The 'Yellowstone' Season 5 Premiere Taunts New Troubles For the Duttons (2024)

Lace up your boots! And saddle your horses right, my friends. With Sunday night's two-episode premiere of Yellowstone Season Five, it's another morning in Montana and you do not want to piss off John Dutton. When we last left him on the ranch, it was on an unusually high note. The Season Three hit job left every single character's fate up in question. In Season Four, Beth and Rip tied the knot, Jamie rejoined the family business, and John wrestled with entering the political sphere. "Now I gotta run for f*cking governor," Dutton exhales at the end of Season Four, air barely escaping his gravely mouth.

Well, after a time jump, Season Five kicks off with John Dutton winning the race to become to the new Governor of Montana. He’ll do whatever it takes to protect his ranch. If that means spending more time in meetings than horseback riding? So be it. "Four years is a long time. This is not where I wanna spend it," John remarks. The appointment grants him immense power to destroy all of his problems in one fell swoop. Market Equities’s airport? Dead. Thomas Rainwater’s hotel and casino? Dead. His weaselly son Jamie? Allowed to live.

Season Five will clearly mark a new, legislative chapter for the Duttons. Where they've previously solved their problems through violence, insider trading, and a little bit of dynamite, the Dutton's new office will make finding solutions easier than ever before. The evil coastal cities are seeking to tear up the natural beauty of the valley—not unless the Duttons abuse every law in the book. Still, we've come to learn that the Montana family's fight for their particular way of life is less obsolete by modern-day American standards than it is seemingly unprofitable. As many enemies as the Duttons have, every decision reminds them that the ranch only has a couple years of profitability left until they have to dip into their savings.

So, yes: Dutton's fight to protect his Montana ranch from these land-grubbers has turned him into a mafioso capo. He brands his cowboys like cattle and commits enough crimes to send his entire family to jail forever. Ranching obviously doesn’t require all of this barbaric machoism, murder, and rule-by-fear family dynamics, but for the Duttons—it’s all they’ve ever known. As the 1883 prequel series revealed, the family only ended up in Montana because of uncontrollable despair on the Oregon Trail. They're all either cursed... or bound to the demands of being the number-one show on television. Either way, catastrophe will not let its grip loosen on this family, even for just one second.

Let's catch up with the rest of the family, shall we? Jamie must now be a good little doggie who only wags his tail when his master commands. His sister, Beth, has remained loyal—and she becomes her father’s new chief of staff as a result. As cutthroat as Beth is, she has also committed just about every white-collar crime there is. Hell, she’s even misusing campaign money in the Season Five premiere to throw her father a big ol' celebration on the ranch. Though she does have her own demons to sort through. In Beth's first scene with her fan-favorite cowboy husband, Rip Wheeler, she apologizes for the awful way she treated him when they were younger. During a flashback to her younger days on the ranch, Beth leaves Rip feeling like it was a bad idea that he even asked her out. In an act of revenge, the young Beth then hooks up with another cowboy. "You did put me through hell," the present-day Rip tells Beth. But he still loves her.

If it weren’t for all of the murdering Rip's done, he’d be a pretty perfect guy! So perfect, in fact, that he’s the only one who has figured out that the Dutton’s days are numbered. At John's celebration on the ranch, everyone is dancing to country singer Shane Smith and the Saints, playing lasso games, and drinking at the open bar. Not Rip. He’s laying out on the hill above like a watchdog, comparing John to Nero and the great fire of Rome. “He’s gonna lose all of this,” Rip warns.

Cut to: John Dutton’s enemies crawling back out of the shadows to plot their next move. Angela Blue Thunder, the attorney who drips ice-cold fear down Thomas Rainwater’s spine, sits like a devil on his shoulder, whispering that he should have killed John when he had the chance. Market Equities—one of the silliest-named firms of all time—is calling in one of its big guns, Sarah Atwood (Dawn Olivieri), who is supposed to be a perfect foil to Beth. Olivieri already appeared in 1883 as Claire Dutton, but the Yellowstone universe doesn't seem too concerned with the crossover.

I don’t know what this family thinks holding political office means, but no number of threats will save their ranch–it'll just delay the inevitable.

John's younger son, Kayce, is acting more like a superhero for livestock than he is a regular state agent for horse crimes. He spends his portion of the premiere chasing low-life horse thieves up to the US-Canada border, brandishing Yellowstone's enormous budget. We're talking wide shots of horses running, helicopters buzzing overhead, and river-crossing cowboy sh*t. Kayce may have spent most of Season Four on a vision quest so that he could hear his fortune read by a wolf, but now he's back in fighting form.

Kayce's plan to bring the horses back home is cut short when his wife, Monica, calls. She’s having painful contractions three weeks before her baby is due. Kayce says he’s going to call ahead for an ambulance, but for whatever reason, she doesn’t listen to him. Maybe she thinks it can’t wait! Driving with their son, Tate, in the car, she grabs her stomach in pain. Suddenly, a cow crosses the road ahead?! And a truck driver coming in the opposite direction bends down to get pretzels in the passenger seat?!?! We all know what’s about to happen here. Tate phones 9-1-1, informing emergency services that they’ve been in a wreck and his mother is pregnant as well. A shame–because even though this family must be constantly tortured and broken, a lot of the damage has fallen on Monica. Yellowstone has never really known what to do with Monica, and although she lives through the car wreck (tragically, her baby didn’t), it’s impossible to guess what lies in store for her.

Meanwhile, John Dutton begins his appointment on awkward footing. He’s ignoring the advice of his council, cancelling meetings with important environmental regulation bodies, and firing (nearly) his entire staff. "You could be a really great leader John, but you’re a sh*tty politician because you won’t play the game," Senator Lynelle Perry warns him. The line sounds incredibly corny, as does Beth telling Jamie, “You’re in my prison now, and if you ever forget it, I’ll put you in a real one." I don’t know what this family thinks holding political office means, but no number of threats will save their ranch–it'll just delay the inevitable. As Lynelle says, Dutton’s enemies will just wait four years until he’s out of office.

Beth’s new rival(!), Sarah, arrives shortly after. She chides an assistant at Market Equities who checks out her butt, quipping, "If you’re gonna look, then be man enough to stare." She’s less Beth’s foil and more like just another Beth. Later, the Dutton daughter tells a valet driver that the lease payments on her car have "an inverse relationship to the length of my skirt." The zinger beats the time in Yellowstone history when all Thomas Rainwater did was speak in metaphors, but I don’t know how many lines like these we can take.

Back at the ranch, Rip has quite a few problems to deal with while John and Kayce are away. Wolves are killing cattle–and horses are stepping in badger holes that injure their legs so badly they have to be shot on sight. If only Kayce were here! He practically speaks wolf now. Instead, two of the cowboys camp out at night and kill the wolves. Big issue. though: the wolves escaped from Yellowstone National Park. They have giant tags on their necks and it’ll be a sh*tstorm if anyone finds out. Rip helps them dispose of the carcasses and ties the trackers to some driftwood in the creek. I don’t see how this problem could ever be traced back to them, but I’m sure Yellowstone will find a way. It always does.

The 'Yellowstone' Season 5 Premiere Taunts New Troubles For the Duttons (2024)
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