Earlier this year, Paramount+ aired the first of what will be many television series in the Yellowstone universe, a prequel called 1883. It tracked James and Margaret Dutton (Tim McGraw and Faith Hill) as they traversed the dangerous Oregon trail with their family. There was an enormous amount of loss along the way, but they eventually settled on a piece of land that would eventually become the Yellowstone ranch.
Paramount+ initially said that 1883 would have a second season, which was both true and not. There would be another series that follows the Dutton family, but it would be set 50 years in the future and be called 1932. If you’ve seen 1883, you’d understand why 1932 might be significant: It was the year that the stock market hit its bottom, three years into the Great Depression. 1883 could have also been called Greatly Depressing, so you might understand why 1932 would be thematically appropriate.
However, Taylor Sheridan — the creator of the Yellowstone universe — has since cast Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren in the sequel to the prequel. What does that have to do with 1932 or 1923? The series is expected to follow the next generation of Duttons, but I am guessing that they’re going to want to feature members of the older generation as part of the transition.
Ergo, I suspect that Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford — the latter of whom lives in nearby Wyoming — will play Margaret and James Dutton, respectively. James Dutton was played by 55-year-old Tim McGraw in 1883, but a 2022 55-year-old could easily pull off an 1883 40-year-old because life rode the pioneers hard. The life expectancy at the time was around 41 years.
So, a 40-year-old in 1883 could pull off an 80-year-old in 1923, and that just so happens to be how old Harrison Ford actually is. Helen Mirren is 76 (and a fine 76, at that). Nine years later, in 1932, you’d have a show trying to convince us in the 1930s that a couple of 90-year-olds could be as spry as Ford and Mirren during the Great Depression. That just isn’t realistic.
But Ford pulling off an 80-year-old who probably has screentime limited to Taylor Sheridan catching Ford hanging out on his Wyoming ranch? That sounds right. Meanwhile, though the Depression didn’t hit the United States fully until 1929, things were already well underway in Wyoming, where Governor Joseph Dixon — a progressive Republican (that sounds like an oxymoron, but remember this was 1923!) — was unable to pass reforms because a severe economic depression had already hit the state. It’s worth noting, too, because it’s bound to come into play in 1923 that, at the time, the state was largely controlled by the Anaconda Copper Mining Co.
And there lies your bleak, depression backdrop!
Now, the last time that Mirren and Ford worked together — on Mosquito Coast — Mirren said that he was a terrible kisser, so that’s 40 years of awkwardness that will seep into their performances.
Header Image Source: Warner Bros