Why Some ‘Yellowstone’ Fans Are Confused About Dutton Ranch Brand in Season 4

by Thad Mitchell

One of the most talked-about aspects of the hit Paramount Network series “Yellowstone” is the act of branding workers on the ranch.

Now, some “Yellowstone” fans are confused as to just what the brand is supposed to mean. The purpose of branding a “Yellowstone” Ranch worker is vague, at best. We have seen several ranch hands earn their brand through three and a half seasons. Still, there is a great deal of mystery surrounding the brand and its significance to the show. In a Reddit post, fans discuss the confusion behind the brand’s meaning.

“The brand made sense until they gave it to Walker,” a Reddit user says. “I thought you had to earn the brand but they picked Walker up as a rando from prison and then branded him without him even really understanding what it meant. Then they tried to murder him when he didn’t live up to their expectations. Then the brand made even less sense when Rip decided to brand the whole crew after getting revenge on the old guy (Wade Morrow). Now it makes even less sense because Teeter is branded and they’re just kicking her out.”

It is certainly fair to question just what the “Yellowstone” brand means but we do have a few things to go by. We learn of the practice of “Y” branding in the very first episode. Rip Wheeler tells Jimmy that he can accept the brand or go to prison with Jimmy choosing the brand. Before Walker is branded, Rip tells him the “Y” brand is “just for the criminals.”

Last season, we see a handful of ranch hands earn the “Yellowstone” brand by participating in the murder of Wade and Clint Morrow. Colby and Teeter are among this group earning brands last season.

‘Yellowstone’ Fans Question The Ranch’s Branding Practice

“Yellowstone” watchers love a good debate and the branding practice makes for excellent fodder. Fans seem especially miffed that two brand-wearers, Jimmy and Teeter, have been jettisoned from the ranch.

“I thought the whole thing with the brand was that it meant death was your only way off the ranch,” another fan says.

Another Redditor suggests that perhaps earning a brand isn’t the symbol of respect that many think it is.

“Seems to me that it’s a symbol of people being treated the same as the animals,” the Redditor says. “The main point of the brand is that your ass belongs to John Dutton. It became clear to me in the latest episode with Lloyd and Walker essentially being broken like wild horses. But the Teeter thing is just one of many plot holes.”

Regardless of your thoughts on the “Yellowstone” brand, it is highly likely to continue being a storyline. Hopefully, “Yellowstone” writers will give clarity on just what the brand means.