montana.)
John Dutton I, 1883, 1923 and Yellowstone
Parents: James and Margaret Dutton Spouse: Emma Dutton Children: Jack Dutton Siblings: Elsa Dutton, Spencer Dutton Defining Characteristic: Despite his presence in all three Yellowstone series — he was a young boy in 1883, a slightly older kid in Yellowstone flashbacks and an adult in 1923 — we never really got to know James and Margaret’s son well. We can say that he was a loyal defender of his uncle, Jacob— and that loyalty ultimately was the cause of his demise during a ranch-war shootout.
Spencer Dutton, Yellowstone and 1923
Parents: James and Margaret Dutton Spouse: Alexandra Dutton Children: None yet Siblings: Elsa Dutton, John Dutton I Defining characteristic: An insouciance for danger — the guy’s a big-game hunter, for goodness’ sake — that masks deep trauma from his time as a soldier in World War I (and, we’re guessing, that period around the same time as a Yellowstone flashback in which he and John Dutton I had to fend for themselves after James and Margaret’s deaths).
Claire Dutton, 1883
Parents: Unknown Spouse: Henry (deceased) Children: Mary Abel and six that died before the events of 1883 Siblings: James Dutton, Jacob Dutton Defining Characteristic: Unsparingly judgmental.
Mary Abel, 1883
Parents: Claire Dutton, Henry (deceased) Spouse: None Children: None Siblings: Six that died before the events of 1883 Defining Characteristic: Losing her life during a wagon train attack just as the Duttons got started on the Oregon Trail.
Jacob Dutton, 1923
Parents: Unknown Spouse: Cara Dutton Children: None, though he raised nephews John Dutton I and Spencer Dutton as his own after their parents died Siblings: James Dutton, Claire Dutton Defining Characteristic: An unwillingness to bend to the idea of progress for progress’ sake, an unflinching love for his family and the land on which they make their home.
Cara Dutton, 1923
Parents: Unknown Spouse: Jacob Dutton Children: None, though she raised nephews John Dutton I and Spencer Dutton as her own after their parents died Siblings: Unknown Defining Characteristic: Undeniably tough, yet equally unwavering, love for everyone in her clan.
Emma Dutton, 1923
Parents: Unknown Spouse: John Dutton I Children: Jack Dutton Siblings: Unknown Defining characteristic: Emma’s love for John ran so deep, and was so all-consuming, that — sadly — she didn’t know how to carry on after his death. So she didn’t.
Alexandra Dutton, 1923
Parents: The Earl of Sussex, mother unknown Spouse: Spencer Dutton Children: None yet Siblings: A brother who died in World War I Defining characteristic: A sense of adventure, and a disregard for polite society, that nearly matches Spencer’s.
Jack Dutton, 1923
Parents: Emma and John Dutton I Spouse: None, though he is engaged to Elizabeth Strafford Children: None yet Siblings: None Defining characteristic: An energetic zest for life matched by an equally hotheaded response to any slight against his family — Jack is the rare Dutton man not yet fully hardened into the realities of ranch life, but we’re sure he’ll get there.