Yellowstone's Graveyard Scene In Episode 506 Raised Some Major Questions About Dutton Family

Spoilers below for anyone who isn’t yet caught up on Yellowstone Season 5, so be warned!

Rather unexpectedly, Yellowstone continued down the road to Season 5’s winter finale with a sixth episode full of somber beats, subdued characters, and a smattering of big laughs. The melancholy came largely from the ideal cowboy death of John’s longtime mentor Emmett Walsh, but it was another grave matter at the (unbeating) heart of the installment’s cemetery scene that left a larger impact. I know I’m not the only one with renewed questions about the ranch’s founding family tree, particularly when it comes to James and Margaret Dutton.

“Cigarettes, Whiskey, a Meadow and You” gave Piper Perabo’s Summer another big lesson in ranch life, as well as ranch death, as she stumbled upon the Dutton family’s makeshift graveyard. Only a handful of resting spots were highlighted, with weathering and age making things difficult to read, but considering they comprised both the oldest and newest inhabitants, I can’t help but think this scene is hinting at reveals yet to come within this universe. So let’s take a closer look at what may or may not have been shown.

James Dutton's tombstone in Yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Was Tim McGraw’s James Actually The First John Dutton?

The grave Summer first inquires about is clearly that of James Dutton, one of the main characters in 1883, whose 1893 death actually played out in Yellowstone Season 4, during a flashback in “No Kindness for the Coward.” Beyond the year matching, we also know it’s his because it’s next to those of wife Margaret and daughter Elsa, whose death is what sparked the family to settle down in Paradise Valley in the first place. But if all that is true, then why doesn’t that tombstone look like it ever had the name “JAMES” carved into it? 

To me, it very much looks as if that second letter is an “O” and not an “A,” which makes it then slightly easier to imagine an “H” and an “N” in the following spots. It’d be one thing if these markers featured lowercase letters that would account for the “A” being curved, but the “AGED” carving below proves that’s not the case. (Not to mention Margaret’s stone also showcasing the upper-case usage.)

What’s more, Taylor Sheridan’s writing also skews intentionally vague in a way that raises questions about whether or not the man we’ve known to be James Dutton is actually the first John. When Summer asks who the grave belongs to, Monica answers with: 

Don’t know. First one, I think.

For anyone not thinking too deeply about names and identities, the response is seemingly referring to the idea that James was the first within the family to settle on that land. But considering their conversation largely revolves around “John Dutton” as an entity, could just as easily have been implying he was the first in the family to don that name. 

I’m honestly not sure what the implications would be if 1883’s protagonist was the genuine John Dutton Sr., and what that would mean for James Badge Dale’s John in the upcoming prequel 1923. Perhaps it’s impossible to know at this point. Speaking of hard-to-ascertain details…

Margaret Dutton's tombstone in Yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Is Margaret Dutton Buried Somewhere Outside The Ranch?

As is the case with James’ tombstone, Margaret’s has obvious signs of weathering that make things harder to read. But in her case, it doesn’t seem as if there’s anything to read in a couple of key spots. Seen above, the marker looks to have nothing etched in for the year of death, while in another shot, the stone also appears to be untouched where it would note the age at which she died. 

So what does that mean? The simplest explanation I can think of is that at some point after her husband died in 1893, Margaret put the call out to her brother-in-law Jacob to come and live/work on the ranch, and then perhaps struck out on her own, unable to continue living in the same place where her daughter and husband were both killed by others. Granted, she didn’t seem like the kind of woman who would pull up her roots to escape an emotionally difficult situation, but it’s hard to put oneself into the shoes of anyone who’s gone through such particular tragedies. 

But for comparison’s sake, her marker looks less aged than those next to her, with the carvings appearing darker. It stands to reason that no one actually knows what became of her, or that she died under such circumstances that her body wasn’t able to be transported back to the ranch, and thus a gravestone was erected to memorialize the woman, just without any physical remains in the earth below. 

Truly, I may not have been so eager to question her stone in particular had it not been for that timely close-up that soon followed Monica saying to Summer:

If your goal is knowing John Dutton, then this is exactly where you should be.

Like the dialogue noted above, this line could be taken two different ways. At face value, it means Summer learning about the family is the best way to understand Kevin Costner’s patriarch. But if one takes a small step back, Monica could be referring to the broader idea of the legendized “John Dutton” identity. To fully know this bloodline of Johns, she must first familiarize yourself with the first woman who birthed one (that we know of, obviously).

At this point, I’m 100% wondering if Faith Hill’s Margaret Dutton will be featured once more in another prequel season that explores her life as a widow, with or without her children in her stead. After all, even though we know her sons John and Spencer will be part of 1923’s storyline, we don’t really know if they remained on the ranch for all the years from childhood to adulthood. 

Rip in stable on Yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Where Are All The Family’s Loyal Ranch Hands Buried?

We obviously know that the Duttons keep their nearest and dearest family members close to home after they’ve passed, but what about the many hands who have joined the bleedin’ bunkhouse invisible? (For everyone who’s been waiting on Monty Python references in a Yellowstone story, we made it!) But it seems like all the tombstones that have popped up on the show belong only to relations, leaving viewers to wonder what happens to all of the various ranch employees that have helped do the Duttons’ dirty work for the past 100+ years?

Like, I can get someone on the outer perimeter like Gator having a personal life away from the ranch, even if he’s spending sooo much time cooking for the Duttons and various guests. But what about guys like Lloyd, Rip, and Walker? The people who stayed on the ranch because they didn’t have families to fall back on, and who owe much of their lives to John and the brand? Is there perhaps a separate graveyard where all of the loyal hands are laid to rest?

We might have to wait for 1923’s debut to get the answers to one or more of these questions, or we might go to our own graves without gaining more insight into any of them. Only Taylor Sheridan knows for sure. 

Below, check out our recap of last week's installment.

6 Big Yellowstone Questions After Episode 505 And Beth's Latest Bloody Fight

Rip and John outside on the ranch in Yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Spoilers below for Yellowstone’s latest episode, “Watch ‘Em Ride Away,” so be warned if you haven’t yet watched the whole shebang.

Never a dull moment for the Dutton family, which is also to say never a dull dinner. Yellowstone gave viewers an impromptu throwdown that mirrored Season 4’s last man standing brawl between Lloyd and Walker. (Funnily enough, “a particular female’s sexual activities” were at the heart of both fights.) But wait, we’re already getting down to the brass tacks before I’ve even had a proper shot at setting anything up, which is pretty much what Beth did when she first clocked Summer’s naively unaware face. 

Here are the biggest questions I have after watching ‘em ride away in Episode 505, with the 606 teaser also guiding at least one of the inquiries below. So let’s lace up our gloves and step into the ring that is the Duttons’ front yard. 

1. Will Whooping Up On Summer Make Beth Slightly Less Violent?

Beth might think she’s in one of Taylor Sheridan’s prequels, where busting up other people’s faces is as much a way of life as living by the law, but that’s obviously not the case here. Where her main motivation should be to keep out of any trouble that could draw negative attention to John’s atypical maneuvers as Montana’s governor, her actual mission statement appears to be “Gotcha, bitch.” She couldn’t just let sleeping (with her father) dogs lie by giving Summer her space, not that Piper Perabo’s homebound activist made her face any less punchable by railing on Gator’s dinner spread.

Personally, I think acting out physically against others is the only way Beth is able to side-shift her eagerness to maul Jamie. Clawing his eyes out with her bare hands may indeed be the only authentic way for her to sate the bloodthirst within. But will having a second knockdown, drag-out fight at least be enough to curb those violent urges for at least a few weeks of John’s governorship? Maybe just one week?

2. How Will Beth And Rowdy’s Fling Play Out?

Jamie is only one source of Beth’s recent ire (even though he’s probably still tied to others), as she’s also been spending quite a bit of time in flashback mode while working out some mental knots tied to her past with Rip and Rowdy. But what are those knots tied around, exactly?

Given what we already know of Beth’s traumatizing teen years, is it possible that Yellowstone will give Rowdy a twist that’s anywhere near as shocking? Sure it’d be a powerful enough narrative conceit for Beth to continue looking back with regret to a time in which she allowed immature feelings to blot out a potential relationship with Rip. But that seems a bit one-note for the kind of storytelling that Taylor Sheridan has delivered so far, so I’m expecting a situation that makes it clear why we’ve never heard anyone speaking fondly of Rowdy in the previous four seasons. 

3. Should Fans Be Worried By How Much Rip Is Smiling These Days? 

For as much as Yellowstone’s flashbacks appear to be setting up some emotional catalysts for certain characters, you wouldn’t know it by looking at Rip’s face throughout Season 5 so far. As a married man, he’s just as smitten as the day is long, and even when things get testy with Beth, they’re almost instantly smoothed over seconds later. Because he now has more understanding than ever before of how to read between her lines and know what she truly wants, even if she’s outwardly stating the opposite. 

But since pride cometh before the fall and all that, I’m more than a little concerned that Rip’s sense of all-encompassing contentment is heading for an upheaval in one way or another. I’m pretty sure there’s a rule somewhere that says: “If Rip smiles three times before the rooster crows, start planning your goodbyes.” But does that mean he’ll take a mental plunge after Beth divulges her aforementioned traumas, or could it be something more devastating? Hopefully it just means Rip starts telling Dad jokes more often.

4. How Many Ways Will Everything Blow Up In Jamie’s Face? 

John continued to make it clear where he stands on Jamie’s place within the family by referring to him as the child he regrets, and not counting him amongst his sons. Which likely means Jamie will continue to walk along the edge with his latest lapse in professional judgment, she who calls herself Sarah Atwood. He seems to still think he has the upper hand (or upper thigh?) in this quasi-relationship, with Dawn Olivieri’s character wholeheartedly appealing to his sexual desires in place of his law-degree logic. 

So just how terribly will things go for him going forward, and how will he unintentionally give Sarah exactly what she wants to fuck John over? Hell, it might not be unintentional at all, given how betrayed he feels, but he’ll no doubt believe that it’ll all work out in his favor. And it won’t, because it can’t, because he’s Jamie. I expect the phrase “hitting rock bottom” to be replaced by “hitting Jamie Dutton” by the finale.

5. What’s Truly Going On Inside Clara’s Head?

If Lilli Kay wasn’t such a consistent presence on Yellowstone, it might be easy to lounge back without making assumptions about the character Clara. But no, there’s just a little too much going on behind her eyes to squash all suspicions outright. Anyone entering John Dutton’s inner circle needs around 15 rounds of vetting, but she came out of nowhere as far as viewers are concerned, and is working with John out of duty, as opposed to out of loyalty. Not that other Duttons haven’t proven themselves unworthy in such positions, but Clara is too close to everything to merely be an “assistant,” no?

Perhaps her interest in the ranch and John’s determination to hold onto it is merely a product of being within such a majestic space, or perhaps she’s got ulterior motives. The metaphorical smoking gun, as it were, would appear to be her last name, Brewer, which is the same surname as the woman whose head Beth bashed with a bottle. Could that seemingly random encounter have been purposefully set up for scandal-causing reasons?

6. How Will This Two-Night Sojourn Go Wrong? 

As seen in the preview for Episode 6 — and as hinted at by the general ominous vibe tied to virtually everyone leaving the ranch for two full days — something big and not-so-great is going to go down while John & Co. are out and about. But how serious a situation will it be?

It doesn’t seem like any major characters are destined for the ol’ train station in the sky, as the reactions in the preview didn’t seem quite that grave. Even if the trip itself doesn’t skew too harrowing for anyone, the return to the ranch may be where things go south, especially with John’s plans to go mega-public in showing the outside world how the Duttons live.

There are two episodes left to go before Yellowstone’s winter hiatus, which will pave the way for 1923’s debut on Paramount+, which will eventually lead back around to the second half of the flagship’s fifth season. While waiting for the next ep, keep scrolling down to read through my reactions for earlier episodes. 

Yellowstone: My Biggest Worries After Episode 504, Including That Beth And Jamie Reveal

John Dutton wearing sunglasses inside limo in Yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Yellowstone kicked off the fourth episode of Season 5 with Beth in jail, having spent a night (and then far too much of the rest of the day) wearing her bar fight attire from the memorable evening prior. Perhaps had she stayed in there a bit longer, and had enough time to adjust to a new way of thinking, the rest of the season wouldn’t be so worrisome. And that, fellow viewers, is the theme of this week’s rundown, as some extremely alarming moments played out in “Horses in Heaven,” while others tapped into different emotional zones, leaving behind various levels of worry for the Dutton family. (As well as questions about where Josh Lucas’ fan-rousing younger John Dutton was this week.)

Below are the five biggest concerns I’m bouncing between following Episode 504 (with a geotracker collar around my leg to fool Fish & Wildlife officers), starting with everyone’s favorite rabble-rouser. I’m more than a bit worried that…

1. Beth Won’t Ever Find Impulse Control

Considering “Horses in Heaven” ended on Beth shooting vodka and smoking a cigarette as the sun broke over the horizon, it wouldn’t be a logical leap to think that she hasn’t yet put into action the advice that John sternly gave her following her release: “Impulse control. Find some.” Knowing her as we do, she likely hasn’t put an entire thought into what life would be like without her brain synapses, mouth, and limbs moving as one. If she doesn’t say things and pummel people whenever and however she wants without fear of consequences, is it actually Beth Dutton? How would we know?

I’m not actually worried that this top-tier character would suffer by bringing the act of “considering” into her bag of tricks, and not only because Kelly Reilly is flawless in any capacity. Because we all know that when Beth puts the effort into her deeds, schemes, and exploits, she succeeds in ways that justify vodka at dawn (vaguely), but it’s when she follows her instincts against better judgment that she legitimately threatens herself and those around her. That can be a frustratingly hard behavior to curb, too, and Beth may be too far along in her bottle-bludgeoning ways to get ahead of them, which probably isn’t good for John or the ranch.

Speaking of Beth and bottles, I’m also pretty worried that…

2. Li’l Jamie Will Endure Tate-Level Trauma So Young

Up to this point, Jamie’s son with Christina — Li’l Jamie Dueces is what I’d like to call him — doesn’t seem to have had a rough life yet, despite unwittingly losing his grandfather in a similar way to his grandmother. But as we’ve learned with Tate on more than one or two occasions, Yellowstone isn’t above giving its younger characters a healthy dose of tragedies to harden their core Dutton-osity. So it’s coming.

I’m not worried that Beth would do anything violent, considering she’d be so willing to have a child herself if it was possible, but the fact that it’s not possible is obviously her fuel here. And I doubt that she’ll be considering that whatever vengeful acts she pulls off against Jamie directly will still emit a reverberating and impactful trauma. As amusing as it is to think about Jamie as a happy-go-lucky suburban dad, his feelings in this situation aren’t anywhere near as important as what happens with his son, who is easily the only innocent Dutton left. 

When it comes to not-so-innocent Duttons, I’m more than a little worried that…

3. John Will Sabotage His Governing Ideals Through Nepotism 

I can’t lie, I get as big of a vicarious kick as the next person out of watching Governor John Dutton trimming the executive fat from his office, proving Beth’s impulse control issues are wholly genetic. Yellowstone continues to represent a citizens-before-government attitude, and it would be bonkers if life imitated art in just such a way, at least when it comes to elements that are truly expendable. But a breaking point exists, and John is on his way to plowing right through it by filling his ranks with his inner circle. 

Not that he’d be the first politician to do such things, and we know that his reasoning for doing so is to surround himself with those who would protect the ranch. But not everyone’s skills can automatically vault to State Government level on a whim just because John brings them in, from Beth and her law-skirting maneuvers to Piper Perabo’s returning recruit Summer. (Seriously, Beth used Summer as prison-bound bait in Season 4, but I guess her environmental knowledge is just that good?) Why is John intentionally eschewing Lynelle’s spot-on advice at every turn only a week into office?

It’s been a wild week for everyone, which is part of why I’m worried that…

4. Kayce And Monica Will Become Mired In A Cycle Of Sadness

Most of Yellowstone’s characters experience narrative ebbs and flows, but Kayce and Monica are often tied up in dark and emotionally devastating stories. The bonds of their marriage have been stretched beyond their limits, only to reform again around the fissure. Their shared life will forever be influenced by their very separate bloodlines, even as Tate is imbued with both. Kayce was already set to take a step back professionally to avoid the strains his job caused, and then the death of their son only added to their combined heaviness, without a clear path back to “good times,” for lack of a better phrasing. 

I sincerely hope the funeral ceremony that Rainwater and Mo helped with, as well as the mournful conversations with John, help Kayce and Monica reach places of peace within themselves, with happiness soon to follow. Whether that means trying to get pregnant again, swearing off sex forever, or something in between, I just don’t want to see this couple haunted by their pasts forevermore. 

To end things on someone whose past we know nothing about, I harbor a healthy worry that…

5. “Sarah Atwood” Will Destroy The Duttons From Within 

Clearly, the woman we’ve come to know as Sarah Atwood isn’t above doing whatever it takes in any situation. She’s using a false name, for one, complete with a fake ID, which makes me question how much Market Equities even knows about her. And then she quickly pushed her dinner with Jamie to become a more carnal experience, leading to Beth’s purse-digging as Jamie huffed and puffed in the background. It’s probably only a matter of time before he becomes fully infatuated, which would easily allow Sarah to take over as a puppeteer for his legal wrangling talents. 

So just as Jamie talked Hailey into not pressing charges, thus getting Beth out of jail, he theoretically could just as easily find ways to put her and/or others into jail. Granted, that would require Sarah stopping Beth from using one of many weapons against her brother, from blackmail images to knowledge of his son to telling Rip the truth about her barren womb. But the Market Equities headhunter has already penetrated the family more quickly than Caroline Warner and others, so it’s logical to be concerned that her lack of familial ties in this situation gives her an advantage.

To circle back to what was just mentioned: am I worried about Rip finding out the role Jamie played in Beth’s abortion? Nah, that shit’s been coming for a long time, and I am so ready to start hollering at my TV when it happens, hopefully as Season 5 heads into its winter hiatus, giving way to Paramount+'s upcoming prequel 1923

Below is our look at Yellowstone's third episode, "Tall Drink of Water," comprising the worst character decisions made throughout. 

Yellowstone’s Worst Character Decisions From Episode 503, Including Beth’s Violent Night Out

Rip in stable on Yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

With Yellowstone now truly in the thick of Season 5 after a double-episode premiere week that crushed the competition in terms of viewership and 18-49 demo ratings — 15.7 million / 5.28 rating with Live + 3 stats — it stands to reason that Taylor Sheridan and the Dutton family could do just about anything and still remain the biggest thing on TV outside of a football stadium. “Tall Drink of Water” tested that specific hypothesis in certain ways, with several of the main characters making truly questionable choices that, appropriately enough, felt far more scripted for TV than authentic actions these people would be making. But that doesn’t mean it was boring or predictable. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest and wildest choices made by Yellowstone’s elite throughout Episode 503, and how they could affect things quite negatively moving forward. 

Beth Smashing A Bottle Over A Woman’s Head

No reason to start with anything else here, since Beth’s drunken and petty attack, along with its aftermath, capped off the episode. On the one (bruised and beer-dampened) hand, it was as clear as the day is long that Beth wasn’t going to let any other woman get away with anything so iniquitous as “smiling while talking to Rip.” When Beth’s in a good mood, she likes to fuck and fight, and the Bozeman bar was just a little too populated for the former. So I guess she put all of that energy into the motivation to brawl, even though she should have known that using any kind of weapon in the process would lead to bigger repercussions. 

And in that respect, I can’t tell if I truly buy into Beth’s “15 feet tall and bulletproof” attitude dulling her comprehension that breaking the law in public actively goes against the instincts of any governor’s chief of staff. Sure, I’ve mentally called bullshit on Beth’s conversational bravado in the past, but usually while inferring that she’s equally self-aware about it. So did she really think she could get away with drunkenly assaulting someone in front of dozens of witnesses, or was this whole confrontation more of a convenient and easy way for Sheridan to sabotage the whiskey-adoring Dutton?

Additionally, I would have said the sheriff’s decision to send Beth to jail was a dumb move, given whatever Dutton-originated firestorm is coming his way, but it was literally the only move he could have made with all those people around, particularly the woman threatening to press charges on Beth. So he gets a free pass in this case, but just this one. 

Drunk Woman Hitting On Rip

While I’m not one to blame victims in situations of malice, violence and peril — though I’m perfectly fine with people failing at life in a viral video sense — Ashley Platz’s Hailey Brewer isn’t getting out of this one without some sympathetic tsk-tsk-tsking. By all means, all the power to her for taking the initiative to start a conversation with Rip, as he’s the epitome of a cowboy bar catch. But Strike One for openly saying she was married, Strike Two for not immediately walking away after Rip expressed no interest, and Strike Three Through Thirty for brazenly approaching the woman whose husband she was just hitting on. 

I have to think at least some of the alcohol served at this establishment is being spiked with stupid juice (as freshly squeezed from the stupid fruit), because what in God’s name did Ms. Brewer think was going to happen next? I’m not saying she should have expected to get clocked by a bottle, but I just literally can’t conceive what led her to think the outcome would be positive enough to justify making the trip across the dancefloor. Maybe she impossibly heard Beth mention threesomes to John earlier in the episode, and thought she could be their third. Whatever it was, she’s probably not thinking much straighter now, and while it may be an ill-advised move to press charges against any Duttons without a monolithic corporation behind her, it’s still the only logical one. If only she’d embraced logic earlier.

Rip Telling Beth No

During her trip to Salt Lake City, Beth seemingly landed a checkmate against Market Equities by selling off Schwartz & Meyer shares and locking down a conservation easement for the land, so she was feeling as frisky as ever upon returning to the ranch. And there’s no denying that her pleasure waves of success through such brilliant badassery went fully tidal by the time aggravated assaults entered the picture. 

But let’s not pretend here; Rip totally sparked a wholly separate fuse within Beth when he denied her night-out intentions in front of the whole bunkhouse, giving her that much more reason to get white girl wasted. The moment of strife didn’t have lengthy consequences within their relationship, thankfully, but I can easily see a scenario where Rip calmly talked to her without anyone else around and convinced her to stick around the ranch that night. 

Kayce Turning In His Badge

Obviously I’m not going to sit here and act like Kayce’s motivation to save his marriage wasn’t an honorable enough reason to decide to step away from his leadership position as the Livestock Commissioner. He and Monica are definitely going through an emotionally harrowing time, and he believes that changes need to be made in order for them to come out intact on the other side. But who’s to say he’s actually making the right choices here?

I feel like maybe Kayce is at a point where he’s perhaps unfairly basing his life entirely on his Season 4 vision quest, and is making impulse interpretations based on what’s happening in the moment, as opposed to more of a big picture approach. Not to take away from the importance of his beliefs and the act in general, but I have to believe that the negative effect Kayce stepping down will have on John’s early run as Governor will be more substantial than the positive effect it’ll have on his home life. If Kayce thinks that working for Rainwater will somehow be way less complicated than what he was doing before, he’s likely in for a rude awakening. 

Rip Antagonizing The Fish & Wildlife Officers

To be expected, Rip wasn’t pleased to see Fish & Wildlife showing up on the ranch so soon after Ryan and Colby illegally killed those collared wolves. Also expectedly, Rip wasn’t exactly a gentleman during that exchange. But even as a protected white dude on the protected land of a more important white dude, he should know as much as anyone not to poke authoritative bears when they’re suspicious and have reasonable doubt on their side. 

Along with heightening the threat of danger that comes with traversing the vast land by their lonesome, Rip may have also just been trying to get the officers defensive and less observant with his aggressive attitude. And he was possibly thinking about how he’d be able to further skew locational evidence before F&W would be able to get there by helicopter. But then Beth went and got herself arrested for clocking a bitch, so now Rip’s curtness may come back to wolf-bite him in the ass. Not that he won’t bite back harder. 

Jamie Confidently Accepting Dinner With Sarah Atwood

Anytime Jamie Dutton thinks he’s the most important mover and shaker in the room, Yellowstone fans know he’s probably wrong, but it’s at least a change of pace from the defeated servant vibe he has anytime Beth is around. So it’s hard to rail on him too hard for feeling like a big boy after feeling as if he’d schooled Market Equities’ Ellis, and then receiving measured compliments from Sarah Atwood. He’s not entirely used to things rolling his way for more than a second or two at a time.

Of course, his inflated sense of victory and/or pride was falsely earned, as Sarah and Ellis were of course playing him right from the start. So whatever power Jamie thinks he has going into any future conversations with Sarah has a foundation of “nothing sprinkled with imagination,” which does not bode well for John, Beth and the ranch. And since Market Equities is now at its most desperate point of this fight, Jamie will have to wisen up immediately to make it out of this without two cockstrong and powerful women wanting to bury him alive. 

I can’t tell just yet whether or not Rainwater made terrible choices by not shutting up that protester and not standing up to Angela Blue Thunder when she threatened him. But in an episode where the protagonists made rash actions that may not have been so smart, I can’t knock the guy for thinking before leaping. There’s still time for that, though.

Yellowstone's Most Important Takeaways From Season 5's Double-Ep Premiere, Including That Tragic Death

John, Beth, and Jamie at governor's party on Yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Outside Of His Ranch, Governor John Dutton DGAF

Even though John expressly mentioned to his new driver not to divulge details of his candid conversations with the kiddos, his early days as Montana’s new governor haven’t exactly kept his truest motives hidden, even if he’s fooling some into thinking he cares about the state or its citizens as much as he cares about Paradise Valley. Which, by all means, is probably what everyone watching at home expected him to do, all while presumably razzing Jamie and Lynelle for trying to convince John to make less tumultuous directions. But how long can that line of thinking last?

Considering each move he’s making is just widening the target on his back, and lengthening the list of people who are aiming at it, one would imagine he’ll have to quickly reach a point where he understands that breaking all the rules will make it harder to enforce the ones that are keeping his land safe. Jamie and Lynelle need to present things as such, rather than acting like anything else matters to him.

Beth and Rip sitting in the grass during party on Yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Beth And Rip's Shared And Separate Pasts Are Haunting Them

Now a happily married woman who is more than pleased to present herself as such, Beth remains conflicted over her past with Rip. The premiere offered a flashback to their barely-a-date that immediately went sideways, which scratched at her surviving regrets over not getting serious with him all those years ago. And all such memories undoubtedly pull at the dangling thread of her abortion and unconsenting sterilization, which remains a buried landmine in their relationship; one whose triggering could bring Jamie’s life to a brutal end, depending on how Rip would take such news. 

Rip is clearly a moment-to-moment kind of person, living entirely within his present set of duties, especially while he’s top-dogging it in John’s Governor-related absence. So he likely doesn’t feel the same “what if?” pangs that Beth does, but the dying cattle plotline combined with heightened pressures to send Rip’s subconscious into the past as well, though for a more disturbing reason. It appears as if Rip and Kai Caster’s new character Rowdy were tasked by John with giving a contractor, Elijah Mahar’s Dick Weller, a taste of his own medicine (poison) to stop the chemicals from being used near his land. While the builder was only horribly injured and not dead by the episode’s end, I can’t help but think Rip and Rowdy’s reign of terror defending John’s land gets far worse.

Monica pregnant on Yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

The Death Of John Dutton IV, Monica's (And Kayce's) Baby

Considering viewers last saw Kayce and Monica seemingly on the skids when Season 4 ended, it was quite the baffling reveal to see her expecting to the point of bursting at the abdominal seams. But any attempts to feel joy about such miracles were clearly destined for doom as soon as Monica confidently declared she would drive herself to the hospital. To the episode’s credit, I suppose, Sheridan & Co. telegraphed these scenes to set off massive alarm bells within viewers and buffer the shock of the tragedy to come. Still, it was gut-wrenching to witness the car wreck that not only left Monica and Tate bruised and bloodied, but also led to the loss of their son, whose time on the planet maxed out at a single hour. 

All the more bawl-worthy was learning what they’d named the boy, as it presumably makes him the fourth-generation John, cementing that part of the family legacy not-so-coincidentally around the point when Paramount Network aired the first teaser for 1923, the upcoming prequel with Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren.

One has to wonder why there wasn’t more of a press-capade over the new governor losing a grandson in an incident that also left his daughter-in-law and grandson hurt, not to mention the other driver. Perhaps more attention will be put on the tragedy when they bury him on the ranch, assuming John is as cool with it as Kayce assumes. Since the idea of Tate wanting them to have another baby was mentioned just as many times as Kayce seeing the end of their relationship during his vision quest, it makes me more than wary about any attempts they make to get pregnant anew. 

Sarah Atwood in Yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Market Equities Has Its Own Version Of Beth Dutton

Just to get it straight right from the start: there is only ONE Beth Dutton, and there will only ever be one Beth Dutton. But in the way that there will always be LEGO-esque building blocks standing alongside the monolith, it stands to reason there are other people in the world who share similar outlooks and playbooks with Kelly Reilly’s stinger-covered queen bee. And one such person would be Market Equities’ latest weapon, Dawn Olivieri’s Sarah Atwood. 

Jacki Weaver’s Caroline Warner speaks of Sarah as if she herself is the code to the nuclear football, which makes a certain amount of sense if she wields similar “fuck the world” energy to that which Beth emanates at solar levels. Wisely, her introduction is more low-key, where she shows off her me-first confidence and wiles without being outwardly vile or villainous. She has to rise up from somewhere, after all, if she’s going to one day ram heads with the Duttons’ fiercest warrior. No one just walks up off the street and takes Beth on. You have to get insanely pissed off at her first. 

Jamie behind campaign podium on Yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Jamie Appears Ready To Break, Regardless Of Consequences

Wes Bentley’s Jamie was allowed just a couple of all-too-brief moments to feel anything resembling positivity or victory, including being allowed to introduce John as the new governor, and when John rebuked Beth’s refusal to make her brother a glass of whiskey. Otherwise, the dude is abundantly aware of every inch within the doghouse he currently resides in, and it’s only a matter of time before she brings an actual dog collar and leash to use on him. She’s really digging into her diet-psychotic need for enemies there, and doing shit like making Jamie call her “ma’am” is either going to lead to uncomfortable sexual chemistry or it’s going to make him recoil to the point of getting vengeful.

Not that such conjecture is taking a shot in the dark, as everyone at Market Equities is on the same page in thinking, “Why did we go after the most hardcore Dutton when the forgotten son is right there with all those knives in his weak little back?” (I find it hard to believe Beth wouldn’t have just arbitrarily badmouthed the bejesus out of Jamie at high volume the entire time she worked there.) But will Sarah have what it takes to convincingly turn Jamie against the fam, given all the evidential fuel that Beth has on him? I doubt it, but I sorta hope it happens, and that we get a cage fight by the end of Season 5.

Ryan swinging lasso in Yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Ryan And Colby Killed Some Very Important Wolves

No deaths during the second episode of the night could have stacked up emotionally to the devastating loss that Kayce and Monica went through, but it stands to reason that the calves and wolves that were killed could have more far-reaching ramifications on the whole. By unwittingly shooting and killing some collared and park-preserved wolves, Ryan and Colby have presumably welcomed a shitstorm that will only further complicate John's attempts to make sure everything goes his way as governor. Once authorities with a Dutton-hating stick up their rear start looking into things happening at the Y, is there ever a point when they'd stop looking? 

But even beyond the threat of jailtime and more for Ryan and Colby for doing the wolf-killing, Yellowstone appears to be setting up more of a layered story here. For one, Ryan noted that wolves weren't responsible for killing anything, only for Rip to sweep those suspicions under some horse manure. And since that situation is what made Rip recall the whole poison-related revenge sitch, it's likely whatever or whoever else is responsible for the calves' deaths won't be long for this world after Cole Hauser's badass finds out about them. 

New episodes of Yellowstone are set to air each Sunday night on Paramount Network. Rewatch previous episodes with a Peacock subscription, and head to our 2022 TV schedule (or our 2023 premiere rundown) to see what other new and returning shows are hitting the small screen soon.

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.