In the “Yellowstone” recap, Beth makes her next move against Market Equities, Jamie faces off with a new opponent and Kayce chooses his path for the future…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It feels like the John Dutton reign as Governor of Montana is going to be a rocky one.
Last week’s “Yellowstone” season 5 debut saw John officially inaugurated as the new governor and he got to work rather quickly by shutting down the airport and hotel project that would have seen his ranch cut in half as the power brokers at Market Equities sought to turn his backyard into a ski resort and tourist attraction.
Of course, John’s power as governor won’t go unquestioned and he’s made it clear that he’s in the job to preserve his family’s legacy more than he’s there to provide Montana with stable and profitable leadership. Add to that, one day into the job and John already started cleaning house internally when he fired his chief of staff and hired his daughter Beth to do the job instead.
Meanwhile, the Yellowstone-Dutton ranch has problems of its own after a herd of wolves were gunned down for killing cattle but it was soon discovered that these animals were the protected variety that wandered down from the national park. Killing them is a felony but even worse, they were killed on the property belonging to the new governor of the state.
As for Kayce Dutton, his spirit walk ended last season with questions about his future but before he could really figure out his path, tragedy struck when Monica went into labor and ultimately got into a car accident on her way to the hospital. Monica lost the baby and now Kayce is faced with the harsh reality that he wasn’t there when his wife needed him the most.
That’s where we pick up this week as Kayce starts making some of those hard decisions about where he goes from here. Beth also continues to dismantle Market Equities and the iron clad grip they had over the Yellowstone-Dutton ranch after her brother Jamie allowed them to get a foot in the front door.
And Rip deals with problems of his own both at work and at home as the dead wolves come back to haunt him while Beth’s exuberance and desire to celebrate a big win ends up haunting him even more.
With that said, let’s get to our recap for the latest episode of “Yellowstone” titled “Tall Drink of Water”…
It’s not every morning that Rip wakes up and finds that Beth is already stirring but that’s exactly what he discovers when reaching over to feel an empty side of the bed next to him. When he rises, Rip finds Beth already dressed and putting on her makeup because she’s got a busy and ambitious day ahead of her.
When Beth is feeling this excited, somebody else should probably expect a whole lot of dread coming their way.
On her way out, Beth runs into her father, who is sitting on the front porch enjoying a cup of coffee and reflecting on the previous day’s events. It seems Governor John Dutton, much like the father and the rancher before him, struggles to wrap a bow on his day and feels more suited to do that in the morning instead.
He’s also taking a trip down memory lane thinking about his wife but it’s not something he’s trying to share with Beth. When John relents, he tells her that he was marveling at what a wonderful woman he married and how he wishes Beth had gotten to know her better before her passing.
As a reminder, Evelyn Dutton died out on a ride with her son and daughter when her horse got spooked and she fell violently to the ground. In many ways, Beth has always blamed herself for her mother’s death and that guilt has driven a stake into her heart for decades.
But Beth knows John isn’t telling her everything that he’s been contemplating while sitting on that porch even if she shares all the intimate tales of her life with him — including her first threesome. It turns out she didn’t tell her father that little detail and that serves as a proper exclamation point on that conversation.
Before leaving, Beth does offer her father one piece of advice where her father is concerned.
“You can love a memory all you want but it can’t love you back. Find someone that you can love while you’re still young enough to do it. Her memory’s not going anywhere.”
Following a drive to Salt Lake City, Beth arrives at the Schwartz and Meyer offices where she still maintains a controlling interest, which was part of her deal to join Market Equities. While she was long since fired from her former job, the Schwartz and Meyer holdings had already been transferred and even a pending legal battle can’t take that away from Beth right now.
But rather than use Schwartz and Meyer as some sort of financial missile to take aim at her former employer, Beth has a better idea.
She calls a meeting with a colleague named Rob from an equity firm called Burson International. It seems Rob operates the second biggest equity firm behind Market Equities but Beth is trying to help him move into the top spot by offering him the deal of a lifetime.
Beth will sign over all of Schwartz and Meyer holdings — the entire company — and her compensation in return will just be the land portfolio. The 28,000 acre land portfolio might be worth $300 million but that’s not why Beth wants it.
Instead, Beth reveals to Rob that she plans to immediately sign the land into a conservation easement, which protects it from ever being developed into anything other than an agricultural landmark and ranch, which is exactly what it’s being used as now. Even if Market Equities wins a lawsuit against Beth, the conservation easement can’t be broken and there’s not a Federal judge on Earth who can change that.
In other words, Market Equities loses and that land can never be transformed into an airport or a hotel or a ski resort.
Rob can’t help but wonder if this deal is too good to be true and he questions Beth about her true intentions by just letting him take over the company without any money trading hands.
“Where’s the rattlesnake in the deal? I am the rattlesnake but you’re not who I’m going to bite”
Beth wants to take the fight to Market Equities and this deal will kill their plans for Montana and by extension, Rob and his company can pick up the pieces while taking down their largest competitor.
With that the deal closes, Rob signs on the dotted line and Beth sends out a press release confirming that Schwartz and Meyer has been handed over to a new owner while the land the company once possessed has now been placed in a conservation easement.
Back in Helena, Jamie arrives at work with news that the Attorney General and the State of Montana have been served with a lawsuit by Market Equities. He’s also greeted by Ellis — Caroline Warner’s right hand — and Sarah Atwood, the newest weapon that Market Equities has employed against the Dutton family.
Ellis throws a fit about the Governor’s decision to pull the lease for the land where the airport was supposed to be built but Jamie counter punches with an answer to every one of his complaints. The new Governor isn’t abiding by the agreements made by his predecessor and after the zoning restriction was upheld and the conservation easement put in place, Market Equities doesn’t have a land to stand on legally.
Ellis erupts and leaves in a rush while Sarah stays behind for a private meeting with the Attorney General.
She can’t help but wonder if Jamie’s heart is in the decisions he’s making — in fact, Sarah believes that he prefers the deal as it stood previously. It would have earned his family more money than they would ever see in 10 lifetimes not to mention the benefits to the state, which now takes a massive hit from losing out on the tourism lost by the airport and the hotels no longer being built.
Sarah decides to invite Jamie to a dinner so they can speak more intimately about the future of Montana before leaving to rejoin Ellis, who it turns out was supposed to lose his cool and storm out of the meeting to ensure his colleague would get some one-on-one time with the attorney general.
Finally, Caroline Warner sits alone in her meeting room when she gets word that Beth Dutton has handed over ownership of Schwartz and Meyer to a competitor while placing all of the land previously owned by the company into a conservation easement.
That’s when Ellis arrives with news — the board members from Market Equities have requested that Caroline return to New York, which usually serves as a signal that her days as CEO may be numbered. The board has also instructed Ellis to drop the lawsuit against the state because it’s going to cost them more to fight this legal battle than to just let it go, regroup and move on somewhere else.
Caroline is irate as she prepares to travel to New York to meet her impending doom but not before instructing Ellis to do everything in his power to crush the Dutton family starting with Beth. She also tells him that Sarah doesn’t abide by the instructions handed down by the Market Equities board members, which means she’s free to go after the Dutton family with both barrels in her arsenal.
“There are no rules for Sarah. Turn her loose”
~ Caroline Weaver
It’s clear this ongoing war is far from over even if the Dutton family is winning and Market Equities has taken major losses thus far.
The Big, Bad Wolf
There have always been flashbacks in “Yellowstone” but it appears there will be even more this season after the season 5 debut showed how John Dutton dealt with a phone company building near his land that happened to be dumping poison into the streams that were killing his cattle.
This week we get another example of frontier justice as John and his ranch hands discover a number of dead cows scattered throughout the fields with evidence that they’ve been attacked and killed by wolves. It’s the same wolves that were introduced into the ecosystem as a way to stave off potential extinction but now the animals are migrating from the national park down into local ranches and killing livestock.
At a town meeting where ranchers are expressing their disdain towards the people who placed those wolves in the park, John Dutton arrives to try and find a peaceful solution before a real war breaks out. As the ranchers complain, Keith — a member of the fish and wildlife team — continues to downplay their concerns while stating that there’s no evidence that the wolves have actually killed any cattle in the area.
In the backroom after the meeting, John informs Keith that he has five examples of wolves killing his cattle and he doesn’t need a scientific study to prove it. John also warns him that if fish and wildlife don’t show up at his door by Friday with a check to pay for the slaughtered cattle, that they’re all going to get to know him rather well because retribution will be coming and the ranchers being threatened aren’t going to worry much about a felony for killing wolves if their livestock continue to be harmed.
Fast forward to present day where Rip is preparing for his day on the ranch when he’s greeted by a pair of officers from Montana Fish and Wildlife.
It seems a GPS tracker from a protected wolf was attached to a log was found in a river on the Yellowstone ranch. To make matters worse, the GPS signals for these particular set of wolves were found all around the Yellowstone ranch for the past few days before suddenly returning to the park and then one being found in the river.
Rip plays it cool and suspects that poachers are to blame while telling the officers that he hasn’t seen any of those wolves on the property. The fish and wildlife officers seem skeptical and decide that he should ride with them out to the spot where the wolves were gathering before just disappearing back into the park again.
Once they arrive at the location given by the GPS trackers, Rip plays it off like nothing is unusual and he has no answers about why the wolves were there or how they were gone without a trace. The next location for the GPS signals took the wolves over to the other side of the mountain but Rip has no desire to follow the officers that far.
Instead, he suggests that they take a helicopter up there because on horseback, they’re not likely to make it back safely. He rides off as the officers agree that a helicopter trip might be warranted but it seems the fish and wildlife department isn’t going to just give up searching for what happened to those wolves while Rip is doing everything he can to protect the Yellowstone-Dutton ranch from taking the blame.
A New Path
In the wake of the tragedy that ended with the death of their son, Kayce and Monica are trying to find the best way forward but first they have to put their child to rest. Monica wants a traditional native burial for her son so Thomas Rainwater and Mo join them to help arrange preparations for the funeral.
Monica, who can barely look up much less speak to their guests, decides to go make some breakfast while Kayce stays behind to speak to Thomas because he has a favor to ask.
Kayce explains that when he was on his spirit quest that he was told that he had to make a choice about his future and now he’s come to a decision. He wants to give up his role as a livestock commissioner because that’s the job his father wanted for him but every time he’s been called away, something terrible has happened in his absence.
The latest example ended with Monica being forced to drive herself to the hospital in the middle of giving birth, which resulted in an accident and the death of their child. So Kayce has decided he needs to give up the role that forces him to leave his family so often and find a new line of work.
Unfortunately, Thomas tells him that putting him to work on the reservation is no easy task — at least not with his particular set of skills. Kayce can’t work with the tribal police because he’ll be seen as an outsider seeking to harm his people rather than looking out for them.
Instead, Mo suggests that Kayce turn to his brother Jamie as attorney general — he could be appointed as a special investigator for the Montana Department of Justice with this territory as his domain. It seems that particular piece of the state hasn’t had a special investigator in decades, which means many crimes go unsolved or unpunished.
Kayce could fill that role and continue to serve the community just like he did while working as a livestock commissioner.
Before Kayce can really contemplate the job possibility, he hears Monica yelling from the kitchen after she throws her breakfast on the ground and lets out a guttural scream. As Kayce approaches the door, Mo and Thomas hold him back and remind him that this is just what Monica needs right now as she actually cuts off her own hair before falling down in tears.
Later that day, Kayce arrives at the Yellowstone-Dutton ranch where he asks his father permission to bury their son on the property because Monica wants to always be able to visit him in the future. Of course, John gives his OK but then Kayce asks him for another favor.
Kayce hands over the badge and tells his father that he can no longer be torn between two worlds when it comes to his job and his family.
“I can’t serve both. I choose her and I choose my son.”
Despite how much his family needs him right now, John doesn’t argue with his son — he just takes the badge and then tells Kayce that they should go look around the property to find a good spot for the burial.
As for Thomas Rainwater, he returns to the Broken Rock reservation and the casino at the heart of it all and he finds a group of protesters outside. It seems people are growing quite discontent with his leadership, especially when it comes to the prosperity of the native people who live there.
Thomas’ idea of expansion and growth involved getting into bed with Market Equities to build a ski resort, hotel and casino 100 miles away from the reservation where the people living there would have to travel hours if they actually expected to work. The people wants jobs closer to home and they need Thomas to understand that teaming up with Market Equities causes more problems than it solves.
Once he’s inside the casino, Thomas finds Angela Blue Thunder waiting for him and she essentially reads him the riot act about all the ways his leadership has failed the people in Broken Rock. She believes it’s time for a change where the native people take back the power for themselves and she derides Thomas for enforcing slave rules rather than offering freedom.
The freedom to rely on themselves rather than seeking help from outsiders.
Angela: “I’m going to teach you the master rules and that lesson will not be pleasant.”
Thomas: “Is that what you’re doing, Angela? You’re teaching me?
Angela: “No, Tom, I’m removing you.”
It seems Thomas Rainwater’s reign as the chairman of the Broken Rock reservation is being challenged with Angela Blue Thunder seeking to usurp him and take control. Considering Thomas has struggled to get five minutes with the new governor since John Dutton was sworn into office, he’s going to have to find an ally and quick.
A Very Bad Idea
It’s a celebration at the ranch as Lloyd prepares to enjoy his birthday, which means he’ll get steak for dinner and then a party in the bunkhouse later that night.
A day spent at work ends with Lloyd and the rest of the cowboys drinking and playing poker while Rip and Carter enjoy some dinner up at the house. When Beth returns home, she decides that sitting down for food at a time like this is a little pedestrian and she suggests something a little more exciting.
Beth has a real celebration on her mind after closing the deal that essentially killed Market Equities’ expansion into Montana.
They all head down to the bunkhouse where Carter wants to tear up the poker table while Beth wonders how this is actually a birthday party for Lloyd when this is the same thing the cowboys do every other night of the week. She offers an alternative game plan — like taking the entire group to a bar in Boseman where they can drink, dance and party until midnight.
Rip promises that this is a terrible idea and actually tells his wife no.
Well that doesn’t go over very well with Beth, who decides to tell the cowboys that she’s paying and everybody rounds up to head to the bar. Even Rip has to concede defeat after realizing the error of his ways by trying to tell his wife she didn’t have permission to do something when she clearly has a mind and a will of her own.
At the bar, the cowboys line up for shots of whiskey while Ryan has his eyes on the band because Abby — the singer who was performing at the inauguration ceremony last week — happens to be the one on stage. After she finishes her set, Abby locks eyes with Ryan and she decides to have a dance and a drink with him after previously saying that she would never date a cowboy.
Meanwhile, Rip and some of the others run into another cowboy from a local ranch as they all remark about how much this bar has changed. A few years earlier, every seat in the bar would have been filled by real cowboys but these days it’s just college students, tourists and city folk who feel empowered while wearing cowboy boots and a hat.
As for Beth, she drinks and dances with Teeter while Rip watches from the sidelines.
At that moment a woman approaches Rip and puts her hand on his shoulder, which he kindly declines while informing her that he’s married. The stranger doesn’t seem to care much considering she’s also married but her husband is all the way in Sacramento.
Rip tells her that his wife is standing just a few feet away — she’s the one staring daggers back at the woman from the other side of the dance floor. The woman says she’ll take care of this, which is pretty much all Rip needs to know that hell is about to break loose.
A second later, Beth smashes a beer bottle over the woman’s head and the bouncers grab her, which forces Rip and the other cowboys to rush into the fray as a brawl breaks out in the middle of the dance floor.
The cops get called and everybody is drawn outside waiting for the sheriff to arrive and sort through the mess. Before he gets there, Beth cracks the woman with another punch as everybody involved gets separated as Sheriff Ramsey arrives at the scene.
He talks to Rip, who informs him that the bouncers were choking his wife and this was nothing more than the average bar fight. Rip also reminds him that this situation will spiral out of the control if he doesn’t squash the matter right then and there.
But Sheriff Ramsey isn’t interested in following the so called rules that his predecessor lived under during his entire tenure as the lawman in these parts. Sheriff Ramsey tells Rip that he and the other cowboys are free to go but Beth is being charged with aggravated assault because the woman who got hit is pressing charges.
Beth gets handcuffed and placed in the back of a police vehicle as she’s taken into custody while still screaming at the woman for daring to press charges against her. Rip watches the woman he loves get taken to jail and this is going to create all kinds of trouble that the Dutton family just doesn’t need right now.
It’s also not going to look great for the new governor that his daughter was taken to jail on aggravated assault charges about a week after he was sworn into office. This also might be just the opening that Market Equities needs to strike back at Beth after she refused to leave well enough alone after her big victory earlier in the day.
“Yellowstone” will return for a new episode next Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on the Paramount Network.