‘Yellowstone’: Is John Dutton’s Logic ‘Inconsistent’ When It Comes to the Ranch?

by Thad Mitchell

The central protagonist on the hit Paramount Network series “Yellowstone,” John Dutton rules his kingdom with an iron fist.

“My kingdom, my rules” is a phrase that John Dutton likes to use when declaring his stance on what the “Yellowstone” Ranch should be. Played to perfection by Hollywood icon Kevin Costner, John is an aging cowboy who must fight to keep what is his. He does exactly that each and every time his family or his ranch comes under attack from outsiders. He often expresses displeasure in humanity and has remarked that humans will eventually be the root cause of their own demise. Some “Yellowstone” fans suggest that John’s philosophy and words don’t match up with his actions. It is the topic of discussion in a recent Reddit thread.

“If John is convinced that the earth is going to ‘shake off’ humanity and there will be ‘grass on the streets and weeds on the rooftops’ then what difference does it make who owns the Yellowstone?” a poster asks. “Why endanger your family by fighting so hard to keep something if you think the world of humanity is doomed anyway? Sell it off and live in peace. Doesn’t make sense to me. I’m not starting a philosophy debate, I’m wondering why they’re writing this character this way. It seems inconsistent to me.”

John defends his ranch and family with much gusto but his motivation for doing so is murky. His primary objective seems to be protecting the only way of life his family has ever known.

“It’s a matter of John keeping a promise and loving the land,” another Reddit user says. “Even if he believes in its inevitable destruction, he refuses to contribute to it. Obviously, his principles are more important than financial gain.”

‘Yellowstone’ Fans Question John Dutton’s Motives

Through “Yellowstone” prequel “1883,” we learn that the cattle ranch, one of the country’s biggest, has belonged to the Duttons for well over a century. The ranch has been passed down from generation to generation and is now in John’s hands. He has every intention of keeping it that way though outsiders want his property for themselves.

“John is acting on promises he made to his ancestors, e.g. to keep the ranch and never to sell,” another Redditor says. “That makes it easy for him, in a way. That the outcome may be futile for the ranch in particular and humanity as a species is irrelevant.”

As every “Yellowstone” fan knows, John prides himself on keeping his word. In previous episodes, he’s revealed that his instructions are to keep the ranch intact and in the family.

“Keeping his word to his father means the world to him,” a fan proclaims. “He realizes what his ancestors sacrificed to obtain that land and selling it would cheapen their lives. He can’t (in good faith) do that to them.”