‘Yellowstone’: A Night Out at the Rodeo Goes Horribly Wrong (RECAP)

Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 3 Rodeo Recap
Spoiler Alert
Paramount Network

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3, Episode 3 of Yellowstone, “An Acceptable Surrender.”]

The Dutton family and the ranch hands head to the rodeo to cheer Jimmy Hurdstrom (Jefferson White) on, and what ensues includes both one of the best lines of dialogue of the series and an incident that puts a stop to the previously fun atmosphere.

Meanwhile, new Livestock Commissioner Jamie (Wes Bentley) struggles to clean up a mess he played a role in creating, but may have managed to come out on top. Elsewhere, his sister Beth (Kelly Reilly) learns some troubling news about the plans hedge fund manager Roarke Morris (Josh Holloway) is involved in.

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Plus, Beth shows her softer side and someone new joins the bunkhouse.

Problem Solving with Jamie Dutton

“What the hell, Jamie? All I did is what they told me to do, what you told me to do, and now I’m—” Steve Hendon (James Jordan) immediately turns on Jamie when the latter visits his agent in jail. Jamie has him go over what happened — two men who attacked barrel racers ended up dead in his custody when he tried to send a message — and comes up with a new story.

Instead of Hendon driving them around recklessly in the back of a trailer, he was taking them to find stolen horses. Plus, the deputies roughed them up before they were in his custody, Jamie decides.

County Attorney Randy (KC Clyde) then pays Jamie a visit and suggests that they’ll be in the clear if Hendon just takes the fall. But Jamie refuses to let him spend his life in prison while his family is ruined. Instead, a new story: the perps aren’t local, so tag them as John Does and say the deputies pulled them from a truck in a ditch with three times the legal limit in their system. What about the victim?

Brecken Merrill Kevin Costner Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 3 Tate John Dutton

(Paramount Network)

Jamie takes care of it with a conversation with her father. The man had wanted to be waiting with his shotgun when the perps got out on bail, but now he doesn’t have to, Jamie says. He did this for every father who would be sacrificing their family if they did. And now, that man promises his daughter will keep quiet and even tells Jamie he owes him a favor.

Planning a Surrender

Ellis Steele (John Emmet Tracy) — whose firm represents Market Equities (which manages resort properties) — drops by to see Governor Perry (Wendy Moniz-Grillo) with the proposal for the airport and ski resort. The main problem? The location he has in mind. Originally, they were looking at the golf courses, but the valley is too narrow. Instead, they’re now looking at the Yellowstone. He’ll never sell, Perry knows. Plus, no one’s ever had any luck. But Ellis seems to think this time will be different.

As soon as Beth finds out, she calls Roarke, only to get his voicemail: “I’m either on a boat or in a river, or maybe I just don’t want to talk to you. Have a blessed day.” So, she goes to find him (in a river) to give him a piece of her mind. He claims he’s not involved in choosing the location, but she doesn’t buy it.

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However, he points out that she’s done exactly the same thing — ruining families, businesses, and careers — to make money, just like he is. “And now you’re standing there looking at me with those big mad eyes because someone’s doing it to you,” he says. Though she’s determined to stop him, he recommends that she instead come up with a proposal that’s fair to her family.

But Beth knows what Roarke doesn’t: John (Kevin Costner) cares about the land, not money. After all, as he tells grandson Tate (Brecken Merrill) early on in the episode, yes, “ranching’s a terrible business” but “it’s one hell of a life.”

Governor Perry also knows John, and so she insists he and Jamie meet with her ASAP. John makes her come to him (at the rodeo), but he’d rather leave the talk about problems to the next day. She agrees, but she gives him the solution: “I appoint Jamie interim Attorney General, and Jamie appoints a person of your choosing to run the Livestock Commission.” It may not be what’s best for the city, but it is for him and the people in the valley. What’s the goal, he asks — to negotiate an acceptable surrender. (Any more details will have to wait since they’re part of the problem.)

Kelly Reilly Cole Hauser Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 3 Beth Rip

(Paramount Network)

But who will replace Jamie? And it goes back to John’s other son, Kayce (Luke Grimes), who has made it clear that’s the last thing he wants, even if it’s what his dad wants for him. Perry will handle it, she says.

Just When Things Are Looking Up…

Everyone heads to the rodeo to watch Jimmy in his latest competition, leaving ranch hand Colby (Denim Richards) and the new hire Teeter (Jennifer Landon) with the herd for the night. But with John sitting on his other side, foreman Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) is hesitant to hold Beth’s hand.

“I guess everyone thinks I’m the dumbest man in the valley. You can hold her damn hand, Rip,” John tells him before turning to Kayce on his other side. “As if something can happen on the ranch I don’t know about.”

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Speaking of romance, there seem to be sparks between Jimmy and Mia (Eden Brolin), who has seen him at another competition and even knows who he is. But he’s speechless around her, admitting he didn’t plan anything past walking up to her. She encourages him to ask her out, and he does, before Lloyd (Forrie J. Smith) pulls him away to focus on the competition. Mia kisses his cheek — surprising herself, since she’s usually not that forward, she says — and Jimmy’s pretty much left in a daze. “You ever have a girl look at you and your world just stops?” he asks Lloyd.

When it’s Jimmy’s turn, he can’t stop staring at Mia and he’s not ready when his bronco takes off. It quickly goes south, and Lloyd rushes out to Jimmy as EMTs arrive on scene. He’s not looking good as the episode ends…

Yellowstone, Sundays, 9/8c, Paramount Network