All Them Newfangled Ways to Watch Yellowstone Are a Mess


Think you’re tough enough to wrangle a cable log-in, cowboy?
Photo: Danno Nell/Paramount Network

There’s no getting around the first part of this: This is a post about how to watch Yellowstone, even though Yellowstone is a show I can’t exactly recommend you or anyone else watch. Nevertheless it is a show I do watch, and so do at least 8 million other people, and because you’re reading this, it’s likely a show you watch too.

But how?

It seems like this should be an astoundingly easy question to answer, and yet, it is bananas. Let’s run down the options.

Oh ho, that’s what you think! That is also what I thought, but I was wrong. Yellowstone is not on Paramount+, so move right along to the next option.

Ooh, you’re on Yellowstone’s good side, aren’t you? After all, Yellowstone is a show about embracing tradition, about knowing that the old ways are the good ways (for certain narrowly defined versions of “old ways,” which include Manifest Destiny but not Indigenous land use). So it makes sense that the easiest way to watch Yellowstone is as a TV traditionalist. Sit down in front of your TV at 8 p.m. on a Sunday and hum “Appalachian Spring” while navigating your TV remote to either Paramount or CMT. (I’ve also heard it shows up on TV Land sometimes.) You could also DVR it, if you must.

You mean … you want to stream it?! You know that’s against tradition, don’t you?

Fine, you’re a TV weakling and Yellowstone no longer respects you, but if you must, you could use the cable log-in to watch Yellowstone “on demand,” which is a form of TV access that apparently still exists?

Alternatively, you could download the Paramount Network app or go to ParamountNetwork.com and use your cable log-in there, where you will find Yellowstone season four. I tried this and could not get the premiere to load more than four minutes of the episode even though I was watching at 9 a.m. on a Monday, but presumably this works for some people. Important note: It’s Paramount Network, not Paramount+. If you go to the Paramount Network website, it may trick you into thinking, Wait, aren’t these the same thing? It keeps telling me to sign up for Paramount+? It is lying to you. Yellowstone is not there. Evil is, though. Forget Yellowstone — go watch Evil!

Haha, sucker. Yellowstone is not for you cord-cutters, you newfangled internet types, you digital cowboys. Yellowstone is about how the hard ways are better! Masculinity is about toughness, and being resilient, and streaming services are for girls!

What I’m saying is, if you’ve gone soft and refused to pony up for the old-fashioned form of TV access that was good enough for your parents, you have very few options. You could do one of the cable options for people with commitment problems, like SlingTV, YouTube Live, or Fubo. (This might be a good deal, but it may also be worth considering why you’re not just going in for cable.)

Don’t have Peacock Premium?

You could watch seasons one, two, and three streaming on Peacock, but you’re going to get stuck at the big cliffhanger at the end of season three and then be very mad that Peacock doesn’t currently have season four. At that point, you could wait for season four to show up on Peacock (which it will, possibly a few weeks after it finishes its current weekly run on cable). Or, your simplest option is probably to pay for the season by itself. $20 on Prime or iTunes will get you all of season four, with each new episode available the day after broadcast.

Once you finally sort all of that out, you arrive at a deeper question. You can watch Yellowstone now — but why? Do you watch it because it’s almost exactly like Succession, but with more horses and less humor? Do you watch it for the admittedly beautiful landscapes, or because you’re simply stunned by the weird craggy thing Kevin Costner does with his voice? Maybe it’s the way Rip shoots a bear off a cliff. Maybe it’s because you heard season four of Yellowstone pulls a Cousin Oliver and you just can’t get enough of that trope! Or perhaps you enjoy the fact that, as my Vox colleague Emily VanDerWerff puts it, Yellowstone is a show about “how when you own a ranch, you have to kill many people.” Probably it’s just that when push comes to shove, you find the show appealing. I guess that’s why I’m still watching? It’s that, plus I enjoy shows where people spend a lot of time arguing in the vicinity of cows.

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