Yellowstone Ranch

7 Pivotal Moments From This Week’s Episode of 'Yellowstone'

In Yellowstone country, nothing comes easy. That's clear pretty early in this episode when the rustling team, all messy haired and happy from a night spent camping with loved ones, hits the range and discovers that—oops!—their whole herd might have to be destroyed after a run-in with some dead buffalo and a threat of Brucellosis. Beth Dutton might have a solution, but that's assuming the whole family doesn't get derailed by Jamie, high on his own supply from his dalliance with Sarah Atwood and threatening impeachment proceedings. But we'll come back to that. Here are seven pivotal things you might have missed on this week's episode of Yellowstone

Rip's ties to the ranch go deeper than we ever knew

It's always been clear that Rip Wheeler has been a Yellowstone ranch die-hard, and he's done everything in his power to prove his loyalty to the Dutton clan. With this week's episode, we finally got a look at a little of where that came from when we learn that young John Dutton helped keep Rip from going to jail for murder. As it turns out, that guy that Beth messed around with in front of Rip, a ranch hand named Rowdy, is also a little mouthy and when he and Rip are out keeping watch over the herd, he tries to start something with Rip. Rip bests him in a fist fight, but when the guy pulls a knife, Rip grabs a rock and clocks him. He leaves him alive and later, when the man is clearly doing poorly, Rip goes for help. After he rounds up John and Lloyd, they head back to the campsite, where they find that the hand has died. John chastises Rip for telling him the truth about what happened—something the hand told him not to do—and says that he can help him cover this up, but that in turn, Rip will have to be "part of this ranch until the day you die." "You will do what I say do, no matter what that is," John says. Rip readily agrees, telling John that the ranch is the only family he's got.

Jamie's mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore

Poor little rich boy Jamie Dutton is being fully exploited by Sarah now, who's realized that the way into his heart is through his ego. (or his pants.) He tells her that he was raised to run a ranch, and that's the life he loves, but that John made him become a lawyer, even applying to Harvard for him and without his consent. (Sarah suggests that Beth probably wrote the essay, which makes Jamie recoil.) He thinks his dad hates him for becoming what he pushed him toward becoming in the first place and she asks if his dad's love is even something he really wants. Jamie responds by saying that he would at least like his approval and appreciation.

All of this, of course, is leading up to Sarah suggesting that Jamie should be the governor and that they're going to find a way to make that happen and quick. Montana is dying, she says, and Jamie's the only one who can save it. They have to embrace tourism and do it quickly, or they'll get trampled and left behind. (I should note that this is somewhat ironic because I would think, if anything, Yellowstone has driven a lot of tourism to the state in recent years, and John Dutton seems to hate tourists.) 

Sarah's full plan comes to fruition later as she and Ellis tell Jamie that Market Equities is going to sue the state for putting the land in a conservation easement, which will undoubtedly eat up almost all of the state's budget and force them to declare bankruptcy. When Ellis leaves, Sarah notes that John recklessly leading the state into financial disarray is probably an impeachable offense. Jamie perks up when he hears that, and gets even more excited when he hears that Market Equities is willing to back his political campaign. (As to whether they will, that's a whole other can of worms, but better the pushover they know, I guess.) 

At the end of the episode, we see Jamie delivering a draft of the impeachment speech he'll give in the mid-season finale in January, and I've got to say: I cannot see this ending in any way other than Jamie getting fully murdered. I'm open to being pleasantly surprised, but the dude has just gone too far at this point.

Even presidents shake your hand while stabbing you in the back

In last week's episode, the unnamed president of the United States visited the Broken Rock reservation. Chairman Thomas Rainwater was skeptical, of course, but he sat on the dais. This week, though, we find out from Senator Lynelle that the Department of the Interior has approved plans for two pipelines in Montana, both of which will run right through the reservation—and right under their water supply, meaning all the residents will probably get that whole "flaming faucet" thing you've seen online. The government doesn't even really need to ask if they can do it, Rainwater says, before roping Lynelle into standing with him—and for him—at a press conference opposing the pipeline. He also asks Lynelle to see if he can get John there, though if John gets impeached next episode, he might not really want that.

What in the world is brucellosis? 

As I mentioned in the preview, the Duttons are facing potential ruin because their herd has been exposed to brucellosis. There's little explanation in the show as to what that is, but according to the Mayo Clinic, "Brucellosis is a bacterial infection that spreads from animals to people. Most commonly, people are infected by eating raw or unpasteurized dairy products. Sometimes, the bacteria that cause brucellosis can spread through the air or through direct contact with infected animals."

People who get brucellosis may experience fever, joint pain, and fatigue, and it can be treated with antibiotics. The treatment can take months, though, and the infection can recur. Interestingly, the Mayo Clinic also notes that, "In the United States, an aggressive vaccination program has nearly eliminated brucellosis in livestock herds," though that's apparently not the case at the Dutton ranch.

The Duttons are getting hosed by selling cattle and not beef

After Beth learns the astronomical costs of moving half the herd to some land somewhere, she starts to ask her father about the economics of the business. Why doesn't he just sell the cows, she questions? He says if he can get them to 750 pounds a piece, he can sell them each for $1.50 a pound, which Beth scoffs at. A good steak, she points out, can go for $30. Hamburger is, at worst, $5 a pound. Why is the ranch getting garbage money for its cattle when there's money to be made in beef? 

John tells her that he sells cattle, not beef, and that his business model has worked for 100 years. Beth comes in hot in response, telling him that it's absolutely not working or they wouldn't be in such hot water—and Montana would be filled with ranches and not vacation homes and hobby farms. 

The 6666 Ranch Beth calls should sound familiar

Throughout the past couple seasons of Yellowstone, fans have heard the name "four sixes" thrown around. It's where Jimmy got sent after the invasion, and now it's the place that Beth calls to dig for information about selling beef direct online. If you're a diehard Yellowstone fan, you'll also know it's the name of a massive Texas ranch that just so happens to be owned in part by Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan. If you go to their website, you'll see that they do actually sell beef online. Whether or not it's actually 8 million pounds a year like they claim is anyone's guess, but there is suspicion that they're actually going to be opening up a steakhouse in Fort Worth sometime soon as well, so either way, it seems like things are going well.

How in the world are Rip, Ryan, and company going to be gone for a full year?

When John mentioned that a team from the ranch would have to run the herd down to warmer pastures, Rip volunteered. He's the ranch manager, after all, and he should fall on whatever sword there is. He picks his own team, including Ryan and Teeter, all of whom thank him for the opportunity. As we find out later at the fair, though, that means that they're all going to be gone from the ranch for "maybe a year," if not more. 

While Beth says she'll figure out a way to make that work, even if she has to move down to the middle of nowhere to be with Rip, Ryan's new lady Abby doesn't take it quite as well, storming off. After Ryan tracks her down, he gives her a pretty moving speech about something to the effect of, "if the Grand Ole Opry is your Super Bowl, then moving 5,000 head, seeing them through the winter, and protecting them is mine." She tells him that she supports him chasing his dreams, but that she just wished his dream was her. Sick burn!

But what does half the bunkhouse moving south mean for Yellowstone? Not just the ranch, but the show? This could mean another way into the in-the-works 6666 Ranch show, which Sheridan is working on for Paramount+. It's been speculated that Walker would get shipped off to that show to do more "real cowboy stuff" anyway, so moving him down there with the cattle could make a lot of sense. Either way, it should be interesting to see how it all plays out.  

READ MORE: Taylor Sheridan Says Those Who Call 'Yellowstone' a 'Red-State Show' Probably Haven't Watched It