‘JL Family Ranch’ vs ‘Yellowstone’: Which Is Better & Which Came First?

JL Ranch vs Yellowstone

Crown Media/Paramount JL Ranch and Yellowstone have a lot of similarities.

If you’re a Hallmark and Yellowstone fan and are wondering if JL Family Ranch was inspired by Yellowstone because of some of the similarities, the answer is that it wasn’t. The first JL Family Ranch movie actually came out before the Yellowstone series premiered its first season. Which do you like more? Be sure and take our poll at the end of this story.

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‘JL Family Ranch’ Premiered in 2016, Two Years Before ‘Yellowstone’

Despite some of the outward similarities in themes, JL Family Ranch  (sometimes just called JL Ranch) premiered in August 2016, about two years before season 1 of Yellowstone premiered on Paramount in June 2018. If anything, perhaps the Dallas series was more of an inspiration for both, or even the quickly-ended series Blood and Oil. Blood and Oil premiered in September 2015 and was likely an attempt to pick up the Dallas fanbase. But that honor later went to Yellowstone.

Of course, Yellowstone is a much darker and grittier series than any Hallmark movie. So the two fan bases won’t always overlap. But there are some interesting basic similarities between the movies and the series.

Jon Voight stars as John, the patriarch of the family. On Yellowstone, Kevin Costner stars as John Dutton, who is also the patriarch of the family trying to save their ranch. The premise for the first JL Ranch movie is: “A veteran rancher and former Sheriff is forced to face some federal bureaucracy when an old enemy-cum-millionaire alleges he doesn’t actually own his beloved family ranch in a small Texas town.” This is very similar to the Yellowstone premise of people always trying to take away the Dutton family ranch. But we could also say it’s similar to the basic Dallas storyline too.

John Landsburg in the JL Ranch movie has two daughters and a granddaughter who figure largely in the film, versus Yellowstone where the John patriarch has one spitfire daughter and two sons.

The description of JL Family Ranch shared by Oldham Era in 2016 sounds a lot like Yellowstone: “According to Hallmark’s website, J.L. is an old-fashioned, conservative cowboy who owns a large ranch in a small Texas town and is the patriarch of a sizeable family that all take shelter under his roof. He has to battle outside forces of the modern world that are rapidly creeping into his expanding town in order to maintain possession of his treasured ranch and to keep his family together.”

But once again, both Yellowstone and JL Family Ranch have similar themes to the very popular Dallas series, which was perhaps an inspiration for both. While JL Family Ranch was filmed in Kentucky, Yellowstone was filmed in Montana and Utah.

There were some rumors that JL Family Ranch was originally a movie that could have been turned into a series. But James Caan, one of the stars, told New York Post in 2016 that he had no interest in starring in a TV series anymore. He was 76 at the time and said “Never, under no conditions” to the idea of filming a TV series. He said he believed JL Family Ranch had artistic merit and the movie was originally pitched as a possible big-screen movie that would air in movie theaters. It ultimately aired on Hallmark.


Which Is Better?

Here’s a Twitter poll you can take to share your feelings about Yellowstone vs JL Ranch. Which do you think is better? You’ll need to vote in the poll to see the results.

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