‘Yellowstone’: A Complete Guide to Beth & Rip’s Tumultuous Love Story

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Beth & Rip - Yellowstone Collector's Edition Magazine

Beth & Rip

Yellowstone Collector's Edition

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Yellowstone may be all about the Dutton family, led by patriarch John (Kevin Costner), doing whatever it takes to protect their land and ranch, but it also has heart — specifically with its central romance.

From youthful flirtations to steamy hookups, the wildest “first date” ever and yes, a wedding ceremony that would befit only these two beloved badasses, here’s the chronological guide to the tumultuous love story between rich cattle rancher’s daughter Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) and loyal, rugged ranch hand Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser).

This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s Beth & Rip: Yellowstone Collector’s Edition issue, available online and on newsstands now.

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"Touching Your Enemy" (Season 2, Episode 5)

Ah, young love. These telling flashbacks to the teenage Beth and Rip (played by Kylie Rogers and Kyle Red Silverstein) arrive in the middle of the drama’s sophomore season, and they give viewers a glimpse of the burgeoning passion that develops between the two. At this time in their lives, both Beth and Rip are unhappy. She grieves for her mother, Evelyn (Gretchen Mol), and he is being bullied by an older man in the bunkhouse (Luce Rains). Not surprisingly, there is hostility at the start. Beth calls Rip “daddy’s new pet” and says she is thinking about getting her own pet. Rip doesn’t like that any more than he likes the older cowboy picking on him. And yet, as she cracks a sly smile, she tells him he can look at her while she walks away, and it’s obvious why she got extra dressed up that morning.

That night, after beating up the bunkhouse bully, who ignites Rip’s fiery anger by repeatedly calling him “little orphan boy,” the teen retreats to his bed in tears. Beth is waiting for him, and when their eyes meet, the tension in the barn is intense. They bond over how angry they feel about the loss of loved ones and their roles in those deaths (she, her mother and he, his family). Suddenly, Beth asks Rip to kiss her. “I don’t know how,” he responds. Neither does she. This is a first kiss for both. It is uncertain, awkward and gentle, but the spark is there. And though we know it already, it’s clear these two are destined for a great love story.

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"Daybreak" (Season 1, Episode 1)

The first time Rip and Beth share screen time in the series is inside the Dutton ranch house, and it’s immediately clear these two have a history. Rip is looking for his boss — Beth’s father, John, but only Beth is present, smoking in a bathrobe. “You look nervous, Rip,” she says. “Like a stray dog who can’t enjoy being in the house because he’s so worried about the broom.”

After a quick teasing moment, Beth opens her robe. She gives him a choice between walking away or getting intimate with her. (Her language is, naturally, much more colorful.) He chooses the latter. Afterward, Rip invites her to attend a music festival. “You ruin it every time,” she says, rejecting his offer and insinuating that he should know better than to ask her to an event like that. With Beth, almost every moment is sugar and spice.

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"Kill the Messenger" (Season 1, Episode 2)

“I’ve done some morbid s–t on a first date, but this takes the cake, Rip,” Beth says while the pair sip whiskey out of the bottle and watch wolves devour a carcass. She leans in for a kiss but — surprise — instead breaks out of the car and runs at the wolves, screaming.

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"No Good Horses" (Season 1, Episode 3)

There are hurdles in any relationship, and Beth and Rip’s is no exception, especially given their traumatic pasts. In this hour, Beth isn’t handling the anniversary of her mother’s death well…at all. She picks a fight with her brother Jamie (Wes Bentley) and becomes even further enraged when she spots her father’s girlfriend, Gov. Lynelle Perry (Wendy Moniz), leaving the main house after a tryst with John.

At this point, Beth is deep into the day’s coping mechanism: getting naked and soaking in the outdoor trough with a bottle of champagne. Then Rip shows up. “You need to go into the house,” he orders, offering her a jacket to cover herself. A seething Beth lets him know she doesn’t need him telling her what to do. “I’m the one thing you can’t outwrestle here,” he replies, unfazed. After a tense beat, she gets out and walks to the house, still naked, informing Rip that “everyone suffers today, including you.”

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"The Long Black Train" (Season 1, Episode 4)

As we know, even early on in the series, Beth employs somewhat unorthodox business tactics. In this installment, she invites her father’s latest enemy, land developer Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston), to the local country bar for the express purpose of toying with him. As an amorous cowboy tries to hit on Beth, Dan comes to her defense and is punched in response. Beth jokes that she thought Dan would be tougher.

Beth is no damsel in distress, but after Dan leaves, Rip arrives. He growls at another cowboy, who is leering at Beth: “You’re in my seat — get outta here.” As Rip and Beth drink and enjoy each other’s company, she tells him about her plans to take down Dan: Get him so riled up and emotional that he can’t think straight. It seems to be her tactic with most adversaries.

“This is almost like a music festival,” she later notes, referencing Rip’s initial date offer in the pilot. He compliments her, and they beam at each other. Each knows the other so well, and the sweet moment is comforting. As the band plays on, Rip and Beth dance, holding each other close while the rest of the world fades away. At the end of a hard day (do these two have any other kind?), there’s nothing better than a slow dance.

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"The Unraveling, Part 2" (Season 1, Episode 9)

Emotions are high due to John’s cancer diagnosis and drama on the ranch. And this loaded episode leads to Beth finding herself not in Rip’s arms, but in troublemaking newcomer Walker’s (Ryan Bingham). How do we get there? It starts with Rip and John having a serious discussion about the future of the Dutton ranch. John’s rivals, Dan Jenkins and Chief Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham), are working together on a casino that will be adjacent to John’s land. Worried that none of his three children are ready to assume leadership, John asks Rip to get rid of the problem in such a way that it never comes back — ever. When Beth, lingering outside John’s office, asks a departing Rip what their conversation was about, he ignores her. Wrong move. “I am trying to get a handle on all these messes,” she tells him. “So just don’t do anything reckless.” He retorts: “That’s good advice. Maybe you ought to take it yourself.” Beth really does not like being kept out of the loop.

“I thought I made it clear—this was never exclusive,” she says, assuming he’s mad at her for bringing her assistant Jason (David Cleveland Brown) home with her in an earlier scene. He responds by saying he doesn’t care who she sleeps with, just about her. “I thought we knew each other better than that,” he adds. Ouch.

Later that night, Walker finds Beth outside, lost in thought. He talks about the land not wanting them there. “I felt that way my whole life,” Beth says. He tells her that he wants to leave the ranch, and Beth gestures to his brand (the Y symbol burned into his chest, which means he is forever indebted to the ranch). “Where’s your f—ing brand?” he asks. “Mine’s on the inside,” she says. “I’m stuck here too.”

The two begin kissing, pressed up against the barn. It’s not that Beth really likes Walker — he’s a distraction. Rip was a central part of her bad day, and she knows he is always there for her. There is no doubt that Rip is the only man she loves, and before long their spat will fizzle out and they will return to each other. Their love story is not a straight line, which only makes it that much more interesting.

Yellowstone - Season 2
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"A Thundering" (Season 2, Episode 1)

The drama’s sophomore season opens with this uncharacteristically sweet moment from Beth, where she looks back on her long history with Rip in the fields of the ranch. “I was worried that he’d love you more someday,” Beth tells Rip of her father, the man they are both most devoted to. That, he assures her, “was never in doubt.”

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"Touching Your Enemy" (Season 2, Episode 5)

In the previous episode, “Only Devils Left,” Rip witnessed Beth crying as Walker, one of John’s branded men, played her a sad song on his guitar at her request. The next morning, Beth is feeling guilty over her intimacy with the troublemaker, whom Rip loathes. “I’m sorry, Rip,” she apologizes. “I’m sorry I did that to you.”

This is where Rip, who’s not the least bit angry with her, tells Beth that she never has to apologize to him. They share a brief smile, and the chivalrous rider takes off into the sunset (er, sunrise). The scene shows how deep Rip’s unconditional love for Beth goes, and nothing can change that.

Yellowstone - Cole Hauser & Kelly Reilly
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"Resurrection Day" (Season 2, Episode 7)

Talk about a stark contrast. This episode features arguably the series’ most romantic moment up till now — and also its hardest to watch. Both of those scenes involve Beth and Rip, of course.

First, the two share a poignant rooftop moment. When Beth calls Rip’s cellphone and says, “Come to me,” followed by, “You know where I am,” Rip indeed knows exactly where to go. They meet on the main house’s roof and she asks him to take her on a date. “Lord knows you can afford it,” she adds. “You’ve been wearing the same three pairs of jeans and jacket for a f—ing decade.” But he informs her that money is the one thing he doesn’t have. She insists on knowing why, and though he is reluctant to open up, Rip tells her about the more than $50,000 he spent on headstones for his mother and little brother. He also tells her about the $5,000 he spent getting his murderer father’s bones dug up — so that he could scatter them disrespectfully throughout the country.

Moved, Beth leans on Rip. They stare into each other’s eyes. Rip smiles at her and she knows he’s about to drop an “I love you” into the conversation. “Don’t say it,” Beth pleads. “Tell me when it saves me.” Then, they kiss. Even if he doesn’t say he loves her, it’s clear he means it in this moment.

Later, Beth is viciously attacked in her office in the drama’s most brutal scene. Rip swiftly kills the two men who assaulted her. The savagery gives way to Rip holding and comforting a shaken, furious Beth. “I’m here. You’re safe,” he tells her. “I love you.”

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"Behind Us Only Grey" (Season 2, Episode 8)

Beth barely survived a brutal assassination attempt at the hands of the Beck brothers’ hired guns. Though Rip arrived just in time to save her, he took a bullet in the struggle. Confined to bed to heal, he wakes to the image of Beth’s battered face. With his first words, he wishes her attackers could come back to life, just so he could kill them again — as true a Rip Wheeler “I love you” as there ever was! Despite his injury, he rises to leave, wincing as he gets dressed. “Does it hurt?” Beth asks. “Like hell,” Rip replies, adding that he was born to endure this kind of pain, and he makes the excruciating journey back to the bunkhouse alone — as if to prove it.

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"Freight Trains and Monsters" (Season 3, Episode 2)

This time, it’s Beth who wakes to find a still-recovering Rip cooking her breakfast. Fry bread — his mother’s specialty. “You’re not eating?” Beth asks. “Beth, I ate hours ago,” Rip replies with a smile. “I think I’ll just watch you.” Embarrassed, Beth tries to cover her mouth while she chews, but Rip lowers her hand, insisting she has nothing to hide from him. Beth, never comfortable letting anyone take care of her, is suddenly at her most vulnerable — and grateful — as a loving Rip just watches. Right then, he sees her completely. Who knew a mouthful of eggs could be so romantic?

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"Freight Trains and Monsters" (Season 3, Episode 2)

On a near-empty ranch, Rip hears a wolf’s call, grabs his gun and comes running, only to find the sound was actually a different kind of howling: Beth’s smiling cry of feeling free and alone with him. Lying on the ground in the corral, she says they can do whatever they want, with no one around to see. Rip turns up the lights and the music. “We’re f—ing in the dirt, aren’t we?” Beth asks. “Maybe in a little bit,” Rip answers. “First, we’re gonna dance.”

Yellowstone - Beth & Rip
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"Going Back to Cali" (Season 3, Episode 4)

Being together, waking up together — it’s something these two can get used to, it seems. And another thing: Rip likes the sound of Beth calling him “baby.” But when he asks Beth what he should call her, they’re both surprised by her answer: “wife.” She immediately recants, worrying that she’s ruined everything with a single word. Rip assures her that his future has always belonged to her, if she’d only stop running away long enough to see it. Beth finally confesses her reason for never wanting to stay put — she’s afraid she won’t be enough for him, because she can’t have children.

“Being with me is the end of you,” she tells Rip, who manages a hint of a smile as he puts her fears to rest. “I was born on a dead-end road, honey,” he tells her, claiming the world doesn’t need another generation of Rip Wheelers. Her protests fall on deaf ears: “You’re all I need.” Beth is enough for Rip, even if “Beth” is all he can call her — “for now.”

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"The Beating" (Season 3, Episode 7)

John Dutton is nothing if not a man of tradition. And tradition dictates that if Rip’s to marry Beth, he has to ask her father for permission. John also knows that’s something Rip won’t ever do. His overwhelming respect for the Dutton patriarch prevents him. So it’s up to Beth to seek out what she wants, and John, knowing the stakes, is there to grant her deepest wish. If Rip really makes Beth happy, he says, then it’s she who’ll have to ask permission. So she does — tradition be damned. “Happy is all I ever wanted for you, sweetheart,” John replies. “You give him your hand if he gives you that.”

But when it comes to this “perfect moment,” it appears Rip is anything but ready. He’s had a day, all right — even though he made the right choice first thing in the morning when Beth asked, “Should you go to work [now] or should you lie on top of me?” But after Rip’s unsuccessful horse sale and a flat tire, Beth waits while her man angry-chugs a couple of Coors to make himself feel better. Not one to waste time, Beth then presents Rip with a simple black engagement ring (figuring he’s not a “diamonds and gold kinda girl”). She’s his, Beth says, on one condition: “The only thing I ask is that you outlive me so that I never have to live another day without you.” Rip doesn’t quite get that this is a proposal. But Beth spells it out beautifully, and assures him that John already gave her his blessing. Holding her close, Rip can only say yes (or his version of it): “I would’ve liked some diamonds, actually.”

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

Beth and Rip’s long-awaited nuptials finally arrived in the fourth season’s finale, and it wasn’t just a surprise to fans. Not even Rip knew he’d be getting hitched when he woke up! But that’s life with Beth Dutton — unpredictable.

In fact, Beth had planned to pack up and leave the ranch, and Rip, that very same day. But Rip convinces her not to break her promise and run away from him again.

Instead, she decides to make peace with her father and puts into motion a plan for revenge against adopted brother Jamie and his biological father Garrett Randall (Will Patton). It was Garrett who had orchestrated the vicious attacks on the Duttons, and Jamie, Beth believes, knew about it and did nothing.

To confirm her suspicions, she visits one of the men responsible. In prison. In a slinky gold dress. Posing as a conjugal visitor. Typical day-of-the-wedding bridal behavior? No way. Something very much in character for Beth? You bet!

Then, after making a pit stop at a local church to kidnap a priest at gunpoint (call that something borrowed!), she heads back to the ranch for an impromptu ceremony — “a little business to take care of” before dinner.

Though John tries to convince her to wait for a proper wedding (“Sweetheart, that’s a priest. We aren’t f—ing Catholic!”), Beth doesn’t want to waste any more time. “I don’t give a s–t about the wedding, Dad. I just care about the marriage.”

Rip is happy to oblige Beth’s particular brand of crazy, fetching Lloyd (Forrie J. Smith) — something old! — to be his best man. Despite his protests over her, shall we say, unconventional choice of wedding dress, John Dutton walks his daughter down the aisle.

Rip vows to cherish Beth “through everything, until I die, and then somehow longer, baby.” Beth, however, is too impatient for vows. She keeps things simple, declaring, “F— yes, I do.” With his mother’s ring, Rip and Beth fulfill a lifetime of promises they’ve made to one another, and seal a romance that began in childhood.

But unbeknownst to Rip, Beth has another childhood promise to keep. In lieu of a honeymoon, Beth — her affairs now in order — is free to finally take revenge on Jamie for his monstrous decision to allow her to be sterilized without consent during her teenage abortion.

In a dramatic confrontation with Jamie, Beth threatens to tell Rip the whole truth — that Jamie helped abort his child, and that the procedure ensured they could never have another. Rip, she says, will hunt Jamie down and kill him with his bare hands.

As Jamie begs for his life, Beth gives him another way out: He must kill Garrett. Jamie does so, only to find Beth there to snap a picture of him disposing of the body. To wrap the day in a neat bow, she reminds Jamie that with the photo, “You’re f—ing mine now.”

One day, a wedding. The next, murder and blackmail. Just as Rip’s and Beth’s lives are joined together, Jamie’s life now belongs to Beth. It’s a stark contrast between love and hate that’s all too familiar to the Duttons, a family capable of only so many happily ever afters.

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"Phantom Pain" (Season 4, Episode 2)

After barely surviving the explosive assassination attempt on her life, Beth met teenager Carter (Finn Little) outside the hospital where he was visiting his no-good dying father in the first episode of Season 4. Arrested for shoplifting later, Carter tells the police that Beth is his guardian. Though Rip is skeptical, Beth takes the boy in, believing the ranch will help him become a man, just as it did for Rip at his age. After putting him to work cleaning stalls, Rip eventually takes a shine to Carter. Beth and Rip begin to feel that he just might be the son they thought they could never have.

Carter comes to feel the same, calling Beth “Momma” in the Season 4 finale. She returns the sentiment for just a moment before registering the gravity of the word. That’s not who she is to him, she tells a wounded Carter. “I’m nobody’s mother. Ever.”

But Carter is one of the few to attend Rip and Beth’s outdoor wedding. It seems like the two might just be his parents, even if they’re not yet ready to admit it.