To be a Yellowstone fan is to agonize over the Dutton family's latest feud, suffer endless cliffhanger endings and white-knuckle your way through seriously high-stakes political gamesmanship. One moment, you're rooting for Beth and Rip's happy ending; the next, you're wondering whether Jamie is the real victim here, after all. A lot has gone down in the Dutton family over the course of the show's five seasons, so we're running back the greatest hits. Below, we mark the biggest, most important moments in Yellowstone history, and rank them according to how well they define this world we now call the Dutton-verse.
These scenes spotlight the Dutton dynasty in all their dysfunctional glory. There are fights, reconciliations, deaths and a lifetime's worth of come-to-Jesus moments. They'll make you laugh, cry and question everything you thought John Dutton stood for. But, hey, if you don't love the Duttons at their worst, you certainly don't deserve them at their best.
#10: Beth Sticks Up For Monica
It may seem like small fry compared to that time Monica (Kelsey Asbille) volunteered as bait to catch a serial killer, but her and Beth's (Kelly Reilly) surprising bonding moment in Season 2, Episode 9 is crucial. When a saleswoman at a boutique racially profiles Monica, leading the cops to come and strip-search her for stolen goods, Beth goes off in defense of her sister-in-law. Despite her tough exterior, Beth makes a habit of protecting the innocent. And the moment serves as a poignant reminder of the vast chasm between Monica's experience and that of all other Dutton women.
#9: Kayce Opens Up About His War Guilt
In Season 2, Episode 5, we get some insight into how Kayce's (Luke Grimes) time as a decorated Navy SEAL changed him. He tells John (Kevin Costner) a heartbreaking story about a warlord in Pakistan who used his wife and child as human shields, spraying Kayce's soldiers with bullets. Rather than risk more of his own men's lives, Kayce made the call to fire on the entire family. "Soldiers don't tell war stories anymore, dad," he says with tears in his eyes. "'Cause wars these days... it's just about trying to live through them."
#8: Beth Nearly Shoots Herself in the Car
That Season 1, Episode 5 car ride from hell may just be the sweetest moment sworn enemies Beth and Jamie (Wes Bentley) have ever shared. Beth tells Jamie that he's never suffered loss, and she threatens to shoot herself. He thinks she's bluffing, but she pulls the trigger. She misses and starts crying. In a weird heart-to-heart, Jamie tells her almost tenderly, "If hating me keeps you from hating yourself, I'll be that for you." Their mutual hatred sustains them.
#7: John Expels Jamie From the Ranch
In the first part of Yellowstone's Season 1 finale, "The Unravelling," John's disappointment in Jamie comes to a head. When Jamie refuses to drop out of the Attorney General race, John socks him in the face and bans him from the Yellowstone until he starts putting the family above his own interests. Jamie will eventually withdraw his bid, but the seeds of his dangerous discontent are sown in this scene.
#6: Rip Saves Beth
Malcolm Beck's henchmen storm Beth's office in Season 2, Episode 7, killing her assistant and beating her badly. Rip (Cole Hauser) charges in like a bull, throwing a chair through a glass divider, gouging a guy's eye out (classic) and taking a smattering of bullets as if he's made of steel. Beth is inconsolable with shock and rage, and Rip tells her he loves her. Those crazy kids...
#5: Jamie Kills His Biological Father
When Beth learns in the Season 4 finale that Jamie's birth father Garrett Randall put the hits out on the Duttons, she gives her brother three choices: She turns him in for attempted murder, she lets Rip tear him to pieces or he kills Randall himself. Jamie chooses patricide and Beth snaps a photo of him dumping Randall's body at the train station. It's the ultimate leverage. "You should've picked options one or two," she says. "'Cause you're f*****n' mine now."
#4: The Truth Behind Beth's Infertility
Yellowstone Season 3, Episode 6 is one of the most horrific installments of the series. It's revealed that Beth got pregnant with Rip's child as a teenager and sought Jamie's help. He took her to a clinic for Native Americans, where abortions were only performed with forced sterilization. John is livid when he learns the truth, shouting at Jamie, "Who the f*** do you think you were to take that from her?"
#3: The Dutton Massacre
Every Yellowstone fan remembers where they were when the Dutton family was attacked in the Season 3 finale. Beth's office is bombed, Kayce is trapped in a shootout and John is shot down while helping a woman stranded on the roadside. They all survived, but for a good year between seasons, the fate of the Duttons hung in the balance. This was the family at their most vulnerable, and the series finale will be hard-pressed to top it.
#2: John Gifts Rip the Ancestral Dutton Home
The Season 2 finale of Yellowstone, "Sins of the Father," is an all-timer episode that alters the Dutton family legacy. Before going head-to-head with the Becks, John writes a touching letter declaring Rip his son and gifting him the original Dutton cabin. Beth reads the letter aloud, and the waterworks begin. It's been a long time coming, but Rip is officially part of the family.
#1: Lee's Death
The death of Lee Dutton (Dave Annable), the firstborn son, in Yellowstone's magnificent 2018 series premiere is the catalyst for the entire series — its dynastic drama and political heft. It also marks the beginning of Kayce's reconciliation with his father. After shooting Lee, Monica's brother takes aim at Kayce. Kayce kills him, then rides through the night with Lee's body on horseback to deliver him to the Yellowstone. Felix was right when he said, "Until they find a cure for human nature, a man must stand with his people." But at what cost?