Yellowstone Finale Theory Attempts To Explain What Happened To John Dutton

Yellowstone Roarke Morris Josh Holloway John Dutton Kevin Costner Paramount Network
(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Warning: Spoilers for Yellowstone’s Season 3 finale are discussed below.

Yellowstone has left fans in utter disarray as they try to make sense of its stunning Season 3 finale, which more than lived up to the teases about it. Now, fans have a finale theory that could explain what happened to John Dutton, and it makes a ton of sense.

Season 3 ended by leaving fans to wonder if John Dutton himself had fallen prey to the same assassination attempts that also touched his daughter and son. In the finale's closing minutes, John pulled over to help a woman and her young son as they were stranded on the side of the road.

It was a scene that John had presciently described coming upon to his grandson when Yellowstone’s third season began. On Reddit’s discussion thread for the Season 3 finale, fans speculated that the California biker gang gunned down John. They cited the woman who lured John over having California tags as potential proof.

I have to admit this theory never occurred to me. Yellowstone fans will recall that the Duttons went up against a California biker gang earlier in the season. Members of the group clashed with those from the ranch. Rip and Lloyd ended up breaking it up, defeating the group. When the bikers came back for revenge, John, Kayce, and Rip were among those waiting for them.

John made the bikers dig their “graves” before deciding to show mercy after one member begged for it. Would they wait to take their revenge well after the fact with a bold roadside assassination? It seems entirely feasible to me. While I had thought the woman was working with whoever the assassin was, it did not occur to me that she was connected to the criminal gang.

Why would she knowingly bring her kid to someone’s murder? (Hopefully, that is “attempted murder” and John will be back alive and well in Season 4!) As for the mom, I doubt she thought she and her son were in any real danger carrying out the hit on John Dutton. Plus, if they are members of the biker gang, violence could be par for the course.

On that chilling train of Yellowstone thought, why would the biker gang knowingly let the kid come, kill his mom, and not him? If the mom was in on it, they clearly acted ruthlessly in taking out any potential witnesses. Why not entirely close ranks with the young boy? Or did they not know he was there?

It is something that seems to spill some cold water on the finale fan theory, although it is mostly sound. Yellowstone introduced the biker gang threat for a reason, and like John’s dream, it makes sense it came full circle in the shocking finale. I think it is safe to say that whoever tried to kill the Duttons is not an obvious or recently-thought-of suspect.

Enough time had elapsed between the finale and when the California biker gang was last shown for them to present as an unexpected culprit. I think the fan theory is pretty solid, and I look forward to Season 4 revealing if the fans are, in fact, right. Yellowstone is back up and running while taking coronavirus precautions into account.

Stay tuned to see if this fan theory becomes fact! While you wait for Yellowstone Season 4 to arrive and reveal who was behind the finale’s shocking assassination attempts, keep your eyes out for this fall’s premieres. Meanwhile, re-watch the first two seasons’ less-lethal season-enders on NBCUniversal’s new streamer, Peacock.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.