‘Yellowstone’ Season 3 Episode 3 Recap: “An Acceptable Surrender”

Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 3
Brecken Merrill and Kevin Costner in ‘Yellowstone’ season 3 episode 3 (Photo Credit: Paramount Network)

Most of the wranglers are still sleeping when Tate (Brecken Merrill) leaves his tent as Paramount Network’s Yellowstone season three episode three kicks off. He joins his grandpa who shushes him while beckoning him over. They kneel behind the bushes and John tells Tate to listen to an elk who’s busy leading a wolf away from her baby. They listen as the mama draws the wolf’s attention.

John (Kevin Costner) explains baby elk don’t give off a scent, and the wolf won’t find it as long as the baby doesn’t make a run for it. John’s feeling a little sentimental and wants to make sure the baby survives by helping out mama elk. He and Tate quietly walk closer to the action, but not close enough to scare the baby into making itself known. John reveals the way to help is for them to “mark” the territory.

Monica (Kelsey Asbille) is next up and spots John and Tate relieving themselves in the field. Kayce (Luke Grimes) entices her back into the tent since Tate’s in good hands.

After briefly checking on the cattle, John lets Tate choose what to do next. He suggests they take a walk so off they go, all the while discussing what it’s like to be a rancher. John admits ranching’s a “terrible business,” and then explains all the cons of being a cattle rancher. It’s a lengthy list and Tate pays attention as John lays it all out.

Tate asks the key question: Why be a rancher if it’s so hard? “Because it’s one hell of a life, Tate,” replies John.

Beth (Kelly Reilly), looking very relaxed and satisfied, sips her coffee as she sits outside Rip’s house in the early morning hours. Rip (Cole Hauser) joins her and she’s sad that in a few generations this ranch won’t exist anymore. He disagrees, reminding her that one hundred years ago people thought barbed wire would spell the end of the frontier. It didn’t.

He delivers a sweet kiss on her forehead as he heads off to work.

Meanwhile, Governor Perry (Wendy Moniz-Grillo) breaks the news to State Attorney General Stewart (Timothy Carhart) that the president has appointed Cassidy Reid to Deputy Attorney General of the United States. He’s incredulous, given the fact she’s only 30. Because Reid will be taking off for Washington, Governor Perry needs to appoint someone in her place. (She was just elected to take over Stewart’s spot because he’s retiring.)

Governor Perry begs A.G. Stewart to stay on a while until she can figure out her options.

After that brief discussion, they’re joined by Ellis Steele (John Emmet Tracy) and his associates to discuss his airport plans. Ellis wants the state to give them the land to build the airport on, but the state will retain ownership. His company will have a 30-year lease. He explains the airlines will be responsible for building their terminals, with his company building the infrastructure. All told, he wants $400 million in land and a tax subsidy of $500 million over 10 years.

Ellis believes once the ski resorts are operational, the airport could handle two million guests each year. Governor Perry asks if the Forest Service has agreed to lease the land for the resort, and he confirms they’ve signed on. The first of three phases of building on 12,000 acres could be complete in just 18 months.

Governor Perry doesn’t like comparisons of this area to Jackson Hole when Ellis offers up the comparison, believing Jackson Hole’s actually not a good example of responsible development. However, Ellis believes the area is ripe for growth and not only could but should expand in order to keep the community alive and profitable. His planned developments will likely bring in three to six billion in tax revenue.

Although he initially planned to repurpose the golf courses at the Sporting Club into land for the airport, he’s been told by the FAA that land is too narrow. Instead, they’d like to build the airport smack dab in the middle of the Yellowstone Ranch.

Ellis wants Governor Perry to invoke eminent domain and she reveals that’s been unsuccessfully attempted before. Ellis is sure John Dutton can’t beat it twice since the first attempt was simply a land grab while this is progress.

Beth’s still sitting outside Rip’s place while working on her laptop when she receives a call from her mole inside Governor Perry’s office. The insider tips her off Ellis wants to build the airport in the middle of Yellowstone Ranch.

Beth’s response is predictable. She says, “F*ck,” and ends the call.

Meanwhile, Jamie (Wes Bentley) meets with Livestock Agent Steve Hendon (James Jordan) in jail. Hendon explains he only did what he was told to do, and Jamie’s pissed. He demands to know everything that went down. Hendon goes through what happened, admitting he worked the brakes too hard. However, it was the deputies who loaded the suspects into the trailer. Jamie hints that maybe they were assaulted before Hendon’s arrival and Hendon reluctantly agrees that might be true (although he knows it’s not).

Jamie walks through the scenario he’ll need Hendon to stick to. It’s basically lies upon lies, but it will get Hendon off the hook for killing the two suspects. That is, if Hendon can actually remember all the details of Jamie’s fictitious story.

Beth’s driving when she rings up Roarke. The call goes straight to voicemail. She doesn’t leave a message but does note to herself that he’s a douche.

Beth has a pretty good idea where he is and she’s right – he’s in the river fishing again. They joke about her assassinating him since his location’s so predictable and then they get down to business. She demands to know where he’s building the airport and Roarke (Josh Holloway) reminds her he’s not involved in the decision-making. She doesn’t believe that and he knows it, so he finally reveals her dad will be one of the richest men in the state when it’s all said and done.

Beth explains her dad doesn’t care about money; he cares about the land. She swears she’s going to stop the development, and Roarke assures her they can afford to fight this out in the courts for the next year if needed. He suggests she make them a fair proposal so they can end avoid a legal fight.

Beth doesn’t reply and instead simply walks away.

Jamie’s back in his office when County Attorney Randy Harper (K.C. Clyde) shows up. Jamie throws something at him, forcing him to duck out of the way. Jamie warns Randy he’ll testify in court Randy called him and asked him to send an agent to assault detainees. Randy tries to play innocent, but Jamie reveals he recorded the call. Jamie very briefly describes the circumstances his agent came upon, and Randy tries to convince him if Hendon will take the fall, they’ll all be in the clear for the deaths.

Jamie’s not willing to let his agent do jail time because Randy wanted the suspects to be taught a lesson. The two dead men are from out of state, so Jamie suggests they tag them as John Does and claim they were drunk and found dead.

Randy points out the obvious hitch in that plan; the victim saw everything.

Jamie accompanies the trailer as it’s released to the family of the girl who was robbed, and her father’s happy to have it returned. He thought they’d need to keep it longer since a deputy “took it too far” with the suspects. Jamie explains the person responsible was a Livestock Agent and tells the father he’s about to reveal the true story which could get him and his agent in trouble.

Jamie explains his sister was also brutally beaten and, perhaps, something else happened to her but she won’t say. “A man who puts a hand on a member of my family never puts a hand on anything else,” says Jamie. The father understands and admits his daughter won’t say if anything other than a beating happened to her. He becomes emotional and confesses he’s of the mind to stand outside the jail and shoot the men when they leave the courthouse.

Jamie assures him he doesn’t need to do that and hints they’ve been taken care of. He then opens the back of the trailer and the suspects’ blood is still inside. The father’s happy to learn the men are dead and suggests Jamie should run for governor.

The dad is touched Jamie did this for him and his family. Jamie replies, “I did that for every father who’d be sacrificing their family if they did it.”

Problem = solved.

Later that day, Governor Perry tries calling John Dutton. It goes to voice mail, so she calls Jamie instead. She wants a meeting with him and his dad tomorrow, warning Jamie time isn’t on their side.

Jamie starts panicking after getting off the phone with Perry. He assumes she wants to talk about the dead men, so he calls up Randy to see if he told anyone what really happened. He didn’t, and Jamie reminds him the lie is now the truth. They have to stick to the story but now Randy’s also panicking. It appears Randy’s going to part ways with Jamie and not lie about the deaths.

Back at the ranch, Rip and John take a look at the new barn that’s almost finished being built. John’s glad they’ve put it up, suggesting they should have thought of it years ago. He spots a woman at the uppermost point of the roof and wonders if that’s Rip’s new hire. He also wonders how she got up there. Rip says she is and he has no idea how she managed to climb that high.

Lloyd (Forrie J. Smith) tells them the new hire, Tetter (Jennifer Landon), ran up the roof like “a damned beetle.”

Jimmy (Jefferson White) wants to take off to work on making his buckle in the rodeo ring. John warns him if he breaks his arm, he won’t stay on the payroll.

Jamie drives up just then and John’s mood sours. Jamie delivers the bad news that the governor wants to meet with them, even though John reminds him he’s retired. Since it’s apparently important, John says Jamie should tell Governor Perry to meet them at the rodeo in Livingston.

John tells Rip to decide who will stay with the cattle. He’ll take the rest of the wranglers with him to town to watch Jimmy at the rodeo. Tetter and Colby have to stay behind, and the wranglers tease Colby about being left behind with the crazy new woman.

Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 3
Cole Hauser and Kelly Reilly in ‘Yellowstone’ season 3 episode 3 (Photo Credit: Paramount Network)

The rodeo gets underway and Beth tries to hold Rip’s hand. Rip’s seated next to John and pulls away. John, of course, notices what’s going on. “I guess everyone thinks I’m the dumbest man in the valley,” he says to Rip. He adds, “You can hold her damn hand, Rip.”

Beth smiles and says, “Thank you, daddy,” as she snuggles into Rip. Kayce’s chuckling as John says, “As if something can happen on the ranch I don’t know about. Jesus Christ.”

Governor Perry does as John requested and meets him at the rodeo. John would rather have a fun night and not discuss whatever problem Perry needs to discuss. They do a little flirting before Perry says, “I’ll make you a deal. I’ll give you the solution tonight and the problem tomorrow. You agree to the solution and we can play teenager for the remainder of the night.”

Perry suggests she’ll appoint Jamie interim attorney general. After she does that, John will appoint someone else to run the Livestock Commission. She thinks it’s the best thing for John and for the valley but admits it might not be best for the state. She reveals it’s all about negotiating an acceptable surrender. She doesn’t reply when John asks the details on the surrender.

John sees problems with Perry’s plan, including the number one issue that he doesn’t have anyone appropriate to replace Jamie. She suggests Kayce and John admits Kayce already turned him down. Perry volunteers to ask him if that’s what John wants. John confirms it’s what he’s always wanted for his son.

Jimmy does a little flirting with a pretty girl who’s interested in going out. He gives her a smile before entering the arena, and Lloyd warns him to concentrate on the horse. He doesn’t take Lloyd’s advice, smiles at her again, and isn’t ready when they open the chute’s gate opens. It’s not long into the ride the crowd reacts to an accident in the arena. Jimmy was bucked off and it appears as though he’s seriously injured. Lloyd races into the arena along with the medics.

Jimmy isn’t moving as they load him on to a stretcher.

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