Chronological 'Westworld' Timeline: All Of Your Time Period Questions Answered

Nine episodes into Westworld season one and it should be clear to even the least attentive viewer that we are seeing more than one time period cut together. And those of you who have fallen down the rabbit hole of Westworld theories have a much clearer understanding of the chronology of everything we've seen thus far, but being a Nolan-produced series, its all a bit complicated. Thankfully someone has put together an extensive chronological timeline to help us understand the when and where of it all. Hit the jump to jump into the Westworld timeline.

Warning: Before we get to the Westworld Chronological timeline, we must first explain to you that this takes into consideration the widely considered as true multiple time period theory. If you don't want to know about this theory, I suggest you turn back now.

westworld timeline

About The Westworld Timeline

For those of you who have not read the multiple time period theory, I will briefly explain. The theory suggests that the events we see with William and Logan's adventure with Dolores are taking place some thirty-odd years in the past, while the events of The Man In Black and Teddy are taking place thirty years later, with William becoming The Man in Black.

Of course, we've also seen moments with Bernard talking to Dolores in an underground laboratory which is actually Ford's old partner Arnold talking to Dolores 30-something years ago, before the park opened and before Arnold was killed.

As I said, with all of these multiple time periods being presented to us simultaneously, it can get rather complicated. Thankfully @IamAbernathy has compiled an extensive Westworld chronological timeline which we've been given permission to reprint the complete timeline below. Also @draupp was able to give us the authorization to print his fantastic Westworld timeline infographic chart seen above.

young ford in westworld

Time Period 1: 30-37 Years Prior to Current Events

The Glorious Early Days (34-37 years ago)

"For three years, we lived here in the park, refining the hosts before a single guest set foot inside. Myself, a team of engineers, and my partner. His name was Arnold. Those early years were glorious. No guests, no board meetings, just pure creation. Our hosts began to pass the Turing test after the first year" (Ford, episode 3).

According to Bernard, Arnold wrote half the code the park was founded on 40 years ago, but this is the first period that we know of in Westworld; this was at the beginning when Ford, Arnold, and their team worked on refining the hosts and making them pass the Turing test.

We can make an estimate about when this three-year period took place. We know that Arnold died 34 years and 42 days before current events, we know that he died right before the park opened, and we are aware that he and Ford spent three years working in the park before it opened.

"Last contact: 34 years, 42 days, seven hours ago" (the day that Arnold died) (Dolores, episode 5).

"And then right before the park opened, one of the partners killed himself" (Logan, episode 5).

"For three years, we lived here in the park, refining the hosts before a single guest set foot inside" (Ford, episode 3).

This means that the park opened to guests roughly 34 years ago (shortly after Arnold's demise) and they began working there three years before that, approximately 37 years ago.

From Ford's flashback in episode 3 and Dolores' flashback in episode 8, we also know some of the hosts that were in the park in that period. There were DoloresMaeveAngelaPeter AbernathyArmisticeLawrence's daughterTeddy Flood, and Rebus.

dolores and arnold in westworld

Dolores & Arnold's Sessions (34-36 years ago)

"There's something I'd like you to try. It's a game. A secret. It's called the Maze. It's a very special kind of game, Dolores. The goal is to find the center of it. If you can do that, then maybe you can be free" (Arnold, episode 4).

These sessions are between Dolores and Arnold since we know that Bernard is made in the image of Arnold. These sessions take place in a diagnostic facility under the White Church, since we see Dolores enter this facility through the White Church in one of her flashbacks.

"It's a remote diagnostic facility. Ford and his partner used them when the park was in beta. I had no idea this one was here" (Bernard, episode 7).

They probably took place after the first hosts had passed the Turing test (a year after they started working in the park) and before Arnold died (34 years ago). So they took place sometime between 34-36 years ago.

The sessions between Arnold and Dolores were held in secret.

"I think it would be best if you not mention the things we've been talking about" (Arnold, episode 2)

In the first two meetings we see (episode 2-3), they talk about change, and Arnold seems fascinated by Dolores, whom he finds different and extraordinary.

"There's something different about you, about the way you think. I find it fascinating, but others may not see it that way" (Arnold, episode 2)

"It's like the other books we've read. It's about change. Seems to be a common theme (Dolores, episode 3).

In the third session (episode 3), Arnold appears to have doubts about what he is doing with Dolores, but when she starts showing signs of human consciousness, he decides to keep going down the path that they've started.

"I need to decide what to do with you. I think I made a mistake. I was just fascinated. I was being selfish, but I think it would be better if I restored you to the way you were before (...) No, Dolores. Let's see where this path leads" (Arnold, episode 3).

In the fourth session (episode 4), Arnold decides to let Dolores try "the Maze" game. He sends her away from the Town with the White Church to travel the path of the Maze.

"There's something I'd like you to try. It's a game. A secret. It's called the Maze. It's a very special kind of game, Dolores. The goal is to find the center of it. If you can do that, then maybe you can be free" (Arnold, episode 4).

In the fifth session (episode 9), we see Dolores return to the Town with the White Church and reunite with Arnold after having traveled the path of the Maze.

"You came back. It's very good to see you, Dolores"

"I've been looking for you. You told me to follow the Maze. That it would bring me joy. But all I found was pain and terror" (Arnold and Dolores, episode 9).

The fact that Dolores has been away from the Town with White Church on her journey and has found her way back is further substantiated by Lawrence's daughter, who asks Dolores if she found what she went looking for upon Dolores' return to the town.

"Good morning. Did you find what you were looking for, Dolores?" (Lawrence's daughter, episode 8).

So Dolores and Arnold's sessions began in secret under the White Church, then Arnold sent Dolores away to travel the path of the Maze, and then she returned to the town upon having completed the Maze.

The Massacre in Sweetwater

The Massacre in Sweetwater and the Town with the White Church/Escalante (30-34 years ago)

"The park hasn't had a critical failure in over 30 years" (Bernard, episode 1).

In one of Dolores' flashbacks in episode 8, we see the massacre in the Town with the White Church unfold. If we assume that Ford's flashback in episode 3, which depicts the same scene when they're dancing before the massacre begins, is from "the early glorious years" after the hosts passed the Turing test (34-36 years ago), it stands to reason that Dolores' flashback is from the same time. And since the park hasn't had a critical failure in over 30 years, according to Theresa, we can surmise that this event took place sometime between 30-34 years ago.

What led to this massacre and how it unfolded is unclear, but we've seen the same massacre in Teddy's flashback from his point-of-view where he shoots people with a rifle along with the mysterious Wyatt. The Union soldiers and Teddy refer to the town as Escalante. In fact, we might've even seen Teddy in the background in Dolores' flashback in episode 8 gunning down people. In the trailer for the show, we actually see Dolores and Teddy standing together after a massacre. It seems that the Wyatt narrative has been uploaded as a reflection of what actually happened during the massacre.

"No. No, I couldn't have"

"You did. And you will again. This time we'll be fighting with you. When Wyatt returns, you'll be by his side in the city swallowed by sand" (Teddy and Angela, episode 9).

The other Dolores flashbacks of the Town with the White Church that we've seen don't seem to give us any more information, but rather appear to be telling a fragmented story of what led up to and/or happened after the massacre.

In episode 2, we also see a Dolores flashback from Sweetwater that appears to depict a similar massacre. Whether these two events are connected is, however, as of yet unclear.

"What was the last thing he (Arnold) said to you?"

"He told me I was going to help him. To destroy this place" (Ford and Dolores, episode 5).

"The man I'd be asking died 35 years ago. Almost took this place with him. Almost, but not quite, thanks to me" (The MiB, episode 5)

Whether the massacre was the event where Arnold ended up dying and almost took Westworld with him remains unclear, but if it was, that means that the event occurred roughly 34 years ago (unless Arnold died before the massacre, but was still the one who instigated it from beyond the grave). It also means that the MiB couldn't have been in Westworld at the time because he has only been coming to Westworld for 30 years (again, unless Arnold died before the massacre).

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Time Period 2: 30 Years Prior to Current Events

Dolores & William (30 years ago)

"I've been coming here for 30 years" (The MiB, episode 1).

William and Logan arrive at Westworld where they are greeted by Angela in her new build as "Greeter Host."

William and Logan arrive in Sweetwater where they spend the night before going on the bounty hunt to find Slim. Just before going on the bounty hunt, William has his first encounter with Dolores who drops the can that William picks up (mirroring both Teddy and the MiB).

While out on the bounty hunt for Slim, Dolores stumbles upon them at night and wakes up in their camp the next morning. Dolores wakes up on a blanket with a gun in her hand with William next to her.

  • The obvious thing to extrapolate from this as a viewer is that this is the same Dolores that we just saw in the current time period who remembered her encounter with the MiB in the barn and her old father (Peter), who killed the outlaw (Rebus) who wanted to rape her, and who escaped from his gang. However, for the two time periods theory to be correct, one of two things has to have happened: 1) We have to have seen current Dolores wake up alone with a gun in her hand on a blanket that she brought and then the scene cut back to 30 years ago with William next to her, or 2) There were similar events that led up to her going off loop 30 years ago and in the current timeline, and we just didn't see the events 30 years ago.

They decide to bring Dolores with them on their hunt and go to Lawrence's hometown where they encounter someone who wants to bring Dolores back to Abernathy ranch, but William says she's with him.

  • Again, we encounter a problem. This scene follows a scene where a female Westworld staffer tells Stubbs in the current time period (she references Ford's new narrative) that Dolores is off her loop and it's unclear if she's with a guest, and Stubbs tells her to flag Dolores with Behavior and send someone to check it out. So it's obvious to extrapolate that the scene in Lawrence's hometown where someone comes to get her is a result of that scene. For the two time periods theory to be true, one of two things has to have happened: 1) The guy who grabs Dolores is just a host that randomly tries to bring Dolores back to where she belongs, but stops when she's with a guest, or 2) Westworld sent someone 30 years ago to check up on Dolores just like they do in the current time period, which could be true because it's probably normal protocol to check up on hosts that make big deviations (but it's unclear why they didn't know that she was with a guest 30 years ago?).

They find and capture Slim who tells them about "El Lazo" Lawrence in Pariah. They go to Pariah where they meet Lawrence, help him out with the nitro, lose Logan, and join Lawrence on the train to the Front.

They travel through Ghost Nation territory, William and Dolores sleep together, and the train is attacked by Confederados whom they escape from.

They arrive at a place that Dolores has drawn from her imagination (where the mountains meet the sea), they part ways with Lawrence, they come across a lake where Dolores feels she's been before and they meet a young Confederado, and then they arrive in Nowhere Land (the place where the Town with the White Church used to be).

Dolores starts reliving past memories from the massacre, and William tells her that they have to get out of there because this place is not good for her. They run into Logan who had been looking for them and told them they are in trouble.

Dolores and William are taken to a camp of soldiers where Logan is now General. Logan tortures Dolores and wants William to come back to reality and realize it's just a game.

Dolores manages to escape, and William tells her he'll catch up. William pretends to make up with Logan, who drinks till he passes out. While Logan is passed out, William kills all the soldiers and finally understands how to play the game. He tells Logan that he's going to find Dolores and that Logan is going to help him.

"Then, when are we? Is this now? Am I going mad? Are you real? I can't tell anymore. It's like I'm trapped in a dream or a memory from a life long ago. One minute, I'm here with you, and the next... This is what Arnold wants. He wants me to remember" (Dolores, episode 8).

There are a couple of things that we have to keep in mind as viewers when watching Dolores' story with William that seems to have scenes that contradict the two time periods theory.

  • The show's creators want us to be confused. They want it to be intentionally ambiguous. If the theory is indeed correct, they don't want you to be sure of it right away, but at the same time, they want you to be able to look back at it and see that they knew what they were doing. This requires some scenes that are vague.
  • We're watching this from Dolores' point-of-view. Not only is she discombobulated and doesn't understand what's going on, but she's experiencing several time periods simultaneously (the massacre, the one with William, and the current one). Felix explains to us that the hosts recall memories perfectly and actually relive them (episode 8). This would make anyone's perspective difficult to understand.

Maeve the Man in Black

Time Period 3: 1 Year Prior to Current Events

Maeve & the Man in Black (1 year ago)

"You've only been the madam at the Mariposa for the last year or so" (Felix, episode 6).

"Then, last year, my wife took the wrong pills. Fell asleep in the bath. Tragic accident" (The MiB, episode 8).

Despite believing that she's been the madam at the Mariposa for the last decade, from a time unknown until roughly a year ago, Maeve was in a role as an ordinary homesteader living with her daughter. From her flashbacks, we see that part of her narrative includes her being attacked by Natives.

A year ago, the MiB's wife died by drowning in the bathtub, something which he calls an accident, but which his daughter, Emily, calls suicide.

"Then, at the funeral, I tried to console my daughter. She pushed me away, told me that my wife's death was no accident... that she killed herself because of me. Emily said that every day with me had been sheer terror. At any point, I could blow up or collapse like some dark star. (...) She said if I stacked up all my good deeds, it was just an elegant wall I built to hide what's inside from everyone, and from myself. I had to prove her wrong, so I came back here" (The Mib, episode 8).

"But that time, I didn't join one of Ford's stories, I created my own. A test. A very simple one. I found a woman, an ordinary homesteader and her daughter. I wanted to see if I had it in me to do something truly evil. To see what I was really made of. I killed her and her daughter just to see what I felt. I felt nothing. Then, just when I thought it was done... the woman refused to die. And then something miraculous happened. In all my years coming here, I had never seen anything like it. She was alive, truly alive, if only for a moment. And that was when the maze revealed itself to me. The maze" (The MiB, episode 8).

This is the first time in his 30 years of coming to the park that the Maze has revealed itself to him and that he has experienced a host being truly alive. This was the incident that started his quest in the current time period to find the center of the Maze.

Maeve, meanwhile, is emotionally destroyed by the death of her child and has to be brought into Westworld offices for diagnostics.

Westworld tech: "Sir, she won't respond to verbal commands. We can't shut her down"

Bernard: "I don't understand. She's not responding to anything. Her cognition's fragmented"

Ford (plays Reveries song): "There. That's better. An old trick from an old friend. You need not suffer, Maeve. I'll take it from you. Give yourself now to a deep, dreamless slumber. Perhaps a fresh start, a new role for you. And tomorrow, this will be simply a distant dream" (episode 8).

When her memory wipe is complete, Maeve takes a knife to her own throat. The next time we meet her, she's the madam at the Mariposa in the current timeline.

After Maeve has killed herself, Bernard questions Ford about what just happened. He doesn't understand how she could commit suicide over a memory that was just erased. It causes Bernard to crash.

"But how could she destroy herself over a memory that you just erased from her mind?"

"Creatures often go to extremes to protect themselves from pain"

"Living beings. Not hosts. It would signal a change, a level of empathic response outside what she's programmed to exhibit. Something like... like..." (Bernard and Ford, episode 9)

dolores and lawrences daughter

Time Period 4: Current Events

Dolores (the present)

"Sometimes I feel... like something's calling me. Telling me there's a place for me somewhere beyond all this" (Dolores, episode 4).

Dolores is in her daily loop when she and Teddy encounter the MiB at Abernathy ranch. He takes her to the barn and pulls out his knife.

"Why don't we reacquaint ourselves, Dolores? Start at the beginning" (The MiB, episode 1).

Her dad loses it after finding a picture and utters the phrase "these violent delights have violent ends" to her, which she in turn speaks to Maeve. She starts hearing Arnold's voice and recalling past events.

When Rebus tries to rape her at Abernathy ranch in one of her loops, she remembers her previous father and her encounter with the MiB. She kills Rebus on Arnold's orders, escapes his gang, and takes off on her own.

A Westworld staffer tells Stubbs that Dolores is making a significant deviation from her loop and it's unclear if she's being accompanied by a guest because Ford's new narrative is causing trouble. He tells her to flag Dolores with Behavior and check up on it.

Dolores arrives in Lawrence's hometown where she meets Lawrence's daughter who tells her they come from the same place.

Dolores arrives in the graveyard outside Pariah alone. She goes through Pariah and boards the train to the outskirts of the park.

  • We see that William and Lawrence disappear when the story flashes forward to her journey in the present (it is, however, curious that she is wearing the same outfit as she was 30 years ago?).

Dolores arrives at the lake where William and Dolores met the young Confederado 30 years ago.

Dolores arrives at the Town with White Church.

  • We see that she is alone in the last half of the clip where she sees that the town with the White Church has been rebuilt as part of Ford's new narrative and is completely abandoned (when she was there with William 30 years ago, there was only the black spire, and when she remembered it from the massacre days, it was full of life).

Dolores leaves the Town with the White Church, retracing her memories from 30 years ago and what happened during her time with William. Hosts don't recall, but literally, relive memories, so in the present, she is following the same path that she followed 30 years ago that took her away from the Town with the White Church and back again.

Dolores again arrives in the Town with the White Church, and this time she enters the town.

Dolores enters the White Church and goes through the passage to the underground diagnostics facility where she sits alone. All the while, she is remembering having walked a similar path 34 years ago that led her to Arnold.

When Dolores reemerges in the Church, someone is about to enter the Church. Dolores hopefully says "William...", but is horrified when it turns out to be the MiB.

westworld the man in black and dolores rape

The Man in Black (the present)

"It's the maze, the deepest level of this game. You're gonna help me find the entrance" (The MiB, episode 2).

The MiB encounters Dolores and takes her to the barn to get reacquainted. He then goes to Sweetwater to find the dealer, Kissy, who "gives" him the Maze map and tells him about his friend, Lawrence.

He saves Lawrence from the hangman's noose and takes him to his hometown where he kills everyone and uses Lawrence's family to find the next clue to his journey, despite Lawrence's daughter telling him that the Maze isn't meant for him.

A Westworld staffer informs Stubbs about what the MiB is doing, but Stubbs replies "that gentleman gets whatever he wants."

The MiB and Lawrence find Armistice who offers the next clue in exchange for assistance in breaking Hector out of jail. The MiB does this and is told about Wyatt, the villain of Ford's new narrative.

The MiB and Lawrence take off to find Wyatt and encounter Teddy who's been left for dead by Wyatt's gang. They bring him along and the MiB kills Lawrence and uses his blood to keep Teddy alive in order to find Wyatt.

The MiB convinces Teddy to come along by saying that Wyatt has Dolores. They go into a bar where they meet Ford who asks what they're doing, gives them his blessing and fixes Teddy.

They have to get over the border, but Pariah is closed, so they take a more treacherous path. They encounter Angela in her new build as one of Wyatt's henchmen.

The MiB: "It's you. I figured they retired you. Guess Ford never likes to waste a pretty face" (episode 8).

Teddy remembers what the MiB did to Dolores and knocks him out. Teddy takes him to a camp fire where they discuss the MiB's past. Angela turns out to be in league with Wyatt and stabs Teddy in the chest.

Angela makes Teddy remember the massacre and tells the MiB that the Maze isn't meant for him (echoing Lawrence's daughter). She tells him to try one of their games and knocks him out.

When the MiB wakes up, he has a rope around his throat which is tied to his horse. He gets free and meets Hale, who wants the MiB's help to push out Ford, as the MiB is apparently a member of the board and the one responsible for Ford having been kept in business "all those years ago."

"Most of the guests just want a warm body to shoot or to fuck. They would be perfectly happy with something a little less baroque. And so would the board"

"That's why you're here? You want my vote to push Ford out?"

"I like for these things to be unanimous. After all, it was you who kept Ford in business all those years ago"

"The narratives I'm interested in aren't Ford's. You wanna push him out, be my guest. But no more interruptions. I know where I'm going now and I don't want to be disturbed. Good luck, Charlotte" (Hale and the MiB, episode 9)

The MiB goes to the Town with the White Church where he enters the Church and meets Dolores.

billy man in black westworld theory

Commonalities between the MiB and William

"Is that any way to treat an old friend? I've been coming here for 30 years, but you still don't remember me, do you? After all we've been through. They gave you a little more pluck, Dolores. Absolutely charming" (The MiB, episode 1).

Commonality 1: "There's a Path for Everyone."

"I used to believe there was a path for everyone" (Dolores to William, episode 4).

"As another old friend of mine likes to say, there's a path for everyone" (The MiB, episode 5)

Commonality 2: Stories

"The only thing I had when I was a kid were books. I used to live in them. I used to go to sleep dreaming I'd wake up inside one of them 'cause they had meaning. This place, this is like I woke up inside one of those stories. I guess I just wanna find out what it means" (William, episode 7).

"This whole world is a story. I've read every page except the last one. I need to find out how it ends. I want to know what this all means" (The MiB, season 4).

Commonality 3: Marriage

"Dolores, back home, there's a woman, Juliet, and her father owns the company where I work. She's Logan's sister. And when I get home, we're getting married" (William, episode 7).

"Then, last year, my wife took the wrong pills. Fell asleep in the bath. Tragic accident. 30 years of marriage vanished" (The MiB, episode 8).

Commonality 4: Your True Self

"I used to think this place was all about pandering to your baser instincts. Now I understand. It doesn't cater to your lowest self, it reveals your deepest self. It shows you who you really are" (William, episode 7).

"Because that's what this place does, right? Reveals your true self" (The MiB, episode 8).

Commonality 5: Intimidation Factor

"I picked you precisely because you will never be a threat to anyone. My sister probably picked you for the same reason" (Logan to William, episode 5).

"There is not a man in the world that would take the tone with me that you do. In a past life perhaps" (The MiB to Lawrence, episode 5).

Commonality 6: On Adventures with Lawrence

"You and I hunted down Ghost Nation braves in their winter grounds. I know the whiskey you like to drink. I know the tune you whistle when you're taking a piss" (The MiB to Lawrence, episode 2).

Commonality 7: Playing the Game

"You said this place was a game. Last night, I finally understood how to play it" (William, episode 9)

"Who said anything about you playing? I play" (the MiB, episode 1)