How is Spencer Dutton Related to John Dutton? The Yellowstone Mystery Revealed

If you are a fan of the Yellowstone universe, you might be wondering how Spencer Dutton, the adventurous explorer in Africa, is related to John Dutton, the rancher in Montana. Spencer is one of the main characters in 1923, the prequel series that follows the Dutton family during the Great Depression and Prohibition. John is the protagonist of Yellowstone, the modern-day drama that depicts the struggles of the Dutton family to protect their land and legacy. Here is everything you need to know about their connection and family history.

The Dutton Family Origins

The Dutton family saga began in 1883, when James Dutton (Tim McGraw) and his wife Margaret (Faith Hill) decided to leave their home in Texas and move to Montana, in search of a better life. Along with their children John Sr. (James Badge Dale) and Elsa (Isabel May), they embarked on a perilous journey across the American frontier, facing many dangers and hardships along the way.

They were joined by James’ brother Jacob (Harrison Ford) and his wife Cara (Diane Lane), who were already living in Montana and owned a large ranch. Jacob offered James a piece of land to start his own ranch, which became the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, the ancestral home of the Dutton family.

Spencer Dutton: The Adventurous Son

Spencer Dutton (Brandon Sklenar) is the youngest son of James and Margaret Dutton. He was born after 1883, as he does not appear in the first prequel series. He is the brother of John Sr. and Elsa, though Elsa died before Spencer was born.

Spencer was a soldier during World War I, where he fought bravely but also suffered from trauma and nightmares. He chose to leave his family and Montana behind, and moved to Africa, where he lived as an explorer and hunter. He often faced dangerous animals such as lions and leopards, but also enjoyed the freedom and beauty of nature.

Spencer received a letter from Cara, asking him if he would return to Yellowstone, as Jacob needed his help to deal with the challenges brought by Prohibition and the Great Depression. Spencer was reluctant to go back, as he felt disconnected from his family and his past. However, he might reconsider his decision after surviving a leopard attack in the first episode of 1923.

John Dutton: The Rancher Patriarch

John Dutton (Kevin Costner) is the grandson of James and Margaret Dutton. He is the son of John Sr. and an unknown woman, who died when John was young. He is also the nephew of Spencer and Jack (Darren Mann), who is John Sr.’s son from another woman.

John inherited the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch from his father, who passed away when John was a teenager. He became the leader of the Dutton family, and dedicated his life to protecting his land and legacy from various threats, such as developers, politicians, Native Americans, rival ranchers, and criminals.

John has four children: Lee (Dave Annable), Beth (Kelly Reilly), Jamie (Wes Bentley), and Kayce (Luke Grimes). He also has several grandchildren: Tate (Brecken Merrill), who is Kayce’s son with Monica (Kelsey Asbille), a Native American woman; Christina (Katherine Cunningham), who is Jamie’s daughter with an ex-girlfriend; and Roarke Jr., who is Beth’s unborn child with Roarke Morris (Josh Holloway), a hedge fund manager who wants to buy John’s land.

John shares some traits with Spencer, such as courage, resilience, and loyalty. However, he also differs from him in many ways, such as his sense of responsibility, his attachment to his family and his land, and his willingness to compromise and cooperate with others.


Spencer Dutton and John Dutton are uncle and nephew, respectively. They are both descendants of James and Margaret Dutton, who founded the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch in Montana in 1883. Spencer is the youngest son of James and Margaret, while John is the grandson of James and Margaret through their eldest son John Sr.

Spencer and John have never met each other, as Spencer left Montana before John was born. They live in different continents and different eras, but they are both part of the same family legacy that spans over a century.

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