The Peaks of ‘Yellowstone’: 7 Episodes That Define the Series, Ranked

“Yellowstone” is a riveting drama that captures the epic saga of the Dutton family, led by patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner), as they defend their sprawling Montana ranch against encroaching land developers, an adjacent Indian reservation, and political threats. Set against a backdrop of stunning landscapes, the series, created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson, delves into the complexities of family loyalty, power struggles, and the preservation of legacy.

With its blend of Western genre elements and contemporary issues, “Yellowstone” has not only redefined modern American drama but also spawned successful spin-offs like “1883” and “1923,” further exploring the Dutton family’s rich history and enduring legacy.

(1) The World Is Purple The Season 3 finale of “Yellowstone” stands as the series’ most monumental episode yet, drawing to a close with a significant assault on the Dutton family. This dramatic conclusion wraps up what is arguably “Yellowstone’s” finest season, leaving viewers in suspense about the fate of beloved characters for months. In a harrowing turn of events, Beth’s office is targeted once more, this time by a bomb delivered through the mail. Kayce faces a barrage of gunfire in his office, while John Dutton is ambushed and shot multiple times after pausing to assist a stranded motorist.

(2) Sins Of The Father – Season 2, Episode 10: The showdown with the Beck brothers escalates into the most intense and perilous conflict the Dutton family faces in the series. Unrestrained by moral boundaries, the Becks pursue their ambitions relentlessly, culminating in the season 2 finale where the Yellowstone Ranch team deals a decisive and gratifying strike against their foes. This episode shines a spotlight on Rip, showcasing one of his most poignant interactions with John Dutton and highlighting his heroics as he charges into the fray on horseback, diverting enemy fire in the climactic confrontation.

(3) Resurrection Day – Season 2, Episode 7: “Resurrection Day” features some of the most intense moments in “Yellowstone,” particularly memorable for the attack on Beth’s office orchestrated by the Beck brothers’ henchmen. Fortuitously, Rip arrives just in time to rescue Beth, who fiercely defends herself until help arrives. Braving a hail of bullets, Rip intervenes to protect his future wife, although she has already endured a harrowing ordeal. This season 2 episode stands out for its darkness, signaling the severe level of violence the characters are set to face.

(4) Meaner Than Evil – Season 3, Episode 9: The second-to-last episode of “Yellowstone” Season 3 delivers memorable moments for the bunkhouse crew, with Ryan, Colby, and Teeter receiving their brands. These characters add a layer of humor and camaraderie that contrasts with the intense drama surrounding the Dutton family, endearing them as favorite supporting figures. They join forces with Rip to apprehend Wade and Clint, who were instigating chaos on the ranch under Roarke’s direction. The confrontation leads to Wade’s grisly fate, as his Yellowstone brand is forcibly removed. Additionally, this episode features Jamie’s pivotal meeting with his biological father, Garrett Randall, marking a significant moment in his storyline.

(5) Enemies By Monday – Season 2, Episode 9: “Enemies by Monday,” a standout episode from Season 2 of “Yellowstone,” features two pivotal moments: Tate’s kidnapping and Jimmy avenging his grandfather’s unjust death. However, the episode’s highlight is Beth rushing to Monica’s defense in a clothing store after Monica is wrongfully accused of theft. Beth’s scathing confrontation with the saleswoman over her discriminatory behavior stands out as one of her most powerful moments in the series. This scene, whether motivated by her desire to protect Monica or driven by her own ethical standards, showcases Beth’s formidable character.

(6) Half The Money – Season 4, Episode 1: Season 4 of the “Yellowstone” series may not rank as highly as its predecessors, yet it begins with promise in its initial episodes. The premiere episode, “Half the Money,” effectively addresses the aftermath of Season 3’s dramatic finale, where the Dutton family narrowly escapes death. This episode sets the stage for the season’s unfolding mystery concerning the identity of the person behind the attack on the Duttons. Additionally, it features the significant moment where Beth encounters Carter for the first time outside the hospital, adding depth to the season’s narrative.

(7) Blood The Boy – Season 2, Episode 6: Jamie experiences a series of fluctuations in his journey throughout “Yellowstone,” yet “Blood the Boy” marks a particularly dark chapter for him. Faced with dire circumstances, he makes the drastic choice to kill a reporter to prevent her from exposing sensitive details he has inadvertently shared about the Dutton family. Caught in a moment of vulnerability and anger, Jamie’s lapse in judgment results in the death of reporter Sarah. This episode, which also unveils flashbacks of Jamie’s estrangement from the family, orchestrated by John, evokes a complex mix of emotions towards his character. Regardless of one’s feelings for Jamie, this revealing episode elicits sympathy for his predicament, highlighting the deep-seated conflicts that shape his actions.