James Dillard "J.D." Dutton is an 1883 and Yellowstone character, played by Tim McGraw. He is a homesteader aiming to make a living in Montana with his wife Margaret after leaving a life of poverty behind to look for a better future.
Beware of 'spoilers' from here on down!
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James and his wife Margaret were farmers in Tennessee. When they set off for their journey northward they had two children: Elsa and John. John is the father John Dutton Sr., who went on to become the father of John Dutton, making James the great grandfather. The latter runs the ranch in the early twenty-first century.
James had a sister, Claire, and a niece, Mary Abel, Claire's daughter. Both of them were about to take the journey norhtward with James and his family but Mary Abel was killed by rebelling men that visited their camp and Claire killed herself after the incident.  Her husband, Henry, had recently died as well. 
It is speculated that after they left their Tennessee home behind James and Margaret had another son, named Spencer. This has not been confirmed.
Confederate States Army
James was an captain in the Confederate States Army during the Civil War. He took part in the Battle of Antietam and was afterwards held in a Union prisoner-of-war camp for three years. Later in life he suffered from a bad case of PTSD and never spoke of his experiences during the war.
Check out the table(s) below to find out in which episodes James Dutton made an appearance.
- O = appeared in this episode
- - = did not appear in this episode