What is happening in our world? Who is doing what? what is going on now? These are questions that will be answered. Enjoy.
What to Know Before Season 3
Yellowstone is one part soap opera, one part Western, and one part fight club set in the sweeping plains of Montana. Paramount Network has leveraged its sweeping cast led by Kevin Costner and created one of the most perfectly over the top summer hits out there, revolving around the Duttons—a legacy family who will do anything (no, literally, read this recap) to make sure that they keep their land and ranch intact. For anyone coming in right now… well, it might be best to go back to the beginning. While half of Yellowstone is about some of the craziest storylines on television (a vet doing emergency surgery on a man, exploding cattle), it’s also a complex web of character relationships.
If you’re just looking for a refresher, we got you. Season Two offered up bloodshed, white nationalists, bloodshed, meth, land wars, and bloodshed. And with all those elements in one season, it’s easy to get confused or remember who got the bejesus beat out of them (spoiler: it’s almost everyone). So here’s a rundown of each character, and where we left them at the end of last season.
John Dutton (Kevin Costner)
This is truly a longwinded one, so buckle up. Last season, John’s colon cancer took center stage as he continues to weigh how he should face the end of his life. He’s also been trying to arrange who will take over the ranch after he departs. Last season ended on an answer, but we’ll get there in a minute. For a while, he considered that Jamie might be the move, but too focused on life outside the ranch, he essentially banished his son. For most of Season Two, he leaned on Kayce, whose newfound power went to his head a bit. That left John looking at options outside the family.
On top of end of life arrangements, the Dutton family patriarch leads the charge against, pretty much everyone. In a continued battle against local nemesis Dan Jenkins, John tries to protect Yellowstone from those who want to encroach on it. While the first part of the season sees John facing off against Dan and his new partner, local Native American leader Rainwater, the three end up having to join forces to push back against smarmy, dangerous real estate moguls, The Beck Brothers. There’s a slew of terrible back and forths, including a rape and an explosion that blows up a ton of cattle. That, in part, leads us to Kayce and Monica.
Kayce and Monica Dutton (Luke Grimes and Kelsey Asbille)
Kayce is appointed a leading member of the family by his father John. In doing so, he’s also made Livestock Agent, which has way more power in Montana than I assume most livestock agents have. His position as right hand son to his father puts him in several precarious positions, and his wife Monica, worried about her and their son’s safety, distances themselves from him. That, obviously, does not go over well with Kayce.
As tensions escalate between the Duttons and The Beck Brothers, the latter has Kayce and Monica’s son, Tate, kidnapped. They hire a group of white supremacists, and this is the final straw because by the end of the season, the Dutton crew goes full firefight, breaks into the home and kills several white supremacists. They also save Tate, and presumably, the couple reunites by the end of the season.
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Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley)
Jamie, trying to take a more just, legal track than the rest of his family, decides to run for Attorney General of Montana. However, the Dutton family doesn’t trust their own blood and brings on another candidate to run against Jamie. All the while, there is a journalist working on a story that threatens to dismantle the Dutton family and reveal some of the back-alley practices they use to control land in Montana. Making a decision between himself and his family, Jamie actually ends up killing that journalist, setting her body out into a river on a kayak (!!), and then dropping out of the race. So, Jamie didn’t have a good season either.
Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly)
Arguably the character who has the hardest road, Beth tried to be the fork-tongued, logical member of the family, using intimidation and smarts to make sure the Dutton family stays in power. However, she pays an unfair price for running amok of the Beck Brothers. They send two masked men in to rape her. They murder her assistant, and then they attempt to murder her, but the two men are stopped by Rip, the Dutton family farmhand. He tells Beth he loves her, and low and behold, Beth loves him, too.
Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser)
Rip spent a lot of the season waiting in the wings, always a part of the Dutton family’s (typically violent) moves. Often, he was used as the family’s muscle. Remember when he released a live bull into a bar? You love to see it. By the end of the season though, he saves Beth from the Beck Brothers and plays an integral role in stopping the Brothers plans to overtake the Dutton family. He is also stunned by the news at the end of the season that John, unable to decide which child should take over Yellowstone Ranch upon his death, has chosen Rip to be his predecessor.
Of course, that’s not everything that happened last season, but it should be enough to get you on your feet before the Season Three premiere, this Sunday at 9pm ET on Paramount Network.
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture.
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