Spoilers below for the latest episode of Yellowstone, so be warned!
As all kinds of story-twisting events played out in Yellowstone Episode 407, I know I’m not the only one who wondered how Lloyd and Walker were up and about instead of being bed-bound until all wounds were healed. But such is life on the ranch, and I’m sure Rip would have just added to those wounds if either one of them made a move to avoid work. In any case, we’re not here to talk (only) about course-reversing rivalries. We’re here to celebrate Yellowstone’s endlessly engaging dialogue!
Somehow, the ep “Keep the Wolves Close” managed to deliver more Best Line entries than any of the previous entries, and that’s not even including the lines that barely missed the cut, including Monica telling Tate “You’re done now,” after he used the phrase “sucks pickled ass.” The way Tate laughed, you’d think he totally forgot about being traumatized for killing a dude. But now let’s jump into those that did make the list.
1. “The kind of man who uses flowers to say I’m sorry because he doesn’t have the balls to say it himself. I don’t want those fucking things.”
Even though his “poor little me” exchange with Beth put Carter somewhat back in her good graces, it almost went completely south right out the gate, thanks to Beth’s keen awareness of flowers being a shorthand way for good ol’ boys to get back in a woman’s good graces without making any big conscious efforts. Sure, Carter might get a point or two for taking the time to pick the flowers, as opposed to just spending money on them, the real point he should come away with is another tough-love life lesson that Beth provided. Just keep saying you’re sorry until your tongue falls out of your head.
2. “I just jacked off a horse.”
A line so nice that Jefferson White’s gobsmacked Jimmy said it twice. Which was probably a nice confirmation for all the viewers at home wondering, “Did he just jack off a horse?” Because yeah, he fuckin’ did.
3. “Jamie’s endured 40 long years learning how not to father, how not to lead.”
Now, if there anyone on this show who hasn’t exactly earned the right to judge other fathers, it’s Jamie’s biological pops Garrett, who famously wasn’t around to raise Jamie because he was in jail for murder. I guess he “saved” Jamie by doing so, but I’m pretty sure he could have removed the druggy mother from the equation without life-ending offenses being taken. Not very inspiring behavior there, Pops. Oh, and neither was trying to kill the other Duttons, and then failing with all three of them. At least John gets shit done.
4. “Not looking too fired, Cal.”
Yeah, Cal. Beth didn't fire you for her health. Or for your health insurance. GTFO.
5. “Well, I guess we’re gonna find out who you’re loyal to, Beth.”
When it comes to turds on legs, John Emmet Tracy’s Ellis Steele is one of Yellowstone’s prime examples, even without ever doing anything insanely egregious. But he somehow pulled off the unbelievable feat of bungling Beth’s confidence and leaving her relatively speechless, and in a room full of Market Equity execs no less. Beth’s revenge blinders came back to bite her in the worst way here. Yes, I’m referring to ME’s land development plans, and not just Beth being one-upped, since she's obviously not going to be loyal to her employer in this case. Never that.
6. “I can’t understand a damned word coming out of her mouth.”
Of all the signts and sounds on Yellowstone, few can hold a (most decidedly non-yankee) candle to the glory of Jen Landon's Teeter, whose hyper-twang accent is a pure delight on a weekly basis. John may not agree with that sentiment, though, and I'd love to know what he actually thinks Teeter is saying each time she talks. If only this show had cutaway gags that could explain such things.
7. “It is not his name, it’s mine.”
As much as I think Garrett is a terrible father figure for Jamie, at least he's still claiming the put-upon politician, who is now a new father himself. And even though Jamie didn't hear it, he almost definitely felt a ghostly dagger sliding between his shoulder blades when John uttered the thorn-covered words above to Governor Perry. Just in case Jamie thought his adoption came without an expiration date.
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8. “'You’re damned right I did it' is gonna be my campaign slogan.”
Essentially any campaign slogan from John Dutton would be an A+ sentiment, and the one he jokingly offered up (though without a whole lot of humor in his voice) was a winner indeed. The “it” in that slogan could mean SO many things, too, so you’d think John might be a little more cagey about such things, but then cagey doesn’t win elections.
9. “Probably should have introduced myself sooner. Masturbating stallions sorta puts us on a first name basis.”
How many of us can say we had a romantic connection after stressfully masturbating a bunch of horses? (That question is 100% rhetorical, though I kinda do want to know if anyone else can relate to Jimmy and Emily.) After two people go through that kind of process together, the sky is the limit for where their chemistry might go next. I bet Jimmy could even learn Emily’s middle name if he checks a whale’s prostate or something.
10. “My idea of shopping is calling the sales manager at Gucci and having her fill a box the size of a fucking refrigerator.”
Even when Beth has been put through the mental wringer by one of her enemies — I guess I consider Ellis to be everyone’s enemy on this show — she can still muster up the energy required to make others feel small and bow down to her majesty. Even when it comes to something as simple as shopping. So while I don’t exactly believe that Beth has ever actually ordered enough Gucci products to fill a coffin, I respect her right to make Summer think it’s the truth, even if Piper Perabo’s activist no doubt also sees through the bullshit.
11. “Bear knows better than to fuck with me.”
I quite like the image of a large and purposefully destructive bear confidently strutting around the ranch up until the moment it catches sight of Beth, after which it makes a painstaking attempt to stay out of her sight. Like trying to hide behind trees that are too skinny for its massive body, and putting a lampshade on its head when Beth walks by. I guess I basically just want MGM’s Barney Bear to be on Yellowstone.
12. “No, Daddy. I’m afraid you’re gonna take an emotional risk with another man.”
I have no trouble believing both Beth and John would stand up to that aforementioned bear in the heat of an attack, but only one of those Duttons would be able to survive a conversation about their feelings with the bear. I love, love, love the fact that John tried to sheepishly task Beth with asking Rip to move into the main house. Rarely has abject reticence been so adorable. I look forward to future moments where Rip tells Beth to ask John where Ziploc bags and boot polish are.
13. “It’s not Yell-er-stone, it’s Yell-ow-stone.”
Considering all the Southern folk that make their way to and through the Yellowstone ranch, you’d think John would have already had Colby’s declaration above made into a sign hanging outside the bunkhouse. Not that Teeter would obey such a rule.
14. “You know, the lodge is where family belongs. [Pause.] Didn’t sound like a question, did it? It’s a question.”
For a moment there, Yellowstone became The Wonder Years, as John nervously bumbled his talk with Rip harnessing all the energy of a junior high kid trying to land a date for the big dance. Has John ever been confused over the concept of “a question” in his life before this? If so, I need to see each and every example for comparison.
15. “Shit, you know I don’t like dogs.”
I don’t know what it is about this line that won me over so hard, but Cole Hauser’s aw-shucks delivery had a lot to do with it. It was as if, in this awkward conversation about moving in together, Rip was oh so happy for a momentary oasis that allowed him to express negative emotions about something amidst all of the bonding vibes.
16. “When they look at you like that, they’re all trouble."
Avery unloading her romantic admissions on Kayce was more than a little cringe-inducing, considering how blatantly aware of his marriage she is, and how little privacy was afforded her when saying it. But at least Kayce wasn’t totally blindsided by it all, thanks in part to Thomas Rainwater’s assessment above. It’s unclear for now if Kayce would follow through with an Avery tryst if Monica wasn’t in the picture, but doing so now, just after they secured a house away from the ranch, would be trouble to the nth degree.
17. “I am the opposite of progress. I’m the wall that it bashes against, and I will not be the one that breaks.”
I like to think that at some point in years past, John and Beth had a drunken conversation where they went back and forth boasting about being a solid thing that other things break themselves against. Echoing Beth’s earlier sentiments this season of being a therapist-shattering rock, John used his candidacy announcement to stand against the idea of progress, at least in the sense where “progress” means destroying preserved land with construction, pollution, and other irreversible badges of humankind. And the line was made all the more powerful by the episode going right into the credits immediately after.
Yellowstone airs Sunday nights on Paramount Network at 8:00 p.m. ET, and you can bet the next few installments are going to be just as packed with A+ dialogue as the previous seven episodes. Plus, the sorta-long-awaited prequel spinoff 1883 is finally making its debut on Sunday, December 19, with the first two eps streaming on Paramount+, while the premiere episode is set to air after Yellowstone.
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.
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