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Yellowstone's Kelly Reilly Reveals Beth Moment From Season 4 That Had Fans The Most Heated Up

Beth holding glass of wine in Yellowstone
(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Across any given episode of Yellowstone, there's a better-than-average chance that Kelly Reilly's Beth Dutton will do and say things that not everyone will agree with. (That percentage is far higher when we’re talking about other characters.) From her fraught relationship with Jamie to her self-destructive instincts, Beth is a firecracker burning at both ends, which is why she’s one of TV’s biggest highlights each and every year. But it appears there was one moment from Yellowstone Season 4 that stood out the most when it came to fans getting critical about how Beth handled a situation. And it all has to do with one of the neo-western’s newest (and youngest) characters, Finn Little’s Carter.

With fans awaiting Yellowstone’s fifth season, which will arrive in November, star Kelly Reilly spoke with TVLine about the scene from the Season 4 finale, “Grass on the Streets,” that really struck a nerve with certain viewers. The moment in question came when Carter semi-slipped and called Beth “Mama,” which sparked the arguably too-vicious response in which she denied him the action of viewing her as a mother. Here’s what she had to say about the audience reactions:

America went after me for that! [Laughs.] I was like, ‘That’s the character, not me!’ But I get it. I wish she would [let herself be a mother to him], too. But think about it. If she’s telling this kid that she’s just met, ‘Yeah, I’ll be your mom,’ that’s not truthful to him.

There’s a whole lot of logic embedded in that reply, as Kelly Reilly hit the nail right on the head. While Beth certainly could have approached her immediate reaction more sensitively and less callously, she can’t truly be faulted for the core message she was delivering. As much as fans might have wanted to see immediate happy-go-lucky family warmth from Beth and Rip where Carter is concerned, I feel like it would have been way weirder had either of those highly self-reliant characters been instantly transfixed by their sudden parental love for the boy. That’s not how these people are wired, which is something their co-stars have hilariously debated

Granted, there could come a day when each of their respective wirings have been molded enough to accept Carter as their ward, though I’m not sure how much it would truly take for them to truly see him as their “son.” For one, it would likely mean Beth would fully come to terms with, and find peace in, having been unwittingly sterilized during her teen years. And it’s unlikely that’ll happen in an authentic fashion without her on horseback dragging a roped-up Jamie across the entire ranch. 

Kelly Reilly continued, speaking to the idea that it was better for Beth to be honest with Carter, as brutal as it was, rather than playing into his desires under false pretenses. In her words:

She goes, ‘You had a mom. She died. I can’t replace that. But I’ll be your friend.’ I think there’s something honorable about that.

On the Yellowstone ranch, it’s almost definitely better for Carter to have friends than to have parents, given how uneven familial relationships can be for the Duttons, even with characters as close-knit as Beth and John. But friends are always in need when tempers flare and fists start flying, whether those threats are external or coming from within.

To be sure, more threats are coming in Season 5, with Jacki Weaver’s Caroline Warner confirmed to be returning to try and destroy the ranch. That said, Kelly Reilly spoke recently about Beth actually being in a fairly good spot when the new episodes arrive, thanks in part to her rekindling her plot-making partnership with her father. (As well as having Jamie wrapped around her little finger.) Given the way the season left off, with Kevin Costner’s John in a legacy state of mind, we’ll probably hear him calling Carter his “grandson” before we ever hear Beth treating the younger boy so familiarly. I wonder if Walker’s musical talents include making “sad trombone” sounds.

Yellowstone Season 5 will finally arrive on Sunday, November 13, only on Paramount Network. Revisit past scenes with a Peacock subscription, and check out the expanding universe with a Paramount+ subscription

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

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.