How Yellowstone's Summer Has An Advantage Over 'Real Problem' Beth Dutton, According To Piper Perabo

Spoilers below for anyone who hasn’t yet watched the latest episode of Yellowstone, so be warned!

It’s a commonly known storytelling/theatre principle that a gun shown in the first act is very likely going to come up again later in a big way. So when Yellowstone introduced a flirtatious connection between Piper Perabo’s protestor Summer and Kevin Costner’s protestor-adverse John Dutton, fans just knew it was going to draw the volcanic ire of John’s most protective offspring. And as it was shown in Episode 406, Summer and Beth’s first confrontation was every bit as animalistic and near-bloody as expecting. Not to mention serving as Chekov-esque foreshadowing to the actual stabbing that happened later in the bunkhouse that set up Lloyd and Walker’s exhausting brawl.

When CinemaBlend spoke with Piper Perabo about Summer causing some havoc within Yellowstone’s central family dynamic, I asked if her character’s relationship with John was a lasting one. While she agreed, the actress also talked about Beth being a hindrance in that respect, as well as Summer having an unwitting advantage due to her quasi-rival’s current professional situation. In her words:

I think so. I mean, Summer is certainly like the unexpected fox in the henhouse. But the real problem is Beth. You know, Beth and John have this awesome relationship, and they're both kind of heroes and villains, and they understand each other so well. And I don't think Beth is going to let anyone try to weasel in on that space. But what I like about what Taylor wrote in this season, also, is that Jacki Weaver and Summer Higgins both these two powerful women sort of come to town at the same time. So Beth is kind of dealing with things on multiple fronts, and it's going to make it more difficult.

I can’t imagine Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan is going to eventually pit Summer and Beth in a duel with only knives and plastic milk jugs as weapons, as fun as that would be. But I can definitely see Beth’s liquored-up fires not being quite as strong and impactful when they’re split up between multiple targets. 

Even though Jacki Weaver’s Caroline Warner is currently Beth’s ally, that partnership was specifically founded so that the vengeful Dutton could shitcan Bob Schwartz. Now that those plans came to fruition, I can’t imagine she’ll have many more reasons to cozy up with Caroline, and I also cannot foresee the Market Equities head honcho forgivingly allowing Beth to bounce without putting John’s land at risk in some way. And that’s not even considering what could happen with Jamie, who has a Beth-shaped albatross swinging around his neck like a tetherball as he comes to terms with his biological father trying to kill the only family he really knows, including the only member who still truly accepts him.

So by all means, Summer could come out of this relatively unscathed, assuming she plays her cards very methodically, and presuming she hides in John’s bathroom and doesn’t come out until Beth is totally weakened. When I asked Piper Perabo about acting opposite such a powerful force as Kelly Reilly’s Beth, she offered a bit of strategical guidance, saying:

Yeah, I mean, Beth is a very difficult adversary. And I was fortunate to have seen all three seasons of Yellowstone before. I was a fan of Yellowstone before I got the part. So I kind of know how challenging it is to go up against Beth. So I think you'd have to go like very slow and very careful.

Summer doesn't seem to (at least at this point) have anyantagonistic reasons to go after Beth, beyond petty jealousy-based issues surrounding John. But still, the best way for her to stay off of Beth's shit list is by staying off of Beth's radar completely, slowly and carefully.

Yellowstone airs Sunday nights on Paramount Network at 8:00 p.m. ET, so be sure to keep watching the back half of Season 4 to see how things shake out between Summer and Beth. And keep our 2022 TV premiere schedule bookmarked to see when all the new and returning shows will debut in the new year, without worry that Beth will hold them at bay with a knife.  

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.