Season 3. Episodes 1 and 3

With John Wayne, Gene Autry and all the television cowboys, like Bob Culp, Steve McQueen and Richard Boone, gone to their bunkhouses in the sky, all those of us who still pine for open skies and sweaty horses have left is America’s last cowboy, the stoic, invincible Kevin Costner. Thank you, Lord.

Costner’s John Dutton, an old time rancher with the temper of Ahab, but the cool of Gary Cooper’s “High Noon” Marshal Will Kane, is back in the saddle again running the Dutton Ranch, and we’re grateful.

After the finale of last season with its grand shootout and rescue of John’s grandson, not to mention the breathtaking rescue of sister Beth (Kelly Reilly) and the bloody takedown of the bad, bad Beck Brothers. My, but that was so satisfying.

But John took a hit for his overreactions to every slight, and bored with dealing with the governor, he has given up his power job as livestock commissioner.

We were never crazy about the job. The meat of “Yellowstone” is watching Big John stand on his front porch staring off into the sunset, virtually simmering like a chunk of steak, and plotting revenge.



We expected season three “You’re the Indian Now” to start off with a bang, forgetting that this isn’t Costner and Robert Duvall blasting their way through in the delicious 2003 “Open Range.”

“You’re The Indian Now” floats in soft and silent with John plotting to keep family in the statehouse rejected by son Kayce (Luke Grimes) and Beth, and ranch boss Rip (Cole Hauser) are out where we want them, up on the high ground with the cows.

But trouble with a capital T pops up when the boys spot a pack of flatlander “suits,” walking through the tall grass like real estate scouts.

They’re worse. They come with Republican land grabbing cash, looking to bring private jets and ski lifts to the pristine Yellowstone.

We need to know more about these city folk before we can imagine the enormity of what they’re planning, and we do in episode 3 …..



When our mysterious Easterners meet with Gov. Perry (Wendy Monitz-Grillo) and lay out their plan — a multi billion dollar a year development plan for Montana, promising cash on the saddle for all involved.

Originally it was going to be about redeveloping Paradise Valley Golf Course for a playground for the very rich, and an international airport.

But the hungry (pre-COVID-19) rich have now grown hungrier, and switched their plan to … wait for it … The Yellowstone, with seventh generation ranches and yes, the Dutton homestead.

“They’ll (meaning Dutton) never sell.” Gov. Perry opines.

Our slick developer replies, “Then you evoke eminent domain.”


Of course President Trump tried that with Texan land owners to build his wall. How did that go?

A secretary, loyal to the Dutton family, overhears the plan and phones it in to our gorgeous butt-kicking Dutton daughter Beth.

From where we Costner/cowboy/rodeo fans sit, we can hear the phones ringing in the valley and the click of rifle bolts in the bunkhouses. “Yellowstone” is shaping up for an old-fashioned showdown.

Stay tuned.

J.P. Devine, of Waterville, is a former stage and screen actor.

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