The first season of Paramount Network’s Yellowstone continues with episode seven airing on August 8, 2018. The episode kicks off with John Dutton (Kevin Costner) spotting a busload of tourists out in a field, only a few dozen yards from a live bear. It’s most likely the bear that was about to attack Kayce in episode six. The tour guide won’t urge her group to leave, even when John informs them they’re all trespassing. The group argue John should be sharing his property and John finally has enough, sending them scattering by firing his rifle in the air.
As the tourists board the bus, John watches the bear paw at the earth.
The action moves to the operating table where, in graphic detail, we see the doctor cutting into Monica’s skull. Once the surgery’s complete, Kayce (Luke Grimes) is told Monica suffered an epidural hematoma. The doctor doesn’t sugarcoat the diagnosis, telling Kayce he doesn’t know if she’ll recover because it’s difficult to say with any certainty after brain surgery. The fact she survived the surgery and is young gives the doctor reason to hope there will be a positive outcome.
Kayce pays a quick visit to Monica (Kelsey Asbille), even though the doctor advises against it. A nurse watches over Tate (Brecken Merrill) who becomes agitated and screams that he wants to see his mom. Hospital personnel hold Tate down in the waiting room while he’s screaming and Kayce’s first instinct is to punch one when he sees his son in distress.
The doctor manages to calm the situation down a little but kicks Tate and Kayce out of the hospital until the situation settles down.
Elsewhere, John delivers a speech at the Stockman’s Dinner. He talks about his family’s history and how ranchers only want to break even and are dedicated to the land.
Back at his table, alone, John glances at the place cards bearing the names of his children who aren’t in attendance at the event.
Catching up with Jamie (Wes Bentley), he’s busy working with his new political aide, Christina (Katherine Cunningham), at his Attorney General campaign office. She warns him campaigning is going to be hell but that it’s worth it. He confesses he’s not an idealist and his goal is only obtaining more power. He just wants to protect his family and all of the families like his and stop the “hemorrhaging of Montana’s resources to people in other states.” She approves, and the sexual tension is pinging at hot.
At home, Kayce tries to cry quietly so as not to scare Tate.
Back at the ranch, John expresses his disappointment his children weren’t at the dinner. Jamie explains he’s preparing his campaign office, and John reminds him the people at the event are potential voters. John admits he felt a shift in the room and the Governor never bothered to talk to him.
Beth (Kelly Reilly) is otherwise occupied, bent over a grungy toilet smoking and having sex (not with Rip).
A flashback shows the family waiting for Beth so they can open their Christmas presents. John (played by Josh Lucas) warns the kids they can’t start until Beth shows up. Evelyn (Gretchen Mol) goes looking for her daughter and finds her crying in the bathroom. She’s upset because she started her period and is worried her mom will be angry. Evelyn runs a bath to help her with the cramps, and tells John to let the boys go ahead and start opening presents.
Beth soaks in the tub while her mom explains that boys will now be looking at her differently. She can expect to be treated like she’s weaker than them, but Evelyn reminds her she’s stronger than the boys who would never be able to handle the pain of childbirth. She tells her young daughter that from now on she’s going to hard on her, apologizing in advance that she’ll treat her roughly in order to make her into the “man” most men will never be. It’s the way Evelyn was treated and she’s passing it on to her daughter.
“I know my mother was right. It was the best gift she ever gave me. Now I have to give it to you,” says Evelyn.
Back to current events, and Beth is in an agitated state as she takes Kayce’s horse out and almost immediately falls off. She gets on him again and is once more thrown off. She’s given a lesson in how horses respond to tension, anger, and body language by the new ranch hand, Walker (Ryan Bingham). He explains the horse feels every emotion she puts out. Walker asks Beth to try again and this time let the horse know, with her body, that everything will be fine.
Beth actually listens and does as he suggests. It works, and Beth has a calm ride across the corral – without even using the reins.
John and Rip (Cole Hauser) watch from a distance, and John calls Walker a horse whisperer. John wants all the calves brought down from the pasture because of the bear.
Beth is overcome with emotion at the end of her ride.
Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham), Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston), and their people attempt to hammer the details of the deal into place. They can’t come to an agreement over some of the financing issues and Thomas leaves, telling Dan to let him know when he’s ready to truly become a partner in taking down John Dutton.
After Thomas leaves, Dan works with his advisors to figure out how to make his percentage of the profit become a percentage of the ownership of the casino. He learns the licensing board won’t approve that and suggests he’ll own the hotel while Thomas owns the casino to get around that issue.
Catching up with John, he’s getting an MRI and seems worried. Afterward, his doctor wants another colonoscopy within the next month, but John’s blood work looks good.
As John leaves his doctor’s office, he spots Tate in the waiting room. (John is unaware what’s happening with Monica.)
At the ranch, Jamie spots a man looking in the window. He holds him at gunpoint, believing the man is there to do harm to his dad. It turns out he’s there to serve court papers which he tosses at Jamie.
Rip, Walker, and Jimmy (Jefferson White) head out to find the bear. They spot him and then realize none of them brought a gun. They’re forced into “hazing” it which is explained as running right at it. They do, and it’s a disaster. The bear not only doesn’t flee, it charges them and Jimmy is thrown from his horse. He climbs a tiny tree which the bear then tries to push down. Walker ropes the bear and rides off with him, leading him away.
Jimmy’s rescued but his horse has hightailed it out of there.
Monica is surrounded by her family, including John, as the doctor asks her to wiggle her toes. She’s awake and speaking normally, however she can’t feel anything when the doctor touches the bottom of her left foot. She can wiggle her toes and feel the bottom of her right foot. The doctor wants her to eat but she’s just not hungry.
The doctor’s encouraged that Monica can talk and is aware of what’s going on. He believes she’s through the worst of it. However, her lack of motor skills is worrisome.
Kayce agrees the best thing to do is have Tate go back to the ranch with John, even though Tate wants to stay by his mother’s side.
Rip is back out in the forest and this time he has a gun. He spots the bear and gives chase. Instead of finding the bear, he finds two people stranded off the side of a cliff. They’re in a precarious position balancing on a skinny piece of wood and Rip explains to the female that if she grabs the rope he tosses down and climbs up, her boyfriend will plummet to the ground. The boyfriend doesn’t speak English and has no idea what’s happening. The woman doesn’t want her boyfriend to die, so Rip says she can choose to let her boyfriend grab the rope meaning she’ll be the one falling to her death.
He tosses down the rope and she wants to put it around both of them. Unfortunately, it’s too short and she must make a choice. She protests and the boyfriend now understands what’s going on. As the woman cries and struggles to place the rope around both of them, she falls and dies upon impact.
Rip tells the man to grab the rope with both hands, but he refuses. He lets go and also falls to his death.
Rip doesn’t have time to react to the deaths before he hears the bear nearby. He grabs his gun as it charges and shoots it once in the head. The bear is dead, as are the two tourists.
The action shifts to Monica’s school where Thomas is told it’s possible the boy involved in the fight that caused her injury could be charged with manslaughter if she dies. Otherwise, it’s at the very least assault.
Thomas asks to speak with the boy who hit Monica off the record. The boy’s sorry and claims he didn’t mean to do it. Thomas warns him he’ll be charged if she dies.
After leaving the school, Thomas admits none of this is what he expected. He had big ideas but now isn’t sure he’ll make any difference at all.
John and Tate arrive back at the ranch and John’s moving slowly. Still, it’s obvious he loves being with his grandson. John’s in tremendous pain as he opens the refrigerator and asks Tate to stay at the table for a minute.
Beth’s also at the ranch speaking on the phone, commanding whoever she’s talking to to bring her all the information they can find on Paradise Valley Development Holdings. She wants the info, along with her computer, brought to the ranch. John walks in and asks about Jamie, but she doesn’t know where he is. He asks her to watch Tate, but Beth gives her usual snide, negative reply. John, in pain, growls that he’s not asking.
Beth finally figures out her dad’s not doing well as she watches him head to his room.
Beth introduces herself to Tate as his aunt and admits the only thing she can make him to eat is a cheese plate. That doesn’t sound appealing, so they head out to see what the ranch hands are eating.
John, alone, gets sick in the bathroom, sweating and throwing up blood.
At the hospital, Monica asks about Tate and is told he’s at the ranch. Only Kayce and Monica’s grandfather are in attendance as she tries to eat more pudding. She can’t make the spoon go into the cup, constantly missing as she attempts to dish some up. She makes a joke and then asks where Tate is again. She doesn’t remember she’s just asked for him less than a minute prior.
Rip makes it back to the ranch and calls for the sheriff. No one’s answering his calls.
John is bent over in pain. He talks to God, telling him he’s not ready to die. There’s still too much to be done.
Monica’s grandfather leaves to get coffee and Kayce holds Monica’s hand. The smile leaves her face and she withdraws her hand. She looks lost and confused. Kayce attempts to hold himself together.
The episode ends with a scene of the cowboys eating, listening to music, and relaxing after a hard day. Beth seems to relax a little while Rip is stone-faced and then leaves the room as the group continues to unwind.
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 4 “The Long Black Train”
- Recap of Season 1 Episode 6 “The Remembering”
- Recap of Season 1 Episode 8 “The Unravelling: Part 1”
- Preview of Yellowstone Starring Kevin Costner