Yellowstone: Why Beth Dutton Is One Of Best Characters On TV Right Now

beth dutton incredulous on yellowstone
(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Given the astronomical number of TV shows that currently exist across broadcast, cable and streaming, the list of primetime badasses is in no danger of ever drying up. So, it usually takes quite a bit for someone to stand out in the crowd, but that’s exactly what Kelly Reilly does as Yellowstone’s Beth Dutton. To the point where I can say with a Beth-level amount of confidence that the lone Dutton sister is one of the best characters on TV right now. (Even if my confidence in her survival wavered after that explosive Season 3 finale.)

While Yellowstone definitely isn’t lacking in awesome characters — from Kevin Costner’s stoic patriarch John, to Jen Landon’s shit-kicking Teeter, to Cole Hauser’s loyalist Rip — Beth is the volcanic queen in an ocean of testosterone, and Kelly Reilly oozes molten lava in every scene. Now grab at least two bottles of wine, but leave the glasses in the kitchen, and join me in celebrating the hardcore majesty that is Beth Dutton.

john and beth dutton standing in law office on yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Beth Dutton Doesn’t Put Up With Anyone’s Shit Or Sunshine 

More so than any other Yellowstone character, Beth has a very limited window of tolerance for other people. Most of her family slots into that window for temporary stints, though we all know Jamie most certainly does not. In fact, there’s a sign right outside that window of tolerance that says “Stay The Fuck Out, Jamie. Yes, That Means You, Jamie, You Dumb Shit.” And the very existence of that sign is further proof that Beth is awesome. 

And, it’s not as if Beth is just shitting on the Dutton family’s enemies, even though it’s indeed most fun to watch her verbally burn the show’s most deserving antagonists. A complete stranger could tell Beth to have a great day, and depending on where she’s at on the tolerance scale, she could very well tell that stranger to shove those kind wishes some place dark and cramped. Sure, that kind of person is generally a monster in real life, but Kelly Reilly outclasses anything that could be deemed monstrous. 

beth dutton angrily talking to jamie on yellowstone

(Image credit: Peacock)

Every Other Beth Dutton Line Is Pure Fierceness 

When Beth Dutton tells you, “I’m chopping your family tree down,” you feel it in your bones, and no one would criticize you for running off to call and warn your family. Because she delivers such lines with as much swagger as Montana (fictional or otherwise) can handle. When she tells you that you sound smarter than you look, it hurts, but it’s convincing enough that you might as well just thank her for being so honest with you. 

Yellowstone basically guarantees that if Beth says something fairly normal and generic in one breath, her next breath is going to be scorching flames. Or, in the case of someone she’s fond of, it’ll be raw and unbridled passion. However it goes, Beth’s dialogue is top-notch in a way that sounds completely natural coming out of her mouth, without any pretension or pompousness attached. 

Beth dutton bruised in office on yellowstone season 3

(Image credit: Peacock)

Beth Dutton Takes A Licking And Keeps On Ticking 

One of the most refreshing things about Yellowstone is that the creative team doesn’t treat the drama’s main characters as if they’re invincible or invulnerable. The Duttons are, for better or worse, just normal people trying to hold on to what’s theirs. They just happen to do it with brutal swiftness, and without much regard for others’ wishes, which leads trouble right up to their doorstep, both literally and figuratively. But, if anybody thinks they can keep Beth Dutton down for the count, they can sit on the sharpest fencepost.

One only has to look at Beth living her life knowing that she couldn’t conceive children, thanks to teen Jamie’s terrible decision. But arguably the biggest example of Beth’s strength and determination came in the episode “Resurrection Day,” when she was attacked by the Beck brothers’ henchmen and refused to be a helpless victim, even in the face of rape threats. While she was obviously affected by the brutal incident, Beth didn’t let many others in on that fact, and she emerged from it as vengeful and dedicated as ever. Granted, the bombing at the end of Season 3 may well indeed have caused potentially fatal damage, but I would expect Beth to survive anything less than someone shooting her into the vacuum of space. 

rip and beth hugging on yellowstone season 3

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Because Beth & Rip 4Ever 

Fairy tale romances are nothing new on TV, and some shows are built entirely around them. Yellowstone is clearly not that kind of show, as just about none of its central relationships hold a candle to anything Disney-fied. But that’s precisely what makes Beth and Rip’s relationship so fantastic and enjoyably frustrating, as well as what makes the relationship such a big factor in Beth’s character on the whole. She’s so hardcore, she even has trouble accepting the fact that she is deserving of happiness, so whenever she is able to embrace any form of enjoyment, it’s that much more of a victory. 

Plus, the fact that Rip is just as emotionally grizzled and walled-up as Beth is makes their evolution from youthful sweethearts to adult lovers all the more fun to root for. These are characters who would likely self-sabotage any other relationship they’d be in, but because they’re cut from very similar cloths, fans don’t have to watch either go through annoying romance cycles that are destined to be destroyed. Even though I’m giving Rip the benefit of being included in this entry, I think we can all agree that Beth has been the one holding the reins, and will hopefully continue to do so in Season 4 and beyond.

beth dutton nude in ranch trough on yellowstone

(Image credit: Peacock)

Beth’s DGAF Trough Bath 

Yeah, I know this sequence happened all the way back in Season 1’s third episode, but it remains a calling card for just how imbued Beth’s DGAF attitude is within her core. With wine bottles at the ready, a frazzled Beth stripped to her birthday suit in the daytime sunlight, amidst anyone who happened to be working on the ranch at the time (including an equally frazzled Jamie), and offered no apologies, warnings or explanations. 

As easy as it would be to view this scene as purely titillating, that would be unfairly ignoring the way that Beth 100% owned that public nudity as much as she owns just about every other moment in her life. Could she have gotten her point across in the scene in a way that didn’t involve soaking in a trough? Certainly, but it wouldn’t have made nearly as big of an impact on audiences in proving that Beth is the most intriguing and watchable character on Yellowstone, as well as just about everything else on TV.

Yellowstone Season 4 will hopefully reveal just how safe and still badass Beth Dutton is when it premieres on Paramount Network on Sunday, November 7, though anyone who needs a refresher can watch all three seasons streaming on Peacock. Fans will get to see Beth’s ancestors when the prequel spinoff 1883 hits Paramount+ just before 2022 arrives, as its first episode will debut on Sunday, December 26.  

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.