The Yellowstone Ranch springs to life just before dawn as Paramount Network’s Yellowstone season one episode four begins. The morning’s brisk and quiet, and John Dutton (Kevin Costner) enjoys a cup of coffee before the craziness of the day sets in.
Elsewhere, Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) is on the scene as the grave Kayce (Luke Grimes) dug is investigated. Ashes and bones are uncovered, and the construction crew that came upon the freshly dug grave is shut down. The foreman complains, but Thomas breaks one of the bones to prove the bodies are fresh. They seal off the area, causing a work stoppage for the crew.
(In case you’ve lost track, Kayce has now killed four people just four episodes into season one.)
Back on the ranch, the men are hard at work herding the cattle after John signals in from the helicopter there are stragglers in the woods. The helicopter spooks Jimmy’s horse and he’s tossed to the ground. The hard landing causes Jimmy (Jefferson White) to admit he’s not cut out for this work. One of his fellow ranch hands advises him to find his hat before he reunites with the group. Otherwise, he’ll be in for a hard time with the men.
Jimmy’s behind the rest of the crew searching for his hat when he hears a calf. He finds it alone next to a tree, caught up in some bushes.
Kayce watches over the boys as his wife cleans up the blood and other mess left from her sister-in-law’s suicide. She notices there’s nothing in the refrigerator and no food in the cabinets. When Kayce offers to help her clean, Monica (Kelsey Asbille) explains that although it looked like a suicide, Samantha actually killed herself so that her children would be taken care of. The only people with enough money to do so were her parents, but they haven’t spoken in years. Her death might move them to take in the children. “It wasn’t a suicide; it was a sacrifice,” says Monica.
Kayce and Monica wait for Samantha’s parents on the step outside the trailer. She wants Kayce to take Tate somewhere so he doesn’t have to watch his cousins leave.
The cattle have been rounded up and some are being herded onto trucks. John’s in the corral working the cattle when his horse acts up. Micky, one of the men standing around outside the corral watching John get his horse back under control, reveals that John’s not even supposed to be riding. He’s got colon cancer and just had two feet of his colon removed last week.
The man who just learned John’s secret confronts John and wants to know if he’s fit to be the commissioner. It’s a difficult job and could be too stressful for someone who’s dealing with a serious health problem. John assures him he’s fine and that the cancer was removed. He warns the man not to speak to anyone else about his health.
Kayce arrives at the ranch with Tate, wondering if his dad has any ideas for entertaining the kid. Tate wants to go to the river and John, happy to be included in his grandson’s life, agrees to take him.
Kayce’s not home when Thomas Rainwater arrives with his men to question him. Monica answers the door and Thomas reveals he believes all these deaths are not random but instead are connected. He tells Monica to have Kayce see him when he returns.
Out at the river, Tate prepares a fire pit with stones and then fetches some wood. Tate’s doing all the work while John rests and supervises. John suddenly realizes he can’t see Tate anywhere and races to the river. He retrieves the boy, who’s now soaked and cold, from the river and quickly starts a fire to warm him up. Tate’s shivering, but safe.
Kayce grabs a horse and heads out to look for his dad and Tate.
John and Tate are getting warm next to the fire when Tate notices John’s scar from the colon cancer operation. He makes up a story about getting in a sword fight in the forest with a goblin. He then gets sentimental and says he’ll miss Tate when he grows up. Tate reminds him they always have today.
Grandfather and grandson head back to the ranch, with John explaining that Kayce’s going to be upset about what happened. John’s right and Kayce barely looks at his dad after he fetches Tate off his dad’s horse.
Monica arrives at the hospital as Tate’s getting stitched up from his fall in the river. Tate’s handling the injury better than either his mom or his dad.
Back at Yellowstone Ranch, John’s having a rough time dealing with the fact he almost lost Tate.
Jimmy finally makes it back to the ranch. He’s carrying the rescued calf across his saddle, looking like a true cowboy. He even breaks into a smile.
Jimmy’s good mood is short-lived as he gets into a fight with Fred, another cowboy. Fred’s larger and stronger, but Jimmy won’t stay down. Rip (Cole Hauser) comes upon the fight, lifts Fred off the ground, and slams him back into the dirt. There’s a rule against fighting and Rip warns Fred if he ever hits a branded man again, he’ll kill him. He then tells Jimmy, “These guys, they just work here, Jimmy. You’ll see a thousand of them come and go. But, not us. We die here. This is your family. We’re your family.”
Fred’s booted off the ranch and John instructs Rip to give the ranch hand a ride to the “train station.” It turns out that’s code for take him out to a cliff, shoot him in the head, and push him over the edge. Bye, bye, Fred.
Catching up with Beth (Kelly Reilly), she’s sitting in a restaurant doing two of her favorite things: drinking and smoking. She doesn’t care in the least bit that there’s a no-smoking policy. After getting the best of two men who attempt to get her to put out her cigarette, one man finally fetches the gentleman she’s been asking for, Dan Jenkins.
Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston) is surprised to see Beth, and she reminds him he came up to her at the bar. He’s a little worried because his family lives at the resort and Beth suggests they go somewhere else. Dan immediately agrees, and they head outside.
The flirty twosome end up at a bar with live music and lots of cowboys. Dan stands up to a man who hits on Beth and earns a punch to the throat for his efforts. Beth chases the stranger away by revealing her last name. Another man walks by and Beth instigates another fight. Dan’s now taken two punches to the face, and Beth taunts him that she thought he’d be tougher. He leaves, telling her to stay with “her” people.
Kayce and Monica are pulled over on their drive home from the hospital. Kayce’s ordered to get out of the vehicle with his hands up. He tells Monica he loves her before being cuffed by the police.
The final scene of the episode takes place at the bar. Beth’s having fun dancing, drinking, and smoking. She takes a seat and Rip arrives, chasing away the man seated next to her. Rip makes her smile by telling her she looks good. The episode ends with the two on the dance floor, kissing.
More on Yellowstone:
- Yellowstone Series Review
- Recap of Season 1 Episode 2 “Kill the Messenger”
- Recap of Season 1 Episode 3 “No Good Horses”
- Recap of Season 1 Episode 6 “The Remembering”
- Recap of Season 1 Episode 7 “A Monster Among Us”
- Recap of Season 1 Episode 8 “The Unravelling: Part 1”
- Recap of Episode 9 “The Unravelling: Part 2”
- Preview of Yellowstone Starring Kevin Costner