Great Yellowstone Rewatch: S3 E5: "Cowboys and Dreamers"
Four Stars Out of Five
As the episode opens, we're treated to another flashback to the perennially troubled Duttons, this time with young Beth, who's tearfully inspecting a pregnancy test. The result? Positive. Uh-oh!
Who does she go to for help, telling him, with her chin quivering, that she's "in trouble?" Why, no other than the hated Jamie. Could we be seeing the origin of the Beth/Jamie hate-fest? Jamie seems to appreciate the gravity of the situation, and a moment later they're taking one of the Yellowstone's trucks to the Broken Rock Reservation free clinic. She reaches for his hand, tears again coming to her eyes, so Jamie goes in to make the arrangements. The lady working the desk tells him that she can't make appointments for non-Indian patients, and besides, this is a sterilization clinic. He weighs his options and makes the wrong one: he gets her from the truck and takes her inside, telling her it's "ok."
Well, that's as good a reason to loathe someone as any, I suppose.
And we're still in a flashback after the credits! Which is good, because it always adds depth to the story of the present-day Duttons to learn how they got to be some miserable cusses.
After her procedure, Beth visits young Rip in the stable. We assume, naturally, that he's the father. She tells him she was tested, and that it was negative. She gloomily tells him, "We shouldn't do this anymore" and storms out.
Beth wakes up in the middle of the night, present day, as if the proceeding were a dream. She goes on on the porch to think, and Rip follows her. She tells him she had a bad dream, bad memories. She tells him, friendlier than usual, that she doesn't want to talk about the dream. Not this one.
Beth starts talking anyway, telling him that she's made "two decisions in my life based on fear, and they cost her 'everything.'"
Next, Dutton and Perry watch as Jamie is sworn in as Montana's Attorney General. Dutton actually makes him repeat the "with fidelity, so help me God." Perry seems a bit more confident in Jamie's new post, even though he committed an atrocity in the first few days of the last one.
And then a man we haven't seen before drives up to a small group of cattle on a country road, pulls out a note, looks at it, and then shoots himself. Again, uh oh.
Later, the new head of the Livestock Agency, Kayce, gets a phone call from our old friend, Park County Sheriff Haskell, who reports that the dead man was Boyd Nelson, a horse breeder from near Emigrant. At the scene, Haskell shows Kayce the "note": a notice of foreclosure. It turns out that the late rancher was Haskell's cousin, which makes Haskell more likely to look the other way if Kayce enacts a hastily constructed plan to take the man's herd and auction them off. They'll give the proceeds to the man's family rather than let the bank seize the animals. Thus, the first act of Kayce's tenure as head of the agency is also an act of corruption, albeit a well-intentioned one.
Back at the summer camp, the fun is over and the boys are taking down the tents and cussing up a storm. It seems that Tate has learned some colorful new expressions. Monica asks Rip to leave their tent up, because she'd like to return with Tate as often as possible.
Dutton returns home to the ranch, and is followed hard upon by Thomas Rainwater. "I think it's time to discuss our problem," Rainwater tells him.
And once again, I have to personally admit I get excited whenever these two even think about teaming up - it's very satisfying to see the cowboys and Indians team up against a foe that threatens them both. Plus, Rainwater's so cool, if occasionally megalomaniacal.
Rainwater tells Dutton what he already knows: that the villains are going to take a portion of his land via eminent domain in order to build their airport. Duttons says yeah, but he's got the new Attorney General in his pocket. Rainwater counters that it's the Governor that makes the final decision, but Dutton says he's not too concerned about her either. They're literally in bed together, as you will recall. But Rainwater says that not supporting the construction of the airport, which will come with 4000 jobs, will be political suicide. Four thousand jobs go a long way in Montana.
Dutton asks Rainwater why he's worried about it anyway, since airports are good for casinos, and Rainwater fesses up about his "ownership issues" regarding his own property. Rainwater also says that he doesn't particularly want another casino either, calling it a "wickedly ironic" revenue stream, but that it's all part of his new, and crazy, plan to restore the area to what it was like before the white man ever came.
Except that, in a sense, that's what Dutton wants too - to enjoy the unspoiled nature, he just wants to own all of it himself.
Regardless, it serves them both to defer their conflict, for now. In the meantime, Rainwater reasons, the only thing that big evil corporations like Market Equity don't have more of than us is time, and if they can put a dozen obstacles in Market Equity's path, each time consuming, it might do some good. They agree to put their two ruthless legal eagles, Beth and Angela Blue Thunder, together. What a meeting of titans!
Beth's plan to needle and irritate Roarke by shorting his stock continues to succeed, even as Roarke is trying to go fishing. He almost does it, too, before he gets another call from someone informing him that the stock has dropped another point. He throws a tantrum, tossing off his fishing vest and yelling, "I'm just trying to go fishing!"
Tate watches ruefully as the Bunkhouse Boys roll up their wagons and tents and take them back to the ranch house. Lloyd explains to Monica that she and Tate ought not to take the same path back to the lodge as the Bunkhouse Boys, because Monica's horse can't take a rough road anymore. Monica also mentions that maybe she'd like Tate to curse less, but Teeter and the others persist in their profanity. The important thing, as Lloyd tells Monica, is that Tate is smiling and laughing. He's tough; he'll make it.
Rip and Lloyd ride the fence on their way back, and discover a handful of bison grazing, and a couple of cowboys watching. There are concerns over brucellosis, after all. Rip inquires what's going on and finds a grizzled old cowboy named Wade Morrow who claims to know Dutton from the past. None of it goes too well, with just about everyone drawing their pistols. Colby leans in and tells Rip that the buffalo are going to tear their fence to pieces, and Rip opines that that's point.
A seriously miffed Roarke drives his luxury car down a handsome Mainstreet (definitely not the real Bozeman, though). He pulls into a trendy bar and finds Beth drinking whiskey. Roarke asks why she's trying so hard to disrupt his business. She, in turn, goes on a lecture about how catch and release is really kind of horrible if you think about it. She could maybe respect Roarke if he ate his catches, but not if she tosses them all back to their pointless suffering. At first, he says that fish don't feel pain. She calls BS on that, and then he says he doesn't care if they feel pain or not, he just doesn't like the taste of fish.
Roarke, done with the fishing talk, gets to business. Beth's shorting the stock is a nuisance, not a killing blow, and it will only make Market Equity want a reprisal. She asks if that was a threat, and says that people who threaten her end up dead. Roarke, surprised, asks if she's going to hire a hitman to do him in. Then Roarke gets a pretty good speech, and one that, while not true exactly, has a bit of truth to it: the Yellowstone will only appreciate in value until the Dutton's can't afford the taxes on it, and then it'll be gone. Better to convert it into wealth, because the land cannot serve as a legacy. The Duttons can sell, get SUPER rich, and move on, or they can fight a fight they can't win. Beth tells him she agrees, but that John Dutton doesn't, and that's what matters.
She does, however, agree to only short the stock during after-hours trading so that he can get back to fishing. She also gets in another good Beth line: "You are the trailer park, I'm the tornado." Kayce tentatively explains the situation with Boyd, his horses, and the plan to make his family a little money. Kayce asks if the family is worth taking a risk for, and Dutton tells him that his mandate is to "do what's best for the people." He's not going to make the decision for him, but I think we all know that he's condoning the decision to help the family.
Rip and Kayce confer with Dutton. They intend to rush the horses, chasing them down the slope and into their corral. Dutton agrees to ride along on the adventure, saying, "alright, f*** it," and then we're treated to some nicely photographed horsemanship. The plan works without anyone dying for once, and the riders all enjoy a relieved chuckle.
Then we get another clear shot of the REAL Bozeman, where County Attorney Randy gets a call from Jamie. (Wasn't he County Attorney of Sweet Grass County? Why is his office in Bozeman, we Montanans wonder.)
It's Jaimie calling to put the screw to County Attorney Randy in case there's any lingering possibility of him burning for the Livestock Agency accidental murder of the two horse thieves. Randy is sufficiently put in his place to "touch the pen," as it were. He's none too excited to hear that the new Livestock Commissioner is another Dutton, either.
Kayce and the rest arrive at the livestock auction with several semis full of horses. The auctioneer says that they can sell them easy, and does so. Kayce visits Boyd's family, who are mourning. Haskell is there, too. He introduces Kayce to Boyd's wife, and gives her $16,000.
"Cowboys and dreamers. Why I fall in love with cowboys and dreamers, I'll never understand," she says, and it almost sounds like it could be something Clara Forsythe might say in Lonesome Dove. It's a good little scene, and a nice character moment for a show that sometimes neglects those. On the way out, the man's son stoically declares that he's going to be a cowboy too.
Oh, how I love to see Jimmy make good. When he returns to the bunkhouse on crutches, with a neckbrace, having survived his broken back, that's good enough. But that he returns with two attractive barrel racers is clearly impressive to the Bunkhouse Boys, who arrive a moment later to find the women drinking their beer and dancing. Mia's friend Laramie asks Lloyd to dance (who could resist a dance with Lloyd?). And then Colby admits that Teeter's not all bad; she's got a couple of moves. She's like a dancer, he says. In fact, he might be smitten after all.
It seems like the sort of thing that would make Rip mad, as it listens to country music coming from the ranch's speakers, and also because where's Beth? Well, he heads into the Bunkhouse yelling, but cools off when he finds that Beth is there, also enjoying the party.
Dutton, however, doesn't join, though he does chuckle quietly to himself as he sips a whiskey and listens on his porch. Kayce joins him, and Duttons tells him that it's good for them to "cut loose." Dutton tells him that what he did today was a good thing, and that he did it for the right reasons. Kayce asks whether they should join the barn dance, and Dutton tells him that he can't because he never had any luck being friends with his employees, but that Kayce is welcome to try. Dutton goes to bed, and Kayce declines to try, instead sitting in the seat that his father had vacated; taking the throne, in a sense.