‘Yellowstone’: Our 20 Favorite Episodes of the Hit Western Drama

Cole Hauser, Kelly Reilly, Luke Grimes, Kevin Costner in Yellowstone
Paramount Network

For four seasons now, the Duttons have had us hooked on Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone. And it’s easy to figure out why: Every episode is filled with dramatic moments, wild twists, and sometimes, even scenes that make it hard to keep watching.

From the series preemiere, which saw the family lose one of their own, the consequences and weight of which would remain a part of the Paramount Network drama, to a finale that left the fates of three Duttons up in the air, seasons tend to begin and end with memorable moments. Then there’s the brutality of the Duttons’ world, and when that violence comes for one of their own, their enemies pay.

'Yellowstone': The Duttons Deliver Western Wisdom in Show's Best LinesSee Also

'Yellowstone': The Duttons Deliver Western Wisdom in Show's Best Lines

From Beth's biting remarks to John's sage words, relive some of the drama's most iconic dialogue.

Scroll down for our 20 favorite episodes of the series (so far).

This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s YellowstoneSpecial Collector’s Issue, which is available nationwide on newsstands now.

Yellowstone Special Issue

Paramount Network

“Daybreak” (Season 1, Episode 1)

Why It’s Great Meet the Duttons: patriarch John (Kevin Costner) doing what must be done, shooting an injured horse; Jamie (Wes Bentley), tangled up in legal issues with John and their land; Kayce (Luke Grimes), away from the family, with his wife Monica (Kelsey Asbille) and son Tate (Brecken Merrill); and Beth (Kelly Reilly), asserting her dominance in business. Plus, Chief Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) wants his people’s land back, land that is now part of the Yellowstone Ranch.

Key Moment John’s oldest son, Lee (Dave Annable), is killed fighting to protect what’s theirs.

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“No Good Horses” (Season 1, Episode 3)

Why It’s Great “Today’s the [day] I want to forget the most,” John says on the anniversary of his wife Evelyn’s death. It’s a day that Rip (Cole Hauser) and Jamie can’t forget when Beth turns a trough into an outdoor bathtub. Plus, when Kayce leaves Tate to rescue a kidnapped girl, the young boy faces off against a snake—and wins. He really is his father’s son.

Key Moment A flashback reveals a young Beth’s (Kylie Rogers) tense relationship with her mother (Gretchen Mol) and her guilt about her role in the Dutton matriarch’s death.

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“The Long Black Train” (Season 1, Episode 4)

Why It’s Great Not everyone who works at the ranch has the brand, but those who don’t have it still treat it with the respect it deserves—the ranch owns you, but it’s also a symbol of loyalty that protects you. Plus, John spends the day with Tate and saves him from drowning.

Key Moment After a ranch wrangler picks on the wrong man (Jefferson White’s branded Jimmy), John recommends to Rip that he be brought to the “train station”: killed and thrown off a cliff, where no one will find his body. It’s far from the only time someone ends up there.

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“Coming Home” (Season 1, Episode 5)

Why It’s Great Jamie can be useful to the family, like getting Kayce out of some legal trouble, but he’s reminded of his place when his dad notes he can’t be what John needs: evil like his sister. Plus, Rip collects Walker (Ryan Bingham) from prison for the open wrangler spot. Oh, the trouble he’ll cause in the bunkhouse.

Key Moment One of the few times we see any affection between Beth and Jamie comes as she grieves the loss of their mother, how her mother looked at her with no love in her heart, as she holds a gun under her own chin. It makes seeing them at each other’s throats, as they almost always are, that much more enjoyable.

Paramount Network

“The Unravelling, Part 1” (Season 1, Episode 8)

Why It’s Great It’s a good look at John’s relationship with one of his sons, Jamie, and with the man who is pretty close to being one, Rip. When Rip’s in trouble after failing to rescue two people on a cliff and shooting a bear, Jamie’s unreachable, and John isn’t too pleased.

Key Moment A 1997 flashback shows how a young Rip (Kyle Red Silverstein) stopped his abusive father after he’d killed his family and then met John Dutton (Josh Lucas) and came to work on his ranch.

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“Touching Your Enemy” (Season 2, Episode 5)

Why It’s Great After speaking to a reporter, Sarah (Michaela Conlin), in Season 1 about his father, Jamie now tries to walk back his quotes, but she clues him in on his “lack of options.” Instead of helping, Beth literally drags Jamie into a confession with John. Plus, Jimmy’s introduced to a world that becomes everything to him: the rodeo.

Key Moment Flashbacks show the early days of Beth and Rip.

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“Blood the Boy” (Season 2, Episode 6)

Why It’s Great Jamie tries to fix his mess with Sarah but makes it even worse, killing her and turning to Rip to cover it up. Plus, in a flashback, John puts Jamie (Dalton Baker) on the path to become something to help protect the ranch: a lawyer.

Key Moment Only Jamie would react to a reporter refusing not to print his on-the-record quotes by slamming her head into her car—and then strangling her to death while sobbing that he’s sorry.

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“Resurrection Day”(Season 2, Episode 7)

Why It’s Great There is some terrific entertainment amid the darkness: Kayce and Monica reunite, plus Beth and Season 2 villain Malcolm Beck (Neal McDonough) verbally spar in her office. And then Kayce has the bloody bodies of the men Malcolm hired to attack his sister hung outside his house with a message: “Return to Sender.”

Key Moment Beth told Rip to save “I love you” for “when it saves me.” And he does just that, at the end of the series’ most brutal scene—after he kills the men who attacked her. She handles the violence as expected: head-on, with vulgar taunting and by delivering a beating of her own with an ashtray.

Paramount Network

“Enemies by Monday” (Season 2, Episode 9)

Why It’s Great The rivalry between the Duttons and the Becks escalates, ending with Tate being abducted from the ranch. Jimmy gets revenge after his grandfather was killed even though Jimmy had paid off his debts.

Key Moment “You judged my skin,” Monica makes clear to a salesperson who accuses her of stealing. But little does that clerk know that Beth is her sister-in-law, and while Monica may not want to subject her to the humiliation she is undergoing—stripping down for the police—Beth has no qualms about that and shows ferocious loyalty to her sister-in-law. She makes Veronique (Allison Dunbar), an old highschool friend, strip in the middle of the store, and adds insults to the injury: “Spanx…what a shocker. You had an ass like a 12-year-old boy in high school. What happened?” Lesson learned: Don’t mess with Beth’s family.

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“Sins of the Father” (Season 2, Episode 10)

Why It’s Great It’s all hands (and Rip’s body instead of an armored vehicle) on deck to save Tate from the militia the Becks have holding him. Dutton nemesis Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston) and the Beck brothers are killed. (Terry Serpico’s Teal gets it while on the toilet!) Tate’s rescue—especially his shouts as Kayce finds him—is heartbreaking.

Key Moment John confronts Malcolm Beck with a few bullets to get him to give up his grandson Tate’s location, in a satisfying capper to their rivalry. “I wish we never met,” Malcolm says as he dies, a sentiment we’re sure many share. “I bet you do,” John replies.

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“You’re the Indian Now” (Season 3, Episode 1)

Why It’s Great After what happened with the Becks, John must step down as livestock commissioner and trust Jamie to take over. “I won’t betray you,” his son says. His word doesn’t mean much. Plus, John helps Tate with his nightmares from the kidnapping and we meet the Duttons and Chief Rainwater’s new common enemy, Market Equities, as it plans an airport in the area.

Key Moment Beth encounters hedge fund manager Roarke Morris (Josh Holloway) when she finds him fishing on their land…if he gets out of the water on either side, he’ll be on Dutton property. Their banter, about his stamina and a possible dinner date, is some much-needed fun after Season 2’s bloodbath finale.

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“Cowboys and Dreamers” (Season 3, Episode 5)

Why It’s Great When Beth and Rip were teens, she ended things after discovering she was pregnant. In the present day, a rival from John’s past (Boots Southerland’s Wade) shows up, and Mia (Eden Brolin) and Laramie (Hassie Harrison) bring a bit of fun to the bunkhouse.

Key Moment Young Jamie takes teen Beth for her abortion…at a clinic where the requirement is sterilization, which he doesn’t tell her.

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“The Beating” (Season 3, Episode 7)

Why It’s Great Beth asks John if Rip can have her hand and, after getting permission, is the one to propose. Plus, Jamie’s world is turned upside down when he discovers he was adopted.

Key Moment Jamie confronts John about judging men who don’t keep their word, and John drops some harsh truths on his son: His biological father beat his mother to death when Jamie was 3 months old, and the Duttons are the only ones who ever cared for and protected him. He leaves it up to Jamie to look into his real dad’s “rotten heart and choose who you call father.”

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“Meaner Than Evil” (Season 3, Episode 9)

Why It’s Great The wranglers get revenge after Wade and his son Clint (Brent Walker) attack Colby (Denim Richards) and Teeter (Jen Landon). Clint’s death comes when he rides into a tree branch. Wade’s is much more painful, after he spills that Roarke hired them: His brand is cut off (on John’s orders), and he’s hanged.

Key Moment For getting their revenge, Ryan (Ian Bohen), Colby and Teeter must pay the price and take the brand.

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“The World Is Purple” (Season 3, Episode 10)

Why It’s Great It takes all season, but John and Roarke finally face off in a very crowded and contentious meeting in Jamie’s office about the Duttons’ land. Plus, Beth brings down Market Equities CEO Willa Hayes (Karen Pittman), and Jamie distances himself from the family.

Key Moment As the finale ends, three Duttons are attacked in quick succession: Beth’s office (and assistant) explodes, Kayce comes under fire at work, and John is shot multiple times on the side of the road.

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“Half the Money” (Season 4, Episode 1)

Why It’s Great Not only do we find out who lived, but Chief Rainwater and Mo (Mo Brings Plenty) dig into who was behind the attacks. Plus, Rip effectively wields a snake in a cooler as the murder weapon against Roarke. “Good riddance” indeed, as the foreman says.

Key Moment It’s almost impossible to breathe through the first 13 minutes, picking up where the Season 3 finale left off. Monica and Tate fight for their lives on the ranch (with help from the wranglers), while Kayce hunts down his father’s shooters.

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“I Want to Be Him” (Season 4, Episode 6)

Why It’s Great Jamie pulls a gun on his biological father, Garrett (Will Patton), after realizing he was behind the attacks on his family. The tension between Lloyd (Forrie J. Smith) and Walker over Laramie boils over. Plus, Beth trades barbs with activist Summer (Piper Perabo) after finding her in the kitchen in her father’s shirt.

Key Moment Lloyd smashes Walker’s guitar and then stabs him in the shoulder. While the vet hesitates to remove the knife, Laramie just yanks it out.

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“Keep the Wolves Close” (Season 4, Episode 7)

Why It’s Great Wrangler Avery’s (Tanaya Beatty) return might be trouble for Kayce and Monica’s marriage. Teeter fights for her spot in the bunkhouse after John had Rip kick the women out following Lloyd and Walker’s blowup.

Key Moment Jamie thinks Governor Perry (Wendy Moniz) is about to endorse him as her replacement when she endorses John instead. Beth absolutely delights in Jamie’s reaction.

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“No Such Thing as Fair” (Season 4, Episode 9)

Why It’s Great From John and Beth having it out more than once to Jamie’s two fathers coming face-to-face (finally) to Jimmy becoming a cowboy at the 6666 Ranch, it’s the perfect setup for a season finale.

Key Moment John confronts Beth after realizing the part she played in Summer’s arrest. At first, she shrugs it off because she’s protecting him and the ranch. But he tells her, “My kingdom, my rules,” and because of her “cruel” behavior, she must find a new home. It’s one of the few times we see Beth vulnerable.

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“Grass on the Streets and Weeds on the Rooftops” (Season 4, Episode 10)

Why It’s Great Rip and Beth marry after she kidnaps a priest at gunpoint. Beth forces Jamie to make a choice after she learns his father orchestrated the attacks on the family. He picks the option that saves his own skin.

Key Moment After Jamie kills his biological father, Beth snaps a photo as he’s disposing of the body at the “train station.” Now, he’s hers (and John’s).