Fans of Yellowstone, and the prequel shows 1883 and 1923 that make up the larger Yellowstone Cinematic Universe (YCU), often grasp for familiar points of reference, trying to explain the phenomenon to friends and family who have yet to take the plunge.
It’s like Succession meets the Sopranos … but with cowboys. It’s a love letter to ranchers and to a dying way of life. It’s a show about land, with the American West as its central character. It’s a series about masculinity, the forms it takes and the hazards it creates.
Each of these comparisons gets at some essential aspect of the YCU but I think they all ignore a central truth. At its core, Yellowstone (and 1883 and 1923) is a show about glorious mustaches and the men who wear them. Spanning more than 140 years, the shows capture the evolution of the American mustache, its diversity of forms and the way this signature facial hair can tell a story all on its own.
With the second half of season 5 of Yellowstone coming soon, a second season of 1923 looming and the new spin-off, 6666, on the way, this is the perfect time to take stock of the role of the mustache in the YCU. Below, you’ll find the 10 best mustaches from Yellowstone, 1883 and 1923, ranked with the significance of each fully unfurled. So grab your wax and tiny combs and start growing out your YCU mustache knowledge.