‘Yellowstone’ Season 3 Episode 4 Recap: “Going Back to Cali”

Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 4
Wendy Moniz-Grillo and Kevin Costner in ‘Yellowstone’ season 3 episode 4 (Photo Credit: Paramount Network)

Season three episode three of Paramount Network’s Yellowstone ended with Jimmy thrown from a horse in the rodeo arena. Episode four, “Going Back to Cali,” begins with elk and buffalo grazing peacefully. The scene immediately switches to something less idyllic – Jimmy (Jefferson White) in the hospital in bad shape. John (Kevin Costner) is reading the newspaper while seated next to his bed, and Jimmy wakes to ask what day it is.

John jokes about the day being payday for the hospital, due to Jimmy’s bills. John ticks off the list of Jimmy’s injuries – compression fracture in his neck, two compression fractures in his back, and bone fragments are up against his spine. The doctor replaced Jimmy’s hip because it was shattered, making Jimmy the doctor’s youngest patient to undergo that procedure. He’s also got a concussion, and John makes another joke this time about the symptoms of concussions.

“I asked if there’s another symptom since nauseous and confused is your natural state of being,” jokes John.

In other words, Jimmy’s lucky to be alive. He worries about how to pay for everything and John demands Jimmy look at him. He assures Jimmy the hospital bills are not a concern if he promises not to return to rodeoing. Jimmy won’t make that promise (and John knew he wouldn’t) so he tosses Jimmy a coil of rope. “Learn to rope. All you’re risking is a thumb and you’ve got two of those,” suggests John.

As John’s leaving, Jimmy thanks him.

A nurse enters to get Jimmy up and moving around, but first she has to remove his catheter. Of course, that’s when the girl Jimmy was flirting with at the rodeo enters his room. She laughs about getting a peek at his penis so early in their relationship, and then both women comment on its size. Apparently, Jimmy is well endowed.

Over at the Painted Horse Casino, Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) and Mo (Mo Brings Plenty) meet with an attorney to find out if Ellis’ legal maneuvering with a Cease and Desist Order is legitimate. Do they have a case? The lawyer believes it’s a chess move meant to tie Rainwater and the tribe up in court for years if they fight it. The lawyer also believes Ellis and his team don’t want the tribe’s land – they just don’t want an Indian casino to go up next to their planned community.

Rainwater explains there are two futures for this area. One, all the hobby farms, ranches, and homes are wiped away which would return the land to its former state. People would live with the land and not on it. Or two, this community becomes a “concrete world.”

Rainwater thinks the money from the casino will give him the ability to make the first possible future a reality.

After the lawyer leaves, Mo suggests now’s the time for Rainwater to fight fire with fire. Rainwater believes the people won’t like that, but he agrees it’s now necessary. He puts in a call to Angela Blue Thunder, something he’s been reluctant to do.

Meanwhile, Beth (Kelly Reilly) wants to short Market Equities, but Bob Schwartz isn’t sure about that move. It’s risky and is basically poking the bear. Beth, as always, is able to talk her boss into endorsing her plan. She’ll handle leaking details to the press while Bob will call all the fund managers.

Beth believes if Ellis and Market Equities already had the necessary permits for the airport, they’d be making more noise about it.

Governor Lynelle Perry (Wendy Moniz-Grillo) shows up at Yellowstone Ranch looking for John. Jake (Jake Ream) explains he’s up at summer camp and, unfortunately, she can’t get there in a car. After she confirms she can ride a horse, one of her security detail advises her that’s not allowed due to security concerns.

Jake decides an alternative solution is to drive her up in an off-road vehicle.

John watches their approach and then greets Lynelle, wondering what’s up. She’s there to ask Kayce to take over as Livestock Commissioner. As she heads off to speak with Kayce, John sends Jake back to fetch Jamie. He acknowledges it’s fine if Jake takes his time doing so.

Governor Perry and Kayce (Luke Grimes) walk and talk, and she explains the cattlemen need someone to protect their livelihood. Kayce would be perfect for that. She also admits she needs Jamie for a different job – one that will help keep this ranch from becoming a city. Kayce’s confused why she wouldn’t want progress, and Lynelle explains she wants to keep what it is that makes Montana Montana.

As Montana’s Governor, she can’t just say no or they’ll vote her out and replace her with someone who will say yes. Jamie, however, can make the law say no as Attorney General. That’s why she’s appointing Jamie to that position and appointing Kayce to Livestock Commissioner. He needs to take the position to help keep the land the way it is.

Kayce reluctantly agrees but says he’ll do the job his way. Governor Perry assures him that’s nothing less than she’d expect.

Beth’s off work and ready to relax. She heads over to Rip’s place and he confesses he can get used to her company. Rip (Cole Hauser) loves it when she calls him Baby and asks what he should call her. She whispers, “Wife,” and after a moment of stunned silence she takes it back. She rises from his lap and heads inside to make them dinner.

Governor Perry’s done with Kayce but her ride hasn’t returned. (John planned it that way to give them time together.) She jokes she’s been kidnapped as they flirt and drink. John oozes charm as she finally gives in and agrees to spend the night. She does, however, assure him she has to leave first thing in the morning.

Lynelle relaxes into his arms as they discuss wide-open spaces and watching the sunset.

Over at the hospital, Jimmy’s back in bed and losing his virginity to his new barrel-racing girlfriend. Whoa, did not see that twist coming!

The following morning Kayce and John both rise from their tents about the same time. Kayce’s interested in breakfast but talk of eating is put aside when Lynelle calls John back into the tent. The awkward moment ends with Kayce telling his dad he’ll see him later.

It’s also awkward over at Rip’s place. Rip’s about to leave for an auction when Beth confesses she knows she shouldn’t have brought up marriage. Rip assures her he doesn’t talk about their future only because when he does, she runs away. “I look at every day with you as a gift,” says Rip, adding, “My tomorrows are all yours. There’s no word that I’d rather call you if that’s what you want.”

The only time Beth allows herself to be vulnerable is with Rip. She reveals she runs away because there’s only so much she can give him. When he says she gives him everything, she confesses she can’t have children.

“Being with me is the end of you,” explains Beth.

Rip shakes his head and gently smiles. He claims the world doesn’t need another generation of him. Plus, he’s not interested in having a bunch of kids running around the house. He sweetly chuckles as Beth tears up. “You’re all I need. I’ll call you whatever you want,” he assures her.

They kiss and then Rip holds her tight. “’Beth’ is fine…for now,” she says. (Kelly Reilly and Cole Hauser have incredible chemistry and completely nail these intensely intimate scenes. They’re absolutely riveting.)

And now we get our first glimpse at Beth’s handiwork. Roarke (Josh Holloway) learns from a business report on TV that Market Equities Group has had the largest slide of the day, down over 7.5%. He’s shocked and immediately jumps online to find out what’s going on. He spots articles stating the group has made bad investments in Montana and immediately realizes who caused the dip in stocks.

Over at the casino, Mo lights sage for protection as Angela Blue Thunder (Q’orianka Kilcher) arrives for a meeting with Thomas Rainwater. She warns them there’s no protection from her and immediately douses the sage.

Angela’s not pleased with Rainwater’s management of the casino’s money and claims their land’s about to be stolen by a Fortune 500 company. Rainwater admits that’s why he called her in on this, aware she can help out the tribe. She agrees to help him and then abruptly leaves. The meeting took less than two minutes.

Once Angela’s gone, Rainwater explains she’s not evil, she’s angry and looking to punish the world.

Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 4
Luke Grimes, Brecken Merrill, and Kelsey Asbille in ‘Yellowstone’ season 3 episode 4 (Photo Credit: Paramount Network)

Monica (Kelsey Asbille) attempts to convince Tate (Brecken Merrill) to bathe in the river but he’s not having it. It’s obvious the family’s in a good space now, but Monica and Kayce both know they can’t live like this forever. Kayce suggests they live for each day.

They begin making out but Kayce stops, spotting that same wolf nearby. Kayce thinks the wolf is studying them to find out what he’ll do if it starts killing their calves.

Kayce jumps to his feet and grabs the rifle, ready to shoot the wolf. He’s warned it twice now, but it continues to hang around. Monica demands he put the rifle down. She holds his hand as he tries to move away and says, “Don’t stop loving me to kill something.”

Kayce puts the rifle back down and returns his attention to Monica.

Rip and Lloyd (Forrie J. Smith) finish up their purchases at the auction. The wranglers move the cattle onto their trailers but one they didn’t purchase tries to join the group. Teeter (Jen Landon) jumps into the chute and shoos the cow back where it belongs.

Rip and Lloyd chuckle over their latest hire, and Lloyd assures Rip Teeter is ruling the bunkhouse. All the wranglers are scared to death of her, as they should be.

The wranglers, including Teeter, drive the cattle back to the ranch. Teeter jokes that Colby (Denim Richards) should crawl up onto lap, but then they spot trouble off the side of the road and the joking subsides.

Bikers have cut the ranch’s fence and are drinking, listening to music, and cooking something over a fire. Colby doesn’t want to fight but they need to do something. Ryan (Ian Bohen), Colby, and Teeter approach the group and Ryan patiently explains they’re on private land. The national park’s on the other side of the road.

The leader of the trespassing group wonders why it says Yellowstone on a sign when Ryan just called this place Dutton Ranch. Ryan remains patient as he explains the ranch’s name is Yellowstone and all they have to do is move across the road. He flashes his Livestock Agent badge and they laugh.

Teeter’s the first to throw a punch when one of the female bikers calls her a pink-haired hick and a b*tch. Fists fly and, unfortunately, the wranglers are greatly outnumbered; it’s pretty much 3-to-1 in the bikers’ favor.

Just then Rip and Lloyd race up in their truck and Rip plows through the nearest batch of bikes, destroying them.

Rip and Lloyd exit the truck and join the fray. The odds have vastly improved and the wranglers get the upper hand. One of the bikers pulls a gun and threatens to shoot Rip, and Lloyd pulls his own and warns, “It’ll be the last f**king thing you ever do!”

Rip strides toward the man with the gun, challenging him to pull the trigger. He doesn’t and Rip easily disarms him and then hits him across the face with his own gun.

Rip demands to know who’s the boss and they point out a big guy with a beard who’s on the ground, writhing in pain. Rip kicks him and then pulls him to his feet. “I’m going to give you one last chance. You leave now or you never leave. I’ll bury you where you f**king stand!” snarls Rip.

Once the bikers head toward their motorcycles, Rip checks on the wranglers. Colby has a broken hand, but Ryan and Teeter are okay. Ryan explains all he did was ask them to leave.

The guys – and Teeter – fix the fence. They realize that when the bikers return for their crushed motorcycles, they’re sure to screw with the field.

Sure enough, later that night they do return with trucks for the bikes. They cut the fence again and they’ve brought gasoline to light the field on fire. Two of the bikers walk out into the field, with only a flashlight lighting their way. The light catches John who’s holding a rifle and seated on what appears to be a fallen tree.

They’re right to assume he owns the ranch and as the two bikers are joined by two other cohorts, John asks why they returned to burn his field. It’s his home and they damaged his fence to get to his property. John asks what they’d do if he did this to their home, and the leader admits he’d kill him.

John agrees and it’s at that moment the bikers realize they’ve made a huge mistake. Rip, Kayce, Ryan, and Lloyd emerge from the darkness and surround the bikers. They light up the group and have their weapons drawn as John reminds the bikers they were warned to not return or they’d be buried in this field. John assures him they keep their word in this valley.

John tosses shovels their way as the bikers, panicking, promise to leave. John insists it’s too late for that and demands they start digging.

A few hours later, the men have dug fairly deep when John stops them. They try to leave their holes but John doesn’t let them. When one man asks for sympathy by claiming he has children, John says he does too.

Finally, John tells them he’s leaving the holes they’ve dug in his field. If they ever return, he’ll fill them with their bodies. John makes the men repeat after him, saying they’re going back to California and acknowledging Montana doesn’t want them. The leader swears he’s never coming back and John assures him he’ll hold him to that promise.

After the bikers walk away, John and Kayce have a short talk. Kayce asks if they should fill the holes and John reveals they want to build an airport here. When Kayce asks what he’s going to do about it, John admits he’s not sure yet. John then turns to Rip and tells him to instruct the men to take down his tent up at the camp. He’s returning to living in the lodge.

“My summer’s over,” says John.