“Wished I Had Done This 15 Years Ago”: ‘Yellowstone’ Creator Taylor Sheridan Failed In Hollywood For 20 Years Before One Moment Of Epiphany Changed His Life Forever


Have you ever witnessed a phoenix rising from the ashes? Taylor Sheridan’s story is much akin to this awe-inspiring phenomenon. From his humble beginnings as a model and an actor who graced the sets of Veronica Mars and Sons of Anarchy, Sheridan’s path wasn’t often lined with red carpets. For over twenty years, he rode through the barren deserts of the entertainment industry, barely a blip on Tinseltown’s radar.

Yet, his steadfast resolution bore fruit, and in a stunning turn of fate, he seized his defining role not in front of the camera but behind the pen. The creation of Yellowstone not only reinvigorated a genre but also rewrote Sheridan’s stars, enshrining him as a visionary in the canon of contemporary Western drama.

Mayor of Kingston, however, was his epiphany, which Sheridan described to CBS News as penning a script in a single day that illuminated a path he wished he had taken a decade & a half earlier.

The Moment Everything Changed: Taylor Sheridan’s Career Revolution

Like a lone cowboy riding a horse into the sunset, Taylor Sheridan traveled through the harsh terrains of Hollywood for 20 long years, facing rejection after rejection. But instead of letting these disappointments dry up his spirit, he kept pushing forward, refusing to let his dream fade away like a mirage in the distance.

His journey from a struggling actor to acclaimed writer and showrunner serves as an indicator that sometimes, our true calling may be waiting for us just around the next bend in the trail. What, though, kept him going in the acting industry? Sheridan, 54, told CBS News in 2022:

I think stubbornness, a refusal to fail. An interesting thing about Hollywood is, if you let it, if you listen, it will tell you exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. I have never seen anyone bang their head against the wall for 20 years and then make it. I’ve never seen that. I’ve seen it take eight years; I’ve seen it take ten years. But I’ve never seen it take 20.

Sheridan’s epiphany moment, when he decided to try his hand at writing for the Mayor of Kingston, was like a bolt of lightning cutting through the dark night sky. Suddenly, he found himself on a new path, one that would lead him to create some of the most compelling and unforgettable stories of all time. He recalled:


I sat down and I wrote the first episode in about ten hours. And when I was done, I said, ‘Man, I wished I had done this 15 years ago!’

His writing picked up a furious pace after that. He wrote screenplays for films such as Sicario, Wind River, and the Oscar-nominated neo-Western crime drama film Hell or High Water. And needless to mention, his highly acclaimed series, Yellowstone.

Thus, his dedication to his work, coupled with his refusal to accept failure as the end of the road, is a lesson for us all.

Meet the Star Who Navigated Success with Taylor Sheridan’s Mentorship

Hugh Dillon expanded his relationship with Taylor Sheridan by working with him as a writer and creator in the thriller series Mayor of Kingstown, following his role as Sheriff Donnie Baskell in Yellowstone.

The compelling results are evident in the Mayor of Kingstown’s enthralling narrative and complex characters, something Dillon spoke about in depth during an engaging interview with Screen Rant. As the series returned for its third season in June 2024, Dillon openly praised Sheridan and reflected on how this partnership has fueled his evolution as an actor & writer:

He’s always been my teacher; he was my coach before he was the Taylor Sheridan of the Taylorverse, and this was the first show he ever wrote. I went over to his house with a printer and said, ‘You can find the character and find the motivation. You can build the world and all of it. You can write this’.

Dillon also remembered how the 1883 creator would always tell him to pursue his aspirations of being a writer, which ultimately resulted in him picking up a pen. Additionally, he discussed how their collaboration evolved naturally and led to a great working relationship with Sheridan.

The second half of Yellowstone’s fifth season will be released on November 10, 2024.