Paramount Network’s critically acclaimed drama Yellowstone finally returned to kick off season three on June 21, 2020. Season three episode one, “You’re the Indian Now,” begins peacefully enough, with John (Kevin Costner), Kayce (Luke Grimes), and Jamie (Wes Bentley) separately preparing for the day ahead. Kayce checks in on Monica and Tate, both still sleeping soundly in bed. Kayce gently wakes Monica and delivers a kiss on her forehead before leaving.
Kayce joins Beth (Kelly Reilly), John, and Jamie in the kitchen and receives instructions to check out the east pasture. Beth’s still showing bruising around her eyes from the beating she received at the hands of Beck’s men. John’s smartly dressed in a suit and assures Kayce he’ll be back soon. “It doesn’t take long to quit something, son,” he says as Beth sips her coffee.
John hands a suit to Jamie and tells him he can dress during the ride to town. Jamie stills appears to be on the outs with his siblings.
Kayce and Beth are outside watching as John and Jamie drive away when they hear Tate scream. He’s had another nightmare caused by the traumatic experience of being kidnapped by white supremacists, and Monica (Kelsey Asbille) does her best to comfort her son and assure him he’s safe.
John gives Jamie his final marching orders before they meet with Governor Perry (Wendy Moniz-Grillo). The meeting also includes a federal official and the attorney general, and Jamie explains his family had evidence the Becks poisoned cattle using their private aircraft. They served a warrant for that and in turn discovered evidence of a kidnapping.
“Livestock agents are bound by law to intervene in any active crime,” says Jamie. He adds, “That duty supersedes jurisdictional boundaries.”
Although they agree John and his family’s actions weren’t technically wrong, the public still perceives there’s been wrongdoing. The deaths of six people will become major news and when it’s investigated it will look like this whole debacle was a feud – not an unbiased crime investigation.
John believes the solution is for him to resign as Livestock Commissioner and accept all blame for what went down. In exchange, he’ll expect Governor Perry to stop her investigation. She should concentrate on the white supremacists/militia and human smuggling angle and leave the Duttons alone.
After Perry, the attorney general, and the federal official discuss it, they agree to John’s terms. He’ll come up with who he’ll support as his replacement and provide her with the name soon.
Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) and his righthand man Mo (Mo Brings Plenty) watch the news and Thomas believes things will be okay for John – if he’s as smart as he thinks he is. Mo confesses he thinks John’s an honorable man and isn’t their enemy. Thomas wonders if Mo thinks he should share their plans with John, and Mo says that’s Thomas’ decision to make.
Back on the ranch, Rip (Cole Hauser) and Kayce meet up in a field. Both report the pastures are in good shape. Still, Rip thinks they need to wait until July to let the cattle roam freely. Kayce’s worried about running out of hay, and Rip comes up with the idea to bring the cows into the field to eat under supervision.
As they’re talking, they notice a bunch of men and women looking out over the fields. Rip and Kayce ride over to see what they want and it turns out they’re looking for the Paradise Valley Sporting Club property. Kayce, politely, says they’re on the wrong side of the fence.
Kayce asks if these strangers are staying at the resort and a man explains these people now own it. Collectively, they are the Providence Hospitality Management. The man introduces himself as Ellis Steele (John Emmet Tracy) and Kayce has no idea what this man’s talking about when he offers that he works for Market Equities.
Kayce doesn’t reveal his name and Ellis apologizes for these “city folk” walking through his field. He offers Kayce a free dinner at the resort for the intrusion. Kayce and Rip ride off without responding.
Beth’s back at work and busy explaining to Bob Schwartz (Michael Nouri) how much property she’s purchased on his behalf. It amounts to a little over 17,000 acres. Bob’s pleased to learn she’s been so successful. They discuss the status of the parcels and which are commercially zoned. He gives instructions on upcoming purchases based on the fact Market Equities purchased Dan Jenkins’ place following his death. (It’s revealed Jenkins’ property was losing money.)
Both Bob and Beth realize that since Providence Hospitality was brought in to run it, that means the Jenkins place is just the beginning. They’ll have much larger goals for the area. Bob gives Beth orders to buy “every f**king thing” she can.
Once more to the ranch we go and the men are busy working on a new barn. The mood’s light as they work and crack jokes. Of course, they laugh more at Jimmy’s (Jefferson White) attempt at telling a joke than they do the joke itself.
Rip and Kayce ride up and Rip gives the men orders to work on other projects.
Beth’s driving back to the ranch when she spots a stranger who she immediately labels an a**hole. She pulls over to yell at the guy for trespassing by fishing in the river on the Dutton ranch. And that’s how we’re introduced to Roarke Carter, played by season three newcomer Josh Holloway (Lost).
He claims he can’t get out of the river or he’d be trespassing and Beth, being Beth, begins to climb down from the overpass in a dress and heels to confront him from a closer range. She insults him and explains both sides of the river he’s standing in fishing are private property. Again, he claims that’s why he can’t leave. When she asks how he got in the river in the first place without trespassing, he explains his family owns a ranch upstream. Beth points out that place is five miles away and Roarke says he’s blessed with stamina.
He asks her out, she says no. Before leaving she warns him to stay off their “f**king land.” (I love Beth.)
John returns home and tells Beth his resignation went down as he expected. He admits he never wanted to be Livestock Commissioner; he just wanted control.
Kayce confirms the fields are clear of clover and informs his dad he came across a bunch of people from Providence Hospitality. Beth knows more about that, but before she can discuss it John reveals he’s thinking about naming Kayce as his replacement for commissioner. Kayce’s shocked and doesn’t want the position. He thinks Beth or Jamie would be better suited. He just wants to work the ranch, not be a politician.
After Kayce walks out of the meeting, Beth throws her support behind Jamie. John reminds her they can’t trust him, but Beth thinks he can be trusted to always do what’s best for himself. “He will use that office to become popular with his constituents. His constituents are ranchers. What’s good for their ranches is good for ours,” she says.
Later, the bunkhouse is rowdy with the ranch hands drinking and roping each other like steer. It’s some kind of weird game they’re playing and when they want Jamie to play, he tries to sit it out. They won’t let him and he finally agrees to drinking, spinning in a circle, and then trying to escape being roped. He admits he doesn’t understand the purpose of the game but gamely goes for it anyway. Jamie goes down hard but they applaud him when he’s able to stand up and laugh at himself for being caught.
Rip barges in, pissed they’re all still awake. It turns out it’s 3:30am and they should be sound asleep. He checks on Jamie and then announces they’ll have to be up and in the barn by 4:30am.
Jamie struggles to get into his bunk and it’s obvious he’s in much more pain than he lets onto. He has trouble rolling over onto his side and grimaces.
John finds Monica up and asks about Tate. She explains Kayce’s with him and the doctor provided them with sleeping pills to get him to relax. She admits she doesn’t trust pills. They joke about how she’s getting turned around and lost in the big house, but then the talk turns serious. John apologizes for sending Tate out to feed his horse at night which put him in a vulnerable position to be kidnapped. She assures him it’s not his fault and appreciates all he did to get Tate safely home.
She equates the way the Indians were forced from this land to what’s happening to the Duttons.
Monica asks if it’s true the men are building a camp close to the cattle. John confirms they’re doing that to make sure men are near the cows so they won’t be messed with. She asks if he’ll take Tate with him to it, believing being out under the stars will be good medicine. John’s obviously touched by the request and responds, “Of course.”
The following morning the men saddle up and Jamie’s about to join them when John instructs him to take his horse back to the barn and move out of the bunkhouse. He wants Jamie to move back to the lodge and Jamie is, understandably, confused. John shocks him by revealing he’s going to take his place as Livestock Commissioner. The appointment will be official tomorrow.
John warns Jamie never to betray him again. Jamie gives him his word.
John orders Kayce and Rip to take the wranglers and move the herd. Kayce apologizes for not accepting the position because being a politician isn’t who he is. John replies, “You’re my son. I know exactly who you are and don’t you ever be sorry for it.”
Tate’s with the group and John assures Kayce he’ll keep a close eye on the boy.
A while later the men begin making camp. The cows chow down on grass nearby and Tate wonders if this is how they used to work cattle. John, who looks to be in his element, confirms it is. He sends Tate off to steal some of Lloyd’s kindling.
Thomas Rainwater shows up at a building site Market Equities’ Ellis Steele is overseeing. Ellis refuses to discuss the Cease and Desist order Rainwater’s received, insisting he needs to deal directly with Thomas’ legal counsel. Thomas stares at his retreating back, shooting daggers with his eyes.
Monica shows up at Montana State Teachers’ College to instruct a class in American History. She finds her students outside, absorbed in their phones. She really believed that by moving the class outdoors they’d put away their phones, but that plan didn’t work. She wonders if they understand the world they live in and how it has nothing to do with liking photos or staring at phones.
“The world you live in is slowly shrinking,” says Monica. “There’s a tiny group of men who are buying it and stripping it naked and selling you what they extract. They’re raping your world and selling you what they take.”
Her speech earns a smirk from one of the students while the rest are still holding their phones. She finally decides this is a waste of her time and walks off. None of the students react or follow her.
Late at night Beth shows up at Rip’s door with a bottle. She wants to christen his new house and makes a toast. She accidentally on purpose spills a shot glass full of booze down the front of her dress and then offers to pour him another. He pulls her into his house and shuts the door.
It’s pitch dark as Kayce’s out in the field watching over the cows. They hear a wolf howl in the distance and tells the cattle not to worry, he’ll protect them.
Meanwhile, Tate and John sit by their campfire and relax. They also hear the wolf and everyone in camp – including the horses – react. Tate tries to get up but John explains the wolf is just calling out to his friends so they know his location. When Tate asks if the wolf is scared, John claims wolves don’t get frightened. “It’s not in their genes,” he says.
Tate admits he has nightmares and John asks if he wants to talk about them. Tate does and explains he’s in the room where his kidnappers kept him. The floor disappears and he keeps falling. He knows he’s trying to scream but no sound comes out and no one helps him.
John says dreams are memories and his imagination mixed together. He assures his grandson he can change the ingredients in his dreams to whatever he wants. He suggests that when he closes his eyes later, Tate should decide what he wants to dream about and that will be what he dreams.
John confesses his own nightmare involves pulling over to help some people but they don’t want his assistance. They want something else but he won’t say what. Tate suggests he should change his dream’s ingredients, too.
The episode ends with John and Tate relaxing, John’s arm around his grandson’s shoulders as they keep warm in front of the fire under the stars.
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 7 “A Monster Among Us”
- Recap of Season 1 Episode 8 “The Unravelling: Part 1”
- Yellowstone Season 1 Finale Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 1 “A Thundering” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 2 “New Beginnings” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3 “The Reek of Desperation” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 4 “Only Devils Left” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 6 “Blood the Boy” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 7 “Resurrection Day” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 8 “Behind Us Only Grey” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 9 “Enemies By Monday” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 10 “Sins of the Father” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 2 “Freight Trains and Monsters” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 3 “An Acceptable Surrender” Recap