SPOILER ALERTS ABOUND: After the MTV Entertainment/101 Studios drama Yellowstone continued to hit high water ratings marks for the Paramount Network, Taylor Sheridan ended Season Four with an action-packed finale that for the second time in two weeks, saw a major character killed by gunfire, in shocking fashion. It was a tour de force episode for Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly), the fearless daughter and avenging angel for father John Dutton (Kevin Costner), as he tries to hang onto the largest ranch in Montana. Beth’s season began with her emerging in a daze from the smoking remains of his office, surviving but left horribly scarred from a bomb. By the end of tonight’s finale, she will have taken a scary unconsummated conjugal visit with the head mercenary who masterminded the attack on her family, created a hated and powerful enemy in her soon to be ex-boss (Jacki Weaver), kidnapped at gunpoint a Catholic priest for a wedding, and forever gained the upper hand on her hated adopted brother Jamie (Wes Bentley).
The exited cast member’s identity is at the bottom of this dispatch, and it follows on the heels of last week’s death of Sheriff Donnie Haskell (Hugh Dillon). Dillon co-created with Sheridan The Mayor Of Kingstown and plays a major role on that Paramount+ series, so he’s got plenty to do as that show gears up for a second season, with the first concluding next Sunday. But Dillon’s crooked lawman character had mended his corrupt ways after being in the pocket of the diabolical Beck Brothers in Season Two. He was a useful ally for John Dutton, and his death in a gun battle was a surprise that left in charge a new sheriff who is not under Dutton’s thumb.
Grass On The Streets begins with Rip (Cole Hauser) awakened by the noise that Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) makes as she hastily packs her belongings in a suit case. When John Dutton found out from the environmental crusader – and his one night stand — Summer Higgins (Piper Perabo) that Beth told her to organize a protest for a photo op that left her facing decades in prison, dad was irate. About the only person Beth feels compelled to please, John Dutton told his daughter how disappointed in her he was, and that perhaps it would be best if he fought his battles himself and she found another place to call home. While Beth said she underestimated how important Summer was to her father (she has severe daddy issues and gives a hard time to any woman she finds in his bedroom), it’s clear that Beth has lost her ability to read her father’s moral compass in knowing who warrants mercy and who doesn’t.
Rip stops the packing simply by reminding Beth that she made a promise to him and if she leaves and breaks it, it is over for them. This is a tough as nails ranch boss who saved her life and got shot up when she was about to be tortured and murdered by mercenaries in Season Two (he killed both thugs), and exhumed his buried mother to be able to give Beth her wedding ring. Rip’s beloved mother was murdered by his abusive father (whose skull young Rip crushed with a skillet). Beth doesn’t yet know about the ring, but she quickly comes to her senses and realizes she cannot simply bail.
Anyway, Beth has too much score settling to do in what becomes a busy day for her. After apologizing to her father and getting his blessing to stay, she sets herself to sinking everybody’s battleship. That starts with Carter (Finn Little), the youth she took in after watching his father OD in the hospital where her own father was being brought back to life from gunshot wounds sustained in the ambush. The kid tried to take advantage of Beth and wound up sleeping in the barn and shoveling horse manure. But things have gotten better for the youth, who now sleeps in the main house and seems to be settling into a relationship with Beth and Rip his guardians. Even John Dutton dotes on the kid. As she passes, Carter greets Beth with a friendly “hi, mom” and she instinctively answers, “hey baby.” She then stops herself in her tracks and tells the soon sobbing boy she is not his mother only his friend. You only get one mother and no amount of crying will bring her back. Beth’s maternal instincts are a work in progress.
Next she approaches Walker, the ex-con singing ranch hand (Ryan Bingham) who only a few shows ago brawled with fellow cowboy Lloyd (Forrie Smith). They had a toss in the hay that nearly drove Rip to murder. Now, she is only interested in his experience in prison. Can one set a conjugal visit? And how does one smuggle a weapon? When Rip asks Walker what was said, he responded simply, “She was asking me about prison. I think she wants to kill somebody.” Rip swears Walker to silence and races to confront his lover. While Rip tells Beth he will take care of any dirty business she requires, Beth says simply, “this one’s just for me.”
More fireworks come as Jimmy Hurdstrom (Jefferson White) drives from the 6666 ranch in Texas (a Four Sixes spinoff show is surely coming), and enters the Yellowstone bunk house while the cowboys play cards with the female barrel racers who were fired earlier this season but keep coming back. When Jimmy introduces his fiancé Emily (Kathryn Kelly), his old girlfriend Mia (Eden Brolin) bolts from a winning card hand and promptly punches Jimmy in the jaw. She gets into a full scale brawl with Emily, who gives as good as she gets.
Alone with Mia, Jimmy stands his ground and after reminding Mia she told him they were through if he went to the Texas ranch, she chastises him for not fighting for her. Told to choose, Jimmy makes it clear he has. Mia storms off. Considering that Mia rushed him back in the saddle after a devastating rodeo accident, and Jimmy had to go through another painful rehab, and got sent to Texas where he met Emily, who could blame him for choosing a partner happy with who he is?
Jimmy made the most of his time in Texas and the ranch John Dutton sent him to. His old cowboy mates cannot believe his roping skills, and newfound cowboy confidence. Especially Rip, who tasered and then branded Jimmy when he was a worthless meth addict living in a trailer, and Lloyd, who encouraged Jimmy’s rodeo ambitions when it proved to be the first thing he was actually good at. Tough guy Lloyd wells up when he says, “Damn, Jimmy, you’re a cowboy already.”
Interspersed with Beth’s search and destroy mission and the ranch are scenes of Kayce on his vision quest to figure out why he’s been haunted by a wolf who shows up near the house he moved his wife and son into after the trauma they experienced. After four days with no food or water and merely a blanket to cover him, he awakens to see his brother Lee (Dave Annable), who was killed in the show’s pilot. The vision turns nightmarish, and it isn’t the last one for him.
Back to Beth. She sits in her office as her boss Caroline Warner stops by her desk to tell her she has given Beth enough rope to hang herself with her sabotage campaign, knowing she is the spy who has been thwarting the company’s efforts to gain a foothold in the Montana acreage owned by her father.
“I’m gonna put the public restroom right where your house is, cut down every tree, dam every creek,” Warner seethes. “I am going to rape your fu*king ranch to death. You, you little bitch, you’re going to prison. Needless to say, you’re fired.”
Looking slightly bored, Beth says to herself it’s time for her date. She bids farewell to her handsome young assistant: “See you, Cal,” she says sweetly. “You’ve been as uninteresting as I expected.” If Cal knew how Beth’s last two assistants exited – one murdered by mercenaries, the other was blown to smithereens after opening a box with the bomb in it – he might feel like he got a big raise.
Beth has a more pressing date: the conjugal visit she has arranged with Riggins (Bruno Amato), the prison lifer who orchestrated the ambush of her father and brother, and the bombing of her office by militia members that left her scarred. Dressed in a shimmering and revealing gold colored dress, she gets past the guards. The murderer enters, confused, until she tells him who she is. Initially, she seems determined to kill him, but after he tells her that her estranged adopted brother had come to see him and got a full confession (Jamie’s ex-con father was a former cell mate of Riggins and got him to set in motion the attempted mass murder that would have left Jamie in sole possession of the Dutton Ranch), Beth decides a good long life rotting in prison would be better fate for Riggins. She reminds the killer that he will never leave the prison, and as old age slows him, he will realize that he would have been better off not having ever existed. She hopes he lives to 100. Despite being in a room on a conjugal visit with a dangerous killer, Beth as usual shows no fear.
Driving back, Beth spies a priest. Soon, she is home, and telling Rip, her father and young Carter to come outside. There stands the priest, and Beth tells Rip they’re getting married…right now. When John Dutton reminds Beth the family isn’t Catholic, she said she doesn’t care. Rip doesn’t either, and after fetching his mother’s ring and his Best Man Lloyd, they tie the knot. And the priest tells them he won’t press charges –John is not pleased to learn his daughter kidnapped the cleric at gunpoint – if he can get a ride back to his parish.
We’re back to Kayce, who is hallucinating about an ambush that left most of his Navy SEAL mates slaughtered. Since he moves sluggishly compared to the stone killer skills he displayed for four seasons, it is hard to tell what is real and imagined, but the wolves are howling in the distance when he awakens from his dream.
Next, we find the environmentalist Summer Higgins in court, reassured that John Dutton is in a seat behind her. While Montana judge Mitchell Davis owes Dutton a favor, it doesn’t stop him from negating a plea deal and invoking a sentence that will leave her in prison and ineligible for parole for 14 years, mostly for assault on a police officer. The judge sees her as an environmental terrorist. While she cries out at the judge – I’m trying to change the world and you’re taking my life? – Dutton centers the young woman, and tells her the fight is just beginning with an appeal to be filed. He then successfully presses the judge to cut down the sentence, which the judge calls “your pound of flesh.” Dutton is angry, but these are two men who are trying to preserve a way of life, and there is grudging respect and a sense of futility.
When the judge agrees to lessen the stiffest parts of the sentence, he says that when he looks at his grandchildren, he wonders what the world will be like for them in Montana. Dutton could not be less encouraging.
“Grass will cover the streets, and weeds will cover the rooftops. I don’t think we make it 100 years. And then God starts over and tries again, if he’s got the stomach for it,” Dutton says.
Back to Beth, and the inevitable clash with adopted sibling Jamie we’ve been waiting for. After showing him she has the evidence proving he was at least an unwitting accomplice in the attempt to wipe out the Dutton family, and shielded his biological father Garrett Randall (Will Patton) for setting up the hit, she tells Jamie she has set her affairs in order, so that she can kill him. But she lays out a couple of alternative scenarios for him.
The first involves Beth telling her father of his actions, which woud lead to both Jamie and Garrett being arrested. She promises him that his woman-killing father will quickly turn on his biological son and take an immunity deal for testimony that will send Jamie to prison. She forecasts a short stay for him, since he will likely commit suicide after his first prison rape.
Option Two: Beth tells her new husband Rip about all this, and how Jamie orchestrated his sister’s abortion at a Native American free clinic, even though he knew but didn’t tell his sister that it meant sterilization for her and no chance to start a family when she was ready. And since the aborted baby was Rip’s, and since Rip will never be able to have a family now, Beth tells Jamie her husband will find him no matter where he runs, and tear him apart with his bare hands.
Only when Jamie is on his knees, groveling and begging, does Beth offer a third option. And the scene ends.
Back to Kayce, who is now delirious and sees a young woman who brings him to the precipice of a cliff and explains he will have to choose a path. Presumably this will involve whether or not he will become the heir to the Dutton Ranch when his father passes on. Kayce wakes up and returns home and when his wife asks what did he see, Kayce says, “I saw the end of us.”
It’s now Jimmy’s time to leave to return to the Four Sixes, and while Lloyd tips his hat to avoid another tearful episode with his protégé, Rip makes clear the young man has his respect and can always return. We will likely be seeing him again heading a cowboy cast on the Texas ranch, sooner or later, if Sheridan can find time to script 10 episodes of yet another series.
The next scene has Jamie approaching his biological father, who sits by a lake on his son’s recently bought property. Garrett informs Jamie he’s leaving. It’s clear he would kill Jamie’s run for governor, if it got out the candidate was housing the man who murdered his crack addict mother while Jamie was a baby. Garrett seems sincere as he explains that Jamie can have it all if he stops allowing the Dutton clan to make him fearful. Garrett tells his son, “Don’t let those fu*king Duttons deceive you into thinking you’re a bad man. You’re a good man, son, and I love you.”
A weepy Jamie returns the sentiment. And then puts a bullet into his father’s head.
If Jamie thought that would be the low point of his day, he was mistaken. After crossing the border into Wyoming to dump his father’s body at the fabled “train station” where so many Dutton enemies find their final resting place, Jamie is interrupted by his sister. She photographs him as he carries his father’s dead body to the cliff. She says both option one and two would have been better for Jamie, “because you’re mine now.” Now, the truth is if cops scoured the bottom of the “train station” ravine to find Jamie’s dad, they would also find a graveyard of Dutton victims. But perhaps she knows her brother is so fearful he will not think of it.
She returns after the long day to see her father waiting impatiently. He asks where she has been, and Beth says she was off keeping her promise. “I swore to destroy anyone who hurts you.” John Dutton figures she has killed her brother. He said he loves his adopted son even though he has been “a disappointment and my greatest failure.” Has Beth killed him?
She says no. He’s still around, “and now you own him, daddy.” She heads off to sleep, her day of hellraising and score settling done.
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