Wide-open spaces filled with vengeful cowboys galloping across mountains and rivers on their noble steeds rule the land in Yellowstone, the neo-Western created by Taylor Sheridan currently airing on the Paramount network. With four seasons under its belt and a prequel series along the way, the series is showing no sign of slowing down as the wild west will never run out of cowboys, outlaws, or horses. Sheridan helped usher in new interest for the neo-Western television genre, with many other series following suit.
Also serving as a screenwriter, Sheridan effectively strips away tired caricatures of the Western genre and creates complex modern portraits of the various Dutton family members, who own the Yellowstone Ranch in Montana. In the largest ranch in America, Kevin Costner stars as the family patriarch John Dutton, and along with his four adult children, and he leads the charge in fighting back against various outsiders who want to steal their land away. While there have been countless Western shows dating all the way back to the golden age of television during the 50s telling epic stories of the wild west when shoot-outs, hangings, and brothels littered the streets, Yellowstone has helped put into context what it means to be a cowboy living in modern times. If you love Yellowstone, here are ten other inventive neo-Western television series to watch next.
Where to stream: Hulu, AMC+
Preacher is unlike any other Western television series out there, tumbling around on treacherous southern roads with vampires, devils, and angels tearing up the streets. Based upon the comic book series under the same name created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, the AMC series is a brutal, darkly funny Western full of gunslingers and violence. The series stars Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, a former outlaw-turned-uninspired-preacher in a rundown church somewhere in small-town West Texas. Everything changes when he becomes struck by an unknown entity and begins exhibiting supernatural powers as he attempts to rid himself and other town members of sins while causing gruesome casualties along the way.
An incredibly bloody affair, Preacher takes the Western archetypes and flips them on their head, with the mysterious outlaw wandering into town now turning into a destructive ex-girlfriend named Tulip, played by a scene-stealing Ruth Negga, and the aimless wanderer transforming into a bloodthirsty, alcoholic vampire named Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun). Executive produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the pair that would go on to executive produce the Amazon Prime series, The Boys, Preacher matches its successor’s boldness with uproariously shocking moments of violence that are as sudden as lightning striking. The supernatural Western hasn’t found its place until the 21st century, and Preacher allows all of its powers to thrive amongst the jukeboxes, washed-up cowboys, and blood-soaked taverns.
Where to stream: Netflix
Wynonna Earp is another supernatural neo-Western that’s up to its elbows in blood, guts, and vengeful spirits. Melanie Scrofano stars as Wynonna Earp, the cynical, hard-drinking great-granddaughter of the legendary gunslinger Wyatt Earp. Determined not to follow in his footsteps, destiny proves to be a stronger force when Wynonna unwillingly returns to her hometown of Purgatory after years away only to find herself going face-to-face with demonic spirits in shootouts across the town’s streets.
After her great-grandfather Wyatt Earp killed dozens of criminals over a century ago, their souls rise from their graves to exact their revenge on Wynonna as she steps foot back into Purgatory, and she carries on her great-grandfather’s legacy by becoming the all-powerful demon slayer. Equipped with quirky humor and quick-witted dialogue, Wynonna receives back-up from her sister Waverly (Dominque Provost-Chalkley), the immortal Doc Holiday (Tim Rozon), and Deputy Marshall Xavier Dolls (Shamier Anderson) as they attempt to send the so-called Revenants back to hell, one stand-off at a time.
Where to stream: The CW, HBO Max
The CW’s family drama, Walker, is an updated take on the many classic family Western television series from the 50s and 60s filled with modern twists. Jared Padalecki stars as Texas Ranger Cordell Walker, a tough-talking, whiskey-drinking Texan with a closest full of demons. Raising his two teenage kids on his own, Stella (Violet Brinson) and August (Kale Culley), he struggles with being a single parent after his wife was murdered in a mysterious incident over a year ago. As he attempts to mend relationships with his kids while battling his sobriety, he also solves various cases with his new partner, Texas Ranger Micki Ramirez (Lindsey Morgan).
The two Rangers have an effortless back and forth rapport as they hunt down thieves on horseback and in pick-up trucks throughout Texas. It makes for exciting action sequences that always end with them catching the bad guy. A reboot of the 1980s series, Walker, Texas Ranger, the series is currently in the middle of its second season and will make its midseason premiere on Thursday, January 13 on The CW.
Where to stream: Amazon Prime Video
The Ewings walked so the Duttons could run. When the Western soap opera, Dallas, came onto the scene in the late 70s, it completely revolutionized the television Western. One of the small screens most popular genres during the 60s, most Western series including Big Valley, Gunsmoke, and Bonanza all took place in the old wild west, and each would draw in millions of viewers each week.
But nothing could prepare television for the sensation that Dallas would become when it debuted in 1978 on CBS. Taking place in modern-day Texas, it followed destructive feuds amongst the conniving Ewing family. The owners of the independent oil company, Ewing Oil, Dallas proved to be an addictive formula consisting of backstabbing siblings, forbidden love affairs, and criminal tycoons lunging for each other’s necks all the while practicing southern hospitality. Running for a total of 14 seasons, the iconic 1980 episode “Who Shot J.R” was watched by over 41 million people, and remains one of television’s most-watched episodes of all time.
Where to stream: Netflix
The Netflix original crime series, Ozark, has echoes of The Godfather as it follows one family’s descent into madness and crime as they trade in skyscrapers for a grey-skied Missouri wilderness while gradually transforming into ruthless killers amongst farmland and corrupt churches. Following the Bryde family, they relocate from Chicago to the Ozarks after the family patriarch, Marty (Jason Bateman), gets one last chance to fix things with a Mexican drug cartel after a job he was working for them goes wrong. A financial advisor, Marty hatches a scheme that involves massive amounts of money laundering, and once the Brydes settle in Ozark they quickly begin butting heads with various criminal-leaning town members.
Laura Linney co-stars alongside Bateman as Wendy Byrde, with Sofia Hublitz and Skylar Gaertner portraying their oftentimes neglected children. The four of them give the Corleones a run for their money as a cold-blooded crew of crooks. The most memorable performance within the series belongs to Julia Garner, who stars as the vicious and dangerous town local, Ruth Langmore. Garner is like a venomous snake slithering through the cornfields as she stalks her prey, and she went on to win two consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.
Where to stream: Hulu, ABC
The Montana-set crime series Big Sky burst onto the scene when it premiered on ABC in 2020 and quickly became one of the most-watched series on network television. Based on the book series The Highway written by C.J. Box, the show follows ex-cop Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick) and private detective Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) as they hunt down a disturbed truck driver who’s kidnapped two sisters amongst the isolated highways and unforgiving wilderness. Hoyt and Dewell prove to be a lethal duo of crime-fighting lawbreakers, and while tracking down the girls they uncover a much bigger plot that entails human trafficking. The series also stars John Carroll Lynch in a deliciously juicy role as an evil state trooper, Brian Geraghty as the kidnapping truck driver, and Jesse James Keitel as a town local and aspiring artist who finds herself getting kidnapped alongside the two sisters.
Where to stream: Hulu
You can take a cowboy out of Kentucky, but you can’t take the Kentucky out of a cowboy. When old-school U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) justifiably pulls his gun and kills a mob boss while working a job in Miami, he’s sent back to his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky, where he’s forced to revisit his past while upholding the law amongst family and friends. As Raylan adjusts to his newfound surroundings, his unconventional methods of capturing criminals stir up trouble in the town as he uses brutality, cunning defenses, and guns.
The FX series is filled with memorable supporting characters and features Nick Seary, Joelle Carter, Jacob Pitts, and Erica Tazel as various town members and co-workers of Raylan who are forced to contend with his wild west antics. Olyphant is right at home as a battered and bruised cowboy in Justified, taking what could have easily been a caricature and turning it into a thoughtful examination of what it means to be a cowboy living in the 21st century.
Where to stream: Netflix
Longmire is a never-ending parade of criminals, thieves, and cowboys who cause nothing but trouble in the frigid and beautiful state of Wyoming. Robert Taylor stars as Sheriff Walt Longmire, and he rules over Absaroka County with an iron fist. A tortured soul with a troubled past, Longmire is often at odds with his surroundings but perseveres in upholding the law as he solves kidnappings, murders, burglaries, and more.
There to provide backup is the headstrong deputy Victoria Moretti, played by Katee Sackoff, who frequently challenges Longmire and badgers him into becoming a better sheriff and man. Lou Diamond Phillips co-stars as his best friend, bartender Henry Standing Bear, in addition to Bailey Chase and Adam Bartley rounding out the police force as deputies Connally and Ferguson. Based upon the Walt Longmire Mysteries book series written by Craig Johnson, the series ran for a total of seven seasons, with it debuting on A&E before making the jump over to Netflix for its final seasons.
Where to stream: HBO Max
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are at the top of their game in the dark and twisted first season of the HBO anthology series, True Detective. Taking place in a grey-skied, death-ridden Louisiana where the sun hardly ever shines, the pair play two detectives on the hunt for a serial killer. Spanning over 17 years, the investigation leads them down countless dark alleys and dirty bars as they contend with red herrings and criminals while rarely seeing eye to eye. McConaughey is a revelation as the depressed and philosophical Rust Cohle, and Harrelson perfectly balances him out with his ever-optimistic charm as the oftentimes clueless Martin Hart.
Though the second season starring Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams was universally panned, the third season returned to its roots and told another terrifying mystery with Mahershala Ali starring as Detective Wayne Hays. Taking place in a drab Arkansas town during 1980, Hays hunts down two missing children with the help of his partner, Roland West (Stephen Dorff). The pair have an effortless chemistry and practice violent antics as they chase down possible suspects across the desolate Arkansas woods, and it makes for a thrilling eight episodes.
Where to stream: Peacock
Briarpatch is an eclectic combination of a neo-noir, neo-Western, and drama series all rolled into one. When Allegra “Pick” Dill (Rosario Dawson) returns home to the corrupt small town of San Bonifacio, Texas after her sister is killed in a bomb explosion, she stirs things up as she uncovers a slew of criminal enterprises operating amongst the local zoo and bar. Painted with cigarette smoke, sleek suits, and cowboy hats, Briarpatch is a stylish murder mystery that is self-aware of its various western caricatures, femme fatales, and cheesy dialogue. Dawson carries the show as the cool and complex Allegra, as she combats the loss of her sister with various self-destructive vices while continuing her quest to solve the crime.
Oftentimes witty and strange, Briarpatch features many larger-than-life performances laid down by Jay R. Ferguson, Alan Cumming, Edi Gathegi, and Kim Dickens. Based on the 1984 novel under the same name written by Ross Thomas, the series emits mythological qualities and takes the form of a Southern odyssey as Allegra walks down a long and winding road towards revenge.
The Best TV Westerns of the 21st Century
Just in case you need some more cowboys after ‘Yellowstone’s new season ends.
About The Author
Rebecca Schriesheim (8 Articles Published)
Rebecca Schriesheim is a Resource Freelance Writer for Collider. She’s a graduate of DePaul University where she studied Cinema and Media, and currently resides in the Chicago-land area. In her free time, she can be found hanging out with her two dogs, baking cupcakes, playing the piano, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.