In Episode 4, “Horses in Heaven,” Kayce (Luke Grimes), Monica (Kelsey Asbille), and Tate Dutton (Brecken Merrill) head back for the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. There, Broken Rock kin are digging the grave for late baby John Dutton IV. Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) and the Dutton cowboys come across them, and offer to help dig.
In doing so, they end up digging a grave to bury John Dutton Sr.’s (Kevin Costner) horse beside baby John as part of his Indigenous ceremony.
Down in their family graveyard, Kayce and Monica grieve their late son, placing the final dirt over his burial as the ceremony commences. Once it ends, John approaches Monica as she sits alone by her baby’s mound. And it is here that the patriarch opens up to her in an incredibly moving way.
John Dutton Reveals Secret Losses of His Own in ‘Yellowstone’ Season 5, Episode 4
“I know how you feel,” John begins. “I wished I didn’t, but I do – I buried a son right over there,” he laments of the late Lee Dutton (Dave Annable).
Monica nods through her tears. “I remember,” she replies.
“Blaming yourself aren’t you?” the patriarch asks as he sits beside her; baby John’s grave before them. “I did that, too. Still do some days. But John has much more to share
“I’ll tell you something I never told anybody. I had a brother for about eighteen hours. His name was Peter. He was born early. His little heart wasn’t strong enough. Not much they could do back in those days; not a lot they can do now. So they just gave him back to my mother. Doctors hoped, we prayed, and neither worked.
“It changed my mother. It hardened her. She never tried to have children again. Years later, I was grown and Lee had just been born. Both my parents are looking at him, taking turns holding him. And my father got white as a ghost, looked at my mother and said ‘Peter lived a perfect life. All he saw of this planet was you, and all he knew was that you loved him.’
“That boy lived a perfect life, Monica,” John tells her of baby John. “We’re the only ones who know it was brief. All he knew was you. And that you loved him.”
‘Horses in heaven. Wouldn’t that be something.’
If Yellowstone hasn’t made you tear up before now, this tender scene probably did it. It’s a wonderful moment between two characters who have often been at odds. But in this moment, the familial love between them is palpable. And the legacy of John Dutton becomes all the more heartbreaking – both for the grandfather and the loss of the grandson of the same name.
Later on the porch, Rip tells John his horse has been buried next to his grandson “so the boy can ride him into heaven” as part of his Indigenous burial.
“Horses in heaven. Wouldn’t that be something,” John smiles sadly.
We’ll be back with more from Yellowstone Season 5, Episode 4 as it airs exclusively on Paramount Network. For more on the legacy of the John Dutton name, be sure to see our full Dutton Family Tree right here on Outsider.