What Happened on the Last Episode of Season 1 Yellowstone? Season Finale Recap

Yellowstone cover with Kevin Costner

Yellowstone Season 1 Last Episode Recap

Fallout

Monica (Kelsey Asbille) told Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes) she was leaving him and would be taking their son with her on Yellowstone. John (Kevin Costner) and Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) came to blows over the way his campaign for Attorney General was making Jamie unavailable for ranch business.

Beth Dutton

(Kelly Reilly) was confident she could take down Jenkins but she doesn’t know about the deal he’s made with Rainwater (Gil Birmingham). And new ranch hand Walker (Ryan Bingham) told Rip (Cole Hauser) he isn’t willing to do anything illegal for the ranch but Rip indicated he may have no choice.

As this final episode of the season begins, Rip and John are still dealing with the fallout from the grizzly bear Rip killed in episode 7. A representative from the Fish and Wildlife Service has finally made it to the scene. However, wolves have eaten most of the carcass, making it impossible to use it to understand what happened.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff (Hugh Dillon) questions Rip’s story because he didn’t find any shell casings. When John finds the casings in the Sheriff’s pocket though, the Fish and Wildlife official deems the killing an act of self-defense.

The Sheriff tells John he still wants to bring Rip down. John takes it as a sign that the whole county’s turning on him.

Ramifications

Later that morning, John tells Beth he needs a new lawyer for the ranch after Jamie “chose himself” in the previous episode. John tells her he plans to take away what Jamie left for though.

With that intention, he goes to meet the Governor (Wendy Moniz-Grillo) and current Attorney General at a restaurant. He asks them to take Jamie out of the race for attorney general but they don’t seem inclined to meet his request.

Instead, they ask him to step down as livestock commissioner. They know he’s under federal investigation for sending agents onto the reservation at the beginning of the season, plus he’s under investigation by the EPA. The Governor doesn’t want the scrutiny he’s under to have negative ramifications for the other state officials.

John tells them if they want him out of office, they need to find someone who can beat him.

As John stalks out, he sees Jamie in a private room. John approaches Jamie menacingly as Jamie’s campaign manager, Christina, calls for security. John believes Jamie is behind the Governor’s request for him to step down and tells Jamie he’d never do that to him.

At the ranch, Rip finds John cleaning up in the barn. John asks Rip to figure out who’s behind the EPA investigation into him. Rip picks up on the subtext of John’s actions and asks him how much time he has left. John doesn’t know for sure. He’s given up on going to the doctor.

Replaced

Back at the house, John once again approaches Beth. He asks her to put the ranch in a trust. Beth realizes what this means. John asks that Beth and Kayce don’t sell it. Beth gives him her word. John also instructs Beth to take Jamie off the payroll.

So, Beth goes to see Jamie at his campaign headquarters. Beth breaks the news that he’s being replaced and that she needs all his assets associated with the ranch, his credit card, bank card, and truck. Meanwhile, the reporter who revealed she’s investigating John in episode 8 eavesdrops at a safe distance.

After Beth leaves, Christina tells Jamie the development doesn’t change anything. But Jamie says it changes everything. He feels free.

That night, Rip hangs out at a strip club. He’s waiting for someone. Finally, he approaches a woman, Avery, as she walks in. He needs her to do a job, but she tells him what she really wants is a job on the ranch.

Legacy

The next day, the reporter approaches Jamie and tells him her real name, Sarah Nguyen (Michaela Conlin). He Googles her and discovers she’s a reporter. She tells him she’s learned that Jamie is a good man, but his father isn’t. She’s going to tell the world with her article. The only thing she wants to know is if Jamie wants to be a subject or a source.

Before Jamie can respond, Christina (Katherine Cunningham) takes him aside. She needs to know what the reporter will find on him once she starts digging. Jamie admits it depends on how deep she digs. They need to play things perfectly in order to keep Jamie’s political career afloat.

Christina invites Sarah back for further discussion. Sarah proposes an article about Jamie that positions him as the kind of politician who seeks out corruption. And there’s no greater source of corruption than his father.

Sarah claims Jamie needs her to win. She doesn’t think his father will let him otherwise.

So, Jamie agrees to an interview with her. He comes to the conclusion that the only way to protect his father’s legacy is to destroy him.

Elsewhere, Jenkins (Danny Huston) and Rainwater meet to discuss their plans for their development. At an adjacent table, Avery records their conversation.

Flush with the information from Avery (Tanaya Beatty), Rip brings the recording back to John and gives him the highlights of Jenkins’s and Rainwater’s deal. John is stressed – he knows his children aren’t ready to protect the ranch. John needs this problem to go away before he does.

Speechless

her and tells the men to treat her like a cowboy. The men are speechless. but Avery does her best to make herself at home.

Walker stalks out commenting on how strange the ranch is. He finds Beth with the horses and tells her there’s something evil about the place. Beth confesses she’s felt that way her whole life. Walker wants to quit but they won’t let him. Beth confirms what Rip told him, he’s not going anywhere. Then she pushes him against a wall and kisses him.

Meanwhile, the sheriff drops Kayce off at the house. He tells John he won’t press charges against Kayce for beating up the drifter at the gas station in the previous episode because he’s a veteran. But he’s still going to come after Rip.

John tries to convince him that Jenkins isn’t the future of the area, but the Sheriff says people like him aren’t going away. John counters that he just doesn’t have the stomach to make it happen.

As the Sheriff leaves, Kayce tells John he’s won. John can’t figure out why none of his children understand that all he’s trying to do is preserve something for them. Kayce says he hears him and he’d like to come home.

Confessions

John thinks that means Monica’s coming with him but Kayce confesses that Monica’s left him. He plans to stay in the bunk house with the other cowboys. John protests that he doesn’t need more cowboys, but Kayce says the only thing he has left is to preserve the ranch to give to his son and walks off.

Kayce enters the bunk house and requests an empty bunk. He immediately has eyes for Avery, who’s playing poker with the rest of the ranch hands, but gets into bed instead of engaging with her or anyone else.

On the reservation, Monica’s great-grandfather takes her and Tate home. Monica’s still unable to walk and take care of herself properly and Tate doesn’t understand what’s happening. As she watches Tate cry in the field, Monica questions what she’s done.

In town, one of the ranch hands follows Dan Jenkins. Rip then flanks him. When Jenkins runs, Kayce cuts him off and they toss him in a Yellowstone truck. They take him to the forest and hang him by a rope around his neck.

Before they kick the horse out from under him though, Rip demands Jenkins tell Kayce about how he gets land so Kayce understands what he’s up against. Jenkins explains how to maneuver someone’s land out from under them and tells Kayce he won’t be the last to try to take Yellowstone from the Duttons.

After Jenkins is done, Rip instructs the other ranch hands to cut him down. But Kayce kicks the horse out from under Jenkins and instructs them to let him hang.

Yellowstone Season 1 Ending Explained

Beth is seated closest to her father in the Season 1 finale. She assists him financially and legally as he fights the conspiracy by Dan Jenkins Huston and Chief Thomas Rainwater to seize Yellowstone Dutton Ranch property for a casino and related ventures.

Kayce, the prodigal son is relocating closer to the family’s home during this time. He moves off Broken Rock Reservation and back to the ranch after arguing with his wife Monica when she is recuperating from surgery for a subdural hematoma. He declines his father’s offer of preferential treatment in favor of settling into the bunkhouse as regular cowboy.

But as Kayce rejoins the group, Jamie notices that he is straying even more. Jamie’s father opposes his bid to become Montana’s attorney general. He refuses to withdraw from the campaign and agrees to be interviewed for a story that will be bad for his dad.

What transpires when the core can no longer support is the subject of “Yellowstone.” John wants to maintain the ranch for the sake of his kids, or at least those on his side. He wants to assist him in keeping the ranch for his own benefit and his legacy.

Nobody appears to contemplate the possibility that all the tension and strife, the intimidation and brutality, the scheming and politicking might not have been worthwhile in the end. Instead, Beth intends to defend the ranch’s integrity from the lawsuits threatening it.

Hard decisions are being made by John Dutton and his children. Still, towards the end of the first season, it appears like these decisions are taking the family in a direction where no one is pleased. Although none of them seem to think they will, John reminds Beth that the important thing is that they have somewhere to go back to.

Yellowstone Quick Facts

an American neo-Western drama TV show

under the creation of Taylor Sheridan and John Linson

premieres on Paramount Network on June 20, 2018

Yellowstone Plot

A vast cattle ranch, an Indian reservation, and land developers share borders, and the conflict that arises there is the focus of the television show.

The plot centers on family turmoil at the farm and the neighboring Broken Rock Indian Reservation, national park, and developers. The Dutton family, proprietors of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, the largest ranch in Montana, is known as “the Yellowstone.”

John, a patriarch in his sixth generation, is descended from ranchers who settled in Montana in the 1800s. The largest property in the contiguous United States, the Yellowstone Ranch, is owned and run by him. John is trying to protect his farm from developers who want to divide it up with the help of his adult children Lee Dutton (David Annabelle), Jamie (Wes Bentley), Beth (Kelly Reilly), and Kayce (Luke Grimes). They disagree with both the state of Montana and the adjoining Broken Rock Reservation.

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