"In some ways, Yellowstone is much like any other wealth-and-corruption show on TV," says Kathryn VanArendonk. "At the heart of Yellowstone, though, lies an ideology that separates it from the prestige-knockoff pack, a desperate and threatened appeal to American identity and white masculinity that makes the Paramount series palpably different from other family rivalry dramas like Billions or Succession. In its typical beats, it resembles those shows and other prestige projects — it mixes internecine family drama with larger-scale power plays, and like so many series of this genus, its central spoke is one sad, middle-aged white guy. But the typical generational drama on American TV is about power for power’s sake, and about the anxiety of the new generation living up to and overtaking those who came before. On Yellowstone, those beats come hand in hand with a more existential anxiety. John Dutton’s enemies aren’t just generic baddies who want what he’s got — if they were, he wouldn’t care so much if they beat him. The battles on Yellowstone are about the idea that one way of living is just better than the others. To be a rancher, or even better a cowboy, a real cowboy, is a purer, more authentic, better life. And it’s no coincidence that this show about the painful anxiety of that life being taken away is, in its third season, one of the most-watched dramas on cable." VanArendonk says Yellowstone is "such a persuasive, beguiling vision of white American masculinity — ownership, mastery, freedom from interference and surveillance, loyalty at all costs, physical strength, and land," adding: "For a show about American exceptionalism, Yellowstone’s is a stunningly insular world. It feels like a contradiction for a show so obsessed with bigness, but in its heart, Yellowstone is a show about the inescapable smallness of feeling aggrieved and besieged. It has no interest in explicitly probing its blind spots, in admitting that perhaps John Dutton has enemies because he has placed himself in opposition to everyone, or that perhaps it’s not good for one man to own half a million acres. It’s a show about masculine fragility, and the Duttons are the only ones who haven’t yet realized it."