After waiting over a year to find out whether the Duttons made it out of the bloody Season 3 finale alive, Yellowstone fans finally have the answers. It’s going to take more than a mail bomb, an armed militia attack and half a dozen bullets to put down John (Kevin Costner), Beth (Kelly Reilly) and Kayce (Luke Grimes). In Yellowstone Season 4 Episode 1 (“Half The Money”), co-creator/writer Taylor Sheridan does a remarkable job of setting up the rest of the season. Set at the saga’s trademark breakneck pace, the season premier blends action, drama, rich character development and reverence for the Western genre—all Taylor Sheridan trademarks.
Without further ado, let’s break down the 5 most important moments from the Season 4 premiere episode that will have repercussions through the rest of the season.
ALL THE DUTTONS ARE ALIVE! AND JIMMY TOO!
Those Duttons are hard to kill. In the Season 4 premiere, we quickly learn the fates of John, Beth and Kayce. While Kayce impressively kills the gunman sent for him, a bullet riddled John is found by faithful foreman Rip (Cole Hauser) as he bleeds out on the side of the road. Thinking quickly, Rip is able to call Kayce who is able to get a Medevac helicopter to pick John up in a nearby field—no sweat. On the other side of town, Beth stumbles out of her now-destroyed office, covered in dust and blood. The first thing she does upon her exit from the rubble? She bums a smoke from a nearby good Samaritan. Classic Beth.
While fans were fairly confident the Dutton family would survive, the fate of everyone’s favorite ranch hand-turned-bronc rider Jimmy Hurdstram (Jefferson White) was less certain. At the end of Season 3, we see him motionless on the ground after being bucked off a bronco. Halfway through the Season 4 premiere, John sees Jimmy in the hospital, alive and undergoing psychical therapy as he recovers from being temporarily paralyzed. Phew!
FIRST EXTENDED LOOK AT 1883
Unexpectedly, fans got their first real glimpse at Yellowstone: 1883 star Tim McGraw’s James Dillard Dutton during the Yellowstone Season 4 premiere. In a short, but effective scene, we see James Dutton and his sons, John Sr. and Spencer, leading their herd of cattle through the Yellowstone. When they stumble upon a group of Native Americans who have left the reservation and set up camp on their land, James Dutton is on high alert.
What follows is a calm meeting between the OG Dutton patriarch and Red Bear (Gregory Zaragoza) as James grants him and his people a bit of mercy in a “hard winter.” Click here for a more detailed analysis.
BETH PICKS UP A STRAY AT THE HOSPITAL
While Beth smokes outside the hospital (on a bench with a sign that reads “thank you for not smoking”), she encounters Carter (played by Those Who Wish Me Dead star Finn Little), a troubled teen who bums a cigarette off of her. As Carter reveals that his father is dying due to complications of heroin addiction, Beth feels a kinship and stays with him while he says his final goodbye—which is full of anger, spite and tears—to his father on his deathbed.
Beth longs to be a mother, but that choice was taken away from her by Jamie as a teen. Carter is in need of guidance. Perhaps he could be the missing part of Beth and Rip’s family.
MO BRINGS PLENTY WINS AT THE CASINO
It’s clear that Thomas Rainwater and the Nation were not responsible for the attacks against the Duttons in the Season 3 finale. We know that for sure because Rainwater’s righthand man, Mo Brings Plenty (played by Mo Brings Plenty), overhears alcohol-soaked ex-con Checkers (Brad Carter) who is winning at the Blackjack table bragging about being the “party planner” who helped arranged for the hits on the Dutton family. Mo springs into action, stealthily subduing him and taking him to the backroom for questioning.
In one of the most shocking sequences of the premiere, Rainwater instructs Mo to get the man to talk “the way our Grandfathers did.” In the middle of the night, Mo takes the man out into the wilderness, ties him to a rope hanging off the back of his horse and proceeds to drag him across the field. The man talks, of course, giving the Nation the first real lead as to who set up the attacks against the Duttons. This information will have ripple effects through the season.
We all knew this was coming. While fly-fishing alone in the wilderness, known Dutton enemy and hedge fund manager/developer Roarke Morris (Josh Holloway), is unknowingly a sitting duck. Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) approaches him with a cooler and opens it in his face, unleashing a rattlesnake which obligingly bites him.
As Roarke lands dying, it is an uneasy scene. After all, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t, and a new big bad is on the horizon.
Where to stream Yellowstone
For more information, please see more information about Yellowstone season 4 episode 1