‘Yellowstone’ Season 3 Premiere: John Puts His Trust in Family (RECAP)
You're the Indian Now
Season 3 • Episode 1
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 3 premiere of Yellowstone, “You’re the Indian Now.”]
Wolves — both human and animal — are coming for land and the Dutton family’s cattle in Yellowstone Season 3.
Right off the bat, the Paramount Network drama makes it clear that there will be at least one major consequence for patriarch John (Kevin Costner) and his family’s actions regarding their Season 2 foe, the Beck brothers, and getting Tate (Brecken Merrill) back after he’d been kidnapped. Having it be his grandson makes it look like a feud, not law enforcement for Livestock Commissioner John, so the optics are terrible.
Elsewhere, new people make their presences known to the Duttons and Chief Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham), John’s son and Tate’s father Kayce (Luke Grimes) and the ranch foreman Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) have an idea about how to keep the cattle alive after past problems and threats, and Josh Holloway‘s Roarke Morris, a hedge fund manager, makes his debut.
Keeping It in the Family
John’s other son, lawyer Jamie (Wes Bentley), has turned his back on the family in the past, but he’s trying to make up for it, helping out on the ranch (and even living in the bunkhouse) and coming to John’s defense (saying exactly what his dad told him to) regarding his actions against the Becks. It’s comical when Jamie actually tells his father, “Trust me,” before they head into a closed-door meeting with the governor and attorney general. That ends with John resigning as commissioner, as he’d planned, but he’ll get to choose his replacement.
His first choice is Kayce, who adamantly refuses; his siblings are the politicians in the family, not him. Beth (Kelly Reilly) urges her father to give Jamie the chance to prove he can be trusted because he needs family in the office. “You can trust him to be exactly what he is. Jamie will always do what is best for himself,” she says. “And he will use that office to become popular with his constituents. His constituents are ranchers. What’s good for their ranches is good for ours.”
John listens to her and tells Jamie to move out of the bunkhouse because the Livestock Commissioner can’t live there. But, “If you betray me again, you’re dead to me,” he warns his son. Jamie gives his word that he won’t. “We’re about to find out what that’s worth,” John says.
Kayce apologizes for not taking the job. “It’s just not me,” he says, but John assures him, “You’re my son. I know exactly who you are and don’t you ever be sorry for it.”
Who’s Moving In?
While out checking the land, Kayce and Rip run into a group of suits from Providence Hospitality Management, which owns the Paradise Valley Sporting Club on the other side of the fence of their property. Ellis Steele (John Emmet Tracy), whose firm represents Market Equities (which manages resort properties), comments on their land and tries to play the “good neighbor” card, even inviting them to dinner at the resort. At work, financier Beth also hears about Market Equities and Providence — and what they mean for plans for expansion.
On her drive home, she spots someone in the river and pulls over to order him out because he’s trespassing. However, Roarke argues that if he gets out of the river, he would be trespassing; the Duttons own the land on either side of it. The two banter, and she learns that his family owns the ranch up the river, and yes, he did walk the five miles upstream in the water.
“I was blessed with stamina,” he says. “When I play golf, I do 36 holes a day. I like this much better. Like golf, but fish. You have any interest in dinner?” She doesn’t and tells him to stay off their land, concluding what he calls “the most interesting thing that’s happened to me today.” Listen, obviously we’ve been watching Beth and Rip’s love story for two seasons, but there is definitely a spark here. Even after one conversation, it’s clear that any scenes with Reilly and Holloway are going to be highlights of the season.
Finally, Some Happiness
Beth is still sporting the bruises on her face from her attack when Malcolm Beck (Neal McDonough) had his men send a message to the Duttons in Season 2’s “Resurrection Day.” When she stops to buy liquor, the clerk has similar bruises and a jar out for donations for her kid’s medical bills.
Beth remarks about the clerk’s partner doing “that” to her even with what she’s dealing with, and the woman assumes she’s in the same position. “Not anymore,” Beth says. “My boyfriend put his head through a wall. Then I smashed his skull with an eight-pound ash tray. New boyfriend. Big ass ashtray. It’s just a thought.”
Speaking of that new boyfriend, near the end of the episode, Beth shows up at Rip’s new house to help him christen it. He pulls her in for a kiss and inside the cabin.
Stars for the Ceiling
Understandably, Tate’s having nightmares after his ordeal in the Season 2 finale. But his mother Monica (Kelsey Asbille) comes up with a solution: John takes him to join him, Kayce, and the ranch hands when they camp out near the cattle to keep them from being killed or stolen. She thinks having “stars for the ceiling” might help him sleep.
It’s during that conversation that John expresses regret for letting Tate go down to feed his horse alone (which was when he was kidnapped), but Monica says it’s not his fault. Kayce told her what he’s gone through to keep the ranch, and in her mind, nothing’s changed from when the land belonged to her people 150 years ago. Children were stolen, men were killed, and families were herded like cattle. “You’re the Indian now,” she tells John.
After they’ve set up camp, Kayce patrols near the cattle to keep wolves from getting to them, while Tate wonders if the howling animals get scared. (They don’t, his grandfather tells him.) He opens up to John about his nightmares: the floor under him disappears, and no one hears him scream or comes to help. John describes dreams as “your memories and your imagination all mixed together into this soup of what’s real, what’s made up,” and he “can change the ingredients” and “decide what you’re going to dream.”
He even opens up about one of his own nightmares. “I have this one. I’m driving down the road, and there’s these people pulled over. I pull over to help, but they don’t want help. They want something else,” John says. But since he’s “changed the ingredients … it won’t come true,” Tate tells him. If only real life worked like that…
Yellowstone, Sundays, 9/8c, Paramount Network