Yellowstone Season 6 Is Already Being Written ⁠— But Will It Be The End Of The Show?

"Yellowstone" season 5 is just days away now, and while the new season is set to pick up where all the latest cliffhangers left off, there's one question it won't be answering: when will the show end? John Linson and Taylor Sheridan's wildly popular neo-Western series could theoretically keep on trucking forever, but with several other spin-offs on his plate, you'd think the showrunner would want to put the flagship series to bed at some point.

At the premiere of "Yellowstone" season 5 this week, actor Cole Hauser, who plays rancher Rip Wheeler in the show, confirmed that the show will go beyond its fifth season. "It's not the last season," he told People. While the show's sixth season hasn't been announced yet, an executive also told People that Sheridan missed the fete because he was hard at work writing — for season 6. The news of the show's continuation shouldn't come as a surprise for anyone who's been following its linear TV reign: last year, the fourth season premiere pulled in the biggest cable premiere viewership numbers since a 2017 episode of "The Walking Dead."

'There has to be an evolution toward a conclusion'

So the sixth season of "Yellowstone" is already all but announced, but will that one be the show's last? Actually, maybe so. Sheridan has spoken more than once about his plan for the series' future, and it's always involved making sure the show doesn't outstay its welcome. "I know how it ends. I'm writing to that ending," he told the New York Times in 2021. "There's only so much hovering one can do before the story starts to lose its locomotion; you can't put it in neutral just because it's successful."

While Sheridan didn't mention his ideal season count in that interview, he did say how many would be too many. "It will go as many years as it takes for me to tell the story, but you're not going to see nine seasons of it. No way," he told the outlet. The writer-creator was a bit more forthcoming with Deadline when he spoke with that outlet after the fourth season. "You can't walk in circles, waiting to get there, because the show will stagnate. So, you have to keep moving forward, and there have to be consequences in the world, and there has to be an evolution toward a conclusion," he explained, before concluding, "Can that be another two seasons beyond this? It could."

Six seasons and some spinoffs?

That sounds like six seasons to me, and it did to the folks at Deadline as well. The interviewer responded with, "Six seasons, then," before moving on to the next question, and it appears Sheridan didn't object to that conclusion. Still, when it came to plotting out the definite ending, the showrunner said that he had not "had that conversation with the network or the studio yet." This conversation was in 2020, several "Yellowstone" spinoffs ago, so it's likely planning for the show's inevitable conclusion has moved forward since then.

When the modern chapter of the Dutton family's story does end, that'll still be far from the last we see of the world Sheridan created. The prequel series "1883," which starred Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Sam Elliott, aired last year and told a harrowing story of the wagon expedition that brought the Dutton family west. "1923," an upcoming prequel led by Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, will reportedly tell the story of the family's strife during the Prohibition, Great Depression, and post-World War I era. And yet a third spinoff, "6666," will not be set in the distant future as the titling trend might indicate, but in the present day at the ranch of the same name.

"Yellowstone" is set to return for its fifth season on the Paramount Network beginning November 13, 2022.