After watching the season two premiere of Yellowstone, it’s no surprise that the show has already been renewed for a third season. It has everything a fan of western dramas could possibly want – beautiful backdrops, family drama, power struggles, horses, racial issues, bar fights, and backroom political deals. While I’ve come to expect all of that from the show, I didn’t expect all of it to take place in the first episode of the second season.
For those who haven’t seen Yellowstone (here come a few plot spoilers from season one), it centers on the Dutton family, or what’s left of it. In the first episode of season one, the youngest son is killed and over the course of the nine episodes we learn why the matriarch is no longer alive. Who’s left includes patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner as a hard-ass landowner who is like the cowboy version of a mob boss), sons Kayce (Luke Grimes as the horse whisperer with a dark side) and Jamie (Wes Bentley is the politico with a confidence problem), and daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly plays the daughter as a hot mess in season one and hard-ass businesswoman in season two). While each family member is different, they are equally intense in their own ways.
Because the family controls the largest, and therefore most coveted, piece of ranch land in the United States, they are a huge target. Everyone wants to get their hands on the land and destroy John Dutton in the process. Clearly, he’s made as many friends (the local diner ladies know exactly how he likes his coffee and what he wants for breakfast) as enemies (including land developers and the powers that be on the Indian reservation) over the years. This week’s premiere included appearances by a few of his rage-filled enemies who are on a mission to take him down. These people are lethal but so is Dutton so it will be interesting to see who draws the most blood. Everyone is chomping at the bit.
Speaking of which, the Dutton ranch hands are like a pack of hyenas looking for prey. They clearly work hard but also seem like they need more to do to fill their time. Their ages span several decades and each appear to have some kind of horrible past that led them to working for the Dutton family. As they quickly learn, working for the family requires more than just hay, horses, and cattle which is exemplified in a brutal scene that involves unleashing an actual bull in the local bar. I can’t reiterate the mob analogy enough.
Even with all the action that is packed into the season two opener, the most intense action takes place during the last few minutes of the episode when (here comes another spoiler) John Dutton collapses in the middle of the corral and starts coughing up blood. Luckily the onsite vet is able to perform surgery (without anesthesia) that not only saves his life but also figures out that his issue is not cancer – it’s an ulcer. On the helicopter ride to the hospital, John and Kayce’s conversation foreshadows a tumultuous future for everyone involved with the Dutton family. Can’t wait for next week.
In the meantime, here are the most memorable (and by that, I mean most over-the-top) lines from the episode:
“It’s only reckless if you don’t see it through.” -John Dutton
“I look forward to teaching young minds about the man [Christopher Columbus] who introduced genocide to the Western hemisphere.” -Monica Long
“If I’m in Bozeman this time next year, Jason here has instructions to poison me.” -Beth Dutton
“ [Dutton Ranch] Reminds of the place down by the border…drug runners, militia, all that…” -Walker