In the “Yellowstone” recap for the season 3 debut, the Dutton family deals with the deadly fallout from going to war with the Beck brothers…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The biggest show of the summer returned on Sunday night as “Yellowstone” kicked off season 3 with a rather subdued episode when compared to the explosive end of season 2.
After spending much of the season at odds with the Beck brothers, John Dutton finally struck back at his enemies after they orchestrated the kidnapping of his grandson Tate and murdering former foe turned ally, Dan Jenkins.
The season 2 finale ended with Kayce Dutton rescuing his son from a white supremacist militia and both of the Beck brothers meeting their demise.
Now as the third season picks up, the Duttons are once again being threatened by a conglomerate desperate to gobble up land in Montana while John has to make a personal sacrifice in order to keep his family safe in the wake of the shootout that ended with the Beck brothers dead.
With that said, let’s get to our recap of the “Yellowstone” season 3 debut titled “You’re the Indian Now”….
This Land is Our Land
With the Beck brothers dead, John Dutton has to face down the Montana government for using his status as livestock commissioner in order to go after them. While his title grants him a lot of latitude, shootouts with white supremacists militias is really teetering on the line between right and wrong.
In order to keep his family name from being besmirched any further and guaranteeing that the investigation doesn’t uncover that John was going after his kidnapped grandson, he makes a deal with the governor to step down from his role as livestock commissioner. That will allow the state to take the win for shutting down a white supremacist militia that was knee deep in human trafficking without ever revealing that Tate was their victim.
Of course, John won’t be completely surrendering his power because he’ll be naming his successor and he’s determined to keep a family member seated in that role.
Unfortunately, Kayce bristles at the idea of taking over his father’s old job — he may be willing to help him run the ranch but he’s never going to be a politician.
While Beth might seem like the perfect choice, she’s not interested in the job either but she knows the person best suited to take over despite her father’s objections.
Meanwhile, the Yellowstone-Dutton Ranch is looking to re-open the fields that were burned a season ago after the Beck brothers poisoned their land with clover and killed a whole lot of cattle. The land has been re-sodded but Rip and Kayce are still wary about letting the cattle loose there to graze again.
Instead, they decide to wait until July while moving the herd further out onto the ranch land in order for them to feed without continuing to burn money by feeding them hay. As Rip and Kayce investigate the land, they spot a group of suits wandering around their field.
One of the men introduces himself as Ellis Steele and he represents a group of business people who are taking over the Paradise Valley Resort — previously owned by Dan Jenkins — and he claims they took a wrong turn while exploring the property. It seems the new owners are interested in far more than just building a new hotel and casino, which likely spells bad news for the Dutton family as they seek to hold onto their massive ranch.
Of course, Kayce smells a rat almost immediately when Ellis makes an overture and he snipes back by reminding the businessman that he never offered to his name during their introduction.
Ellis: “I didn’t catch your name.”
Kayce: “That’s cause I didn’t offer it.”
The group hustles to leave the land with Rip making an even stronger suggestion when he pushes his horse towards them.
Beth soon discovers that the group who purchased Paradise Valley is called Providence and apparently they have a reputation for taking over a lot of land and running out the previous owners. This group apparently did the same thing in Texas and other parts of the country and now it appears Montana is their next destination.
Beth’s boss tells her to continue to aggressively buy land in the area as they work to gobble up as much property before Providence can get their hooks into the area even further.
Unfortunately, Providence moves fast because Thomas Rainwater soon runs into the same problem as he seeks to finish construction on his hotel and casino. After wondering if John Dutton was better served as a friend than an enemy following advice from his No. 2 man Mo, Rainwater soon discovers that he might have bigger problems on the horizon than his next door neighbor.
As he shows up at the construction site that’s now been shut down, Rainwater meets Ellis Steele as well along with a cease and desist order issued by the Federal government. Ellis essentially talks down to Rainwater while advising him to let his legal counsel handle these problems but clearly Providence has designs on more than just the Dutton ranch.
Perhaps Rainwater will need John Dutton as an ally after all.
After he was kidnapped and victimized, Tate is dealing with nightmares pretty much every night and his mother and father are at a loss with how to deal with it all.
With the Yellowstone-Dutton Ranch moving their cattle across the land for the time being, John orders his bunkhouse boys to set up camp near the herd to ensure they stay safe without anybody stealing them away. Monica believes Tate would benefit with some time spent alongside his grandfather and perhaps the best medicine for him right now is sleeping under the stars.
Obviously, John is elated at the chance to spend more time with his grandson after he apologizes to Monica for sending Tate out to feed his horse on the night he was ultimately kidnapped. Monica shakes off his apology and tells John it wasn’t his fault.
She then explains how 150 years ago this entire area belonged to her people and even back then intruders were coming along, kidnapping children, killing people and stealing the land. Monica says the same thing is happening to John Dutton — except you’re the Indian now (thus the title of the episode).
It’s a bit heavy handed when it comes to comparisons — while John Dutton is certainly defending his property from land developers consumed by greed, it’s a far cry from Native Americans who had everything taken from them once western settlers arrived more than 500 year ago.
Monica is dealing with her own problems after she goes to work and finds her class outside with every single student buried in their cell phones. After she chastises them for essentially selling their souls to the corporate gods who are raping and stealing from them, Monica is just exhausted dealing with them so she throws up her hands and leaves.
As for Beth, she leaves work but on her way home she spots a trespasser fishing in the Dutton family river. That’s when she’s introduced to Roarke Morris (Josh Holloway from ‘Lost’) and he’s just oozing with flirtacious charm. Beth doesn’t seem interested as she informs him that he’s trespassing on private property and Roarke reveals that he’s part of the family that owns the next ranch over about five miles away.
He extends an invitation to dinner but Beth brushes him off before returning home. Obviously, Roarke is a lot slicker than Beth’s current boyfriend but the chemistry in that initial meeting was undeniable.
When it comes to Beth, she’s still devoted to Rip after showing up at his new house later that night with a bottle of whiskey and a suggestion that they christen the place together. After pouring a shot down her dress, Rip offers to drink it off Beth and they retire together inside.
Before taking the bunkhouse crew out to the new pasture where the herd will graze, John pulls Jamie aside and tells him that he won’t be joining them. Instead, John is appointing Jamie as the new livestock commissioner to take over his old job.
John is welcoming Jamie back into his circle of trust but offers him a stern warning as well. If Jamie betrays the family again, he’ll be dead to him. Jamie promises to make his father proud as he moves out of the bunkhouse and back to the main house to begin his new job.
While the livestock commissioner’s job has been filled, Kayce apologizes to his father for not wanting the position. Kayce just can’t see himself playing politics but John counters by telling his son that he knows exactly who he is — and he should never apologize for it.
That night while Kayce keeps a watchful eye over the herd, John sits with Tate by the campfire as the boy tells his grandfather about the nightmares that continue to haunt him. John then tells him that he’s had plenty of nightmares of his own but the key is to dreams is remembering that you’re the one in control.
It was a rather quiet end to the season 3 debut but the sounds of a wolf howling in the distance as John consoled his grandson might just serve as a harbinger of the trouble coming for the Yellowstone-Dutton Ranch any day now.
“Yellowstone” returns with a brand new episode next Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on the Paramount Network.