‘Yellowstone’ TV: Is Rip Wheeler’s Fate ‘Sealed’ After the Death of Wade Morrow

by Thad Mitchell

As we grow closer and closer to the season four premiere of Yellowstone, fan theories are coming fast and furious.

Yellowstone loyalists simply cannot get enough of the Paramount Network series. With the show currently on hiatus, fans are turning to the internet to get their modern western fix. Coming up with theories, some more realistic than others, has become the favorite pastime of Yellowstone fanatics. Message board community sites have become a haven for fans to gather for discussion and debate of their favorite show. Fans can find theories, speculation and reviews of previous episodes in online places like Reddit. The site has a “subreddit” purely dedicated to Yellowstone talk.

A new theory making the internet rounds suggests ranch hand and general bada** Rip Wheeler could be in trouble in season four. The speculative theory deals with the relationship between Rip and fellow ranch hand, Walker. It also pertains to the murder of Wade Morrow carried out by Rip and the bunkhouse boys, including Walker.

Rip and Walker Have Tumultuous Relationship

The relationship between Rip and Walker is fragile, to say the least. Rip has twice sentenced the former inmate to a trip to the “train station,” which for those unaware, is code for killing him. Walker’s life has been spared by Kayce Dutton on both occasions.

Walker is given a “final chance” at the end of season three as he is asked by Rip to participate in the murder of Wade Morrow. In a shocking turn of events, it is revealed that Wade bears the Yellowstone brand on his chest. It is a symbol that he was once part of Yellowstone. John Dutton demands Rip to remove the “Y” brand from his chest, saying it is his and he wants it back. Wade is tied to a tree and Rip orders Walker to cut the brand from his chance as a show of loyalty. He does as he is told and knifes the brand clean off his chest.

Season one of Yellowstone reveals the special meaning behind the brand as a sign of trust, loyalty and second chances. Both Rip and Walker have the brand on their chest. Kayce and Jimmy also have the Yellowstone brand. Colby and Teeter earn their brands by participating in the murder of Wade. Season one also reveals that hands bearing the brand are not to be messed with. In fact, Rip sentences Fred to death in part due to his physical confrontation with Jimmy.

Yellowstone Fans Theorize Rip’s Perdicament

Though he was acting on John Dutton’s orders, some fans theorize Rip will face consequences for harming a brand-bearing man. In a recent edition of “Stories from the Bunkhouse,” Yellowstone actor Jefferson White, who plays Jimmy” talks about the relationship between Rip and Walker. White also discusses possible repercussions that could be in store for Rip.

“Rip, I think actually by Rip’s standards, has given Walker tremendous mercy and patience,” he says. “We have been talking this entire season about this idea of Western justice, this sort of black and white, yes or no way of problem-solving.”

White continues by pointing what happens to ranch hand Fred after he tries to fight Jimmy.

“We saw what happened to Fred, right?” he says. “Fred hit a branded man. When it comes to that brand that is absolute for him.”

Could Rip pay a price for killing the brand-bearing Wade? Will the relationship between Rip and Walker continue going south through the fourth season?

With the new season just months away, answers to these questions are fast approaching. Fan excitement for Yellowstone is at an all-time high as the wait continues.