Yellowstone john kayce
Credit: Emerson Miller/Paramount Network, Courtesy of the Everett Collection

“I know how the series ends… “

Good news, Yellowstone fans: The upcoming fifth season of the wildly popular horse opera will be its longest yet. While past seasons have given us 10 episodes each, the next outing will be expanded to 14, divided into two 7-episode “chapters,” the first of which will air this summer.

That said, co-creator Taylor Sheridan warns that sooner or later, the modern-day western will ride off into the sunset. And as he told our sister site Deadline,”You want this to end on an upswing as opposed to a plateau or a descent.”

Given that the recently-concluded season’s finale saw an increase of 81% over that of the previous season, it’s safe to say the things are definitely moving in the right direction. But Sheridan is already thinking about how the Dutton family saga — or at least the show centered on its modern-day members — will conclude.

“Well, I know how it ends,” he said. “I know how the series ends, and you have to move in a straight line toward that end. You can’t walk in circles, waiting to get there, because the show will stagnate.”

Yellowstone beth rip

Above: Which will last longer… the series or Beth and Rip’s new marriage?

More: What must happen in Season 5?

From the sound of things, moving forward means people paying for the various sins they’ve committed… which is saying something when you think about a few of the more horrific events that have unfolded on and around the ranch since first we met the Duttons. “There have to be consequences in the world,” explained Sheridan, “and there has to be an evolution toward a conclusion. Can that be another two seasons beyond this? It could.”

Don’t expect to see Yellowstone matching the 20-season run of the original Law & Order. “I don’t see this as a procedural show,” Sheridan explains. “So it’s not something that we could extend indefinitely. I don’t think anyone would want to do that; you’d cheapen the product.”

So far, an actual end date hasn’t been established. “I haven’t had that conversation with the network or the studio yet,” he said, adding, “I’m sure it’s coming.”

On the plus side, the series has proven so popular that even once it ends, the Dutton’s will live on via the various spinoffs. Already, viewers have met the great-grandparents of Kevin Costner’s John Dutton thanks to the events currently unfolding on 1883. Paramount+ has also ordered a Dutton-focused series called 1932 will will presumably focus on the clan’s next generation.

And of course, already in the works is 6666, which takes place on the legendary ranch on which Yellowstone‘s Jimmy learned to become a cowboy (and found true love) last year. No word yet as to whether this particularly offshoot will be set in the present or past, although rumor has it work on the highly-anticipated series already has begun.

What do you think, folks? Is it way too soon to be thinking about how Yellowstone will end? And which of the companion shows are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments section, then join us in paying humble tribute to Beth and her incredible ability to verbally burn anyone who crosses her bath!