How Far Will Beth Go in the ‘Yellowstone’ Finale? Kelly Reilly & Cole Hauser Tease ‘Wild Finish’
Hold on tight, or this week’s Yellowstone may buck you right off. Like an old cowboy song, that refrain is one fans of TV’s roughest and most riveting ride know well. Cocreated by Taylor Sheridan, the Paramount Network saga about megarich Montana cattle king John Dutton’s (Kevin Costner) bloody battle to keep his family’s ancestral Yellowstone Dutton Ranch has roped in record ratings in its fourth season (and spawned Paramount+’s 1883 prequel series). The question is: How will the red-hot Western wrap up its biggest round yet?
“It’s a very wild finish to an amazing year,” promises Cole Hauser, who stars as fan favorite Rip Wheeler, the foreman who brands inner-circle ranch hands with a “Y.” To the Duttons, loyalty is everything and betrayal is a death sentence. Woe to those who’ve crossed them. Let’s recap.
This bullet-riddled season started with the Duttons recovering from a simultaneous assassination attempt on John, favorite son/livestock commissioner Kayce (Luke Grimes), and Rip’s fiancée, badass daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly). Since then, the Yellowstone insiders have gone after those they believe are responsible (Rip memorably used a rattlesnake as a murder weapon!), and Beth has threatened to take down just about everyone in a suit as she schemes to protect the ranch from corporate America. We’ve also seen a diner shoot-out, a bunkhouse stabbing, John deciding to run for governor to oppose his adopted son/acting attorney general Jamie (Wes Bentley), and Kayce setting out to starve himself on a Native American spiritual quest. Still, maybe the biggest bombshell of the season was the emotional one dropped in the December 26 hour: John suggesting his devoted daughter leave the ranch house.
Why the shocking eviction? He discovered that Beth used an environmental activist, Summer (Piper Perabo), as a pawn in her game to stop airport construction and slow local development. At Beth’s urging, the vegan vixen (also John’s one-night stand) got physical with officers during a protest and is now facing life in prison. A “disappointed” John, who’s killed at least 100 people, considers Beth’s move an immoral fighting tactic. “That rejection from him is one of the most painful things that she could feel,” Reilly says. Last we saw Beth, she was in tears—a rare state for this “kamikaze,” as the actress calls her warmly—while a wise Rip gave her space.
Will Beth really leave Yellowstone? We reckon not. “If there’s going to be a reason for her to stay after this, it’s going to be because of Rip,” Reilly says. Ah, Rip: the only person equally damaged, brutal, and, arguably, matching Beth in loyalty to John (the Dutton dad took in a young Rip, who was on the run after killing his abusive father). The couple lost their virginity together as teens and are each other’s only safe harbor in a world of chaos. “Beth has always thought that she’s at war, except when she’s with Rip,” Reilly says.
The war for Yellowstone is never-ending, and we’d wager Beth tries to get back in John’s good graces by leading another charge. Producers will only tease that Beth takes “family matters” into her own hands. That could mean she helps John keep his promise to free Summer—Beth works as a mole at the company Summer was protesting. But we suspect Beth’s recent row with John about him not doing enough to punish the person who put burn scars on her back was setting something in motion.
At this point, neither Beth nor John knows the real culprit behind the hit on the family was Garrett Randall (Will Patton), the bitter, power-hungry biological father of Jamie, the Dutton brother Beth loves to hate. Could the show be building to that revelation, and the showdown we’ve all been waiting for? Beth’s “final act is one that she feels is not necessarily just for her father, but for herself,” hints Reilly. “Her appetite for vengeance and retribution is unlike any other character I’ve ever played or seen. She will risk her life for that. In the end, she goes lone wolf.”
“Lone wolf” reminds us of Beth and Rip’s date in Season 1, where they sat in his truck getting drunk and watching a pack of wolves tear apart an elk carcass. Two people were never so meant for each other. It’s why we’re also holding out hope that we’ll get to see the wedding they’ve been semi-seriously talking about all season. Reilly undercuts our dream of a happy ending. “Maybe that last act that she does is too far for her father, too far for everybody.”
Whatever happens when the sun sets on Season 4, Hauser’s sure of one thing: “Taylor Sheridan leaves the audience thinking. Whether you end with romance, death or destruction, he’s wonderful at keeping you on the edge of your seat. That’s why the show has been so successful.”
Yellowstone, Season 4 Finale Sunday, January 2, 8/7c, Paramount Network