No matter the outcome, there are major spoilers ahead for Yellowstone Season 4 within, so proceed at your own risk!
When we last saw Kevin Costner‘s beloved Yellowstone patriarch, he was left for dead in the streets outside his sprawling ranch. That is, until Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) managed to find him on death’s door in Season 4’s unbelievably stirring premiere. How did this harrowing cliffhanger turn out for the Western icon? Let’s take a look.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE SEASON 4 PREMIERE!
In Yellowstone Season 4, Episode 1, “Half the Money,” crows circle overhead as John Dutton lies dying. For over a year, we’ve been left wondering if his bullet-stopping cellphone truly did save his life.
He’s etched out the description of the van that gunned him down onto the pavement as the crows come for his bloody hands. Then, like the Angel of Death himself, Rip appears.
John’s lifeless body goes into their iconic Yellowstone Ram. Through coordinating with Kayce after his own assassination attempt, a helicopter comes for the patriarch to the nearby pasture. Throughout, the old timer is unresponsive as Rip does everything he can to get his boss to safety.
Once the show returns, we see Beth finding her father alive in the hospital. He’s ambling, dazed, and has no idea what day it is. He’s been out for a long, long time: enough for a beard to have grown on his grizzled face.
John has gotten up out of his bed, and isn’t in any shape to do so. The doctors force her exit, and John is put under for surgery to prevent blood clots from taking him for good.
And for all this time, the writing was already on the wall.
‘Yellowstone’: John Dutton’s Future was Written in His Dreams
Much like Season 4’s premiere, Yellowstone Season 3 picks up right where it left off in Season 2. S3’s opener, however, gave the Dutton family a chance to breathe and relax for once. Looking back, though, it is full of foreshadowing of far darker days… The days we’re seeing come to fruition now.
In Season 3, Episode 1, John brings Tate along to set up a frontier camp. The little one’s mother, Monica, believes it’ll be good for him, as Tate is still struggling deeply with nightmares from his abduction. As their day rolls into night, Tate opens up to his grandfather about his nightmares by the light of their camp’s bonfire. The resulting conversation is beyond-ominous, and told audiences exactly how Season 3 was going to end.
“Have you ever had a nightmare?” Tate asks his grandfather.
“Yeah… I have this dream where I stop to help someone on the side of the road, but they don’t want help and then…”
“Nevermind…” John replies.