‘Yellowstone’ Season 4: What Did John Dutton Spell in Blood?

by Leanne Stahulak

SPOILER WARNING! If you read on, know that we’ll be talking about major plot points from last night’s “Yellowstone” Season 4 premiere.

The first thing that appeared on our screens during the “Yellowstone” Season 4 premiere last night was John Dutton’s bloody hand. That’s an intentional move on the showrunners’ part because the message he writes with his own blood contains a lot of key information.

About 30 seconds into the episode, we see that message laid out in the gravel beside John. It has an arrow pointing to John’s left along with the initial “NB.” Below that, he writes, “Blue van 2 tone.”

At this point, viewers really don’t know if John will bleed out on the side of this road. But if he does, he’s prepared to take the sons of guns who did this down with him. And sure enough, when Rip finds John minutes or hours later, he gets the message and passes it on to Kayce. Teaming up with the sheriff, Kayce and the livestock agents pursue the blue two-tone van heading “northbound” on 540.

For the next 15 minutes of the “Yellowstone” Season 4 premiere, chaos ensues. The bunkhouse is under attack, Rip’s trying to get John to a helicopter, Beth walks out of the demolished Schwartz & Meyer all burned up, and Kayce gets into another gunfight with the men who shot his father. John’s message in blood ends up helping Kayce find the men responsible and kill them for what they did to his family.

For a moment, it seems like the men in the van might just get back at the Duttons, though. Kayce gets shot twice in spots not covered by his bullet-proof vest. And the first 15 minutes end with him collapsing on the side of the road. We don’t see him again until the very end of Episode 1.

‘Yellowstone’ Season 4: John Dutton Focuses on Recovering

During the first two episodes of “Yellowstone” Season 4, we see John Dutton in pretty bad shape. He spends several months in a coma, recovering from multiple gunshot wounds. And when he finally gets back to the ranch, it’s not easy going for him.

We can tell that walking long distances or standing too long takes its toll on John. He manages to ride a horse, but we can tell he’s hurting when he gets on and when he gets off. Luckily, in “Yellowstone” Season 4 Episode 2, John spends some time in a mineral hot spring to help him recover. His doctor did tell him to soak in a hot bath twice a day, after all.

But John doesn’t plan on just “resting” anytime soon. At one point, John tells Kayce, “No one ever got well sitting in a f—–g bed. One thing I know about life: When you stop moving, it’s over. So if riding back from here kills me, so be it.”

Despite everything he’s been through, John plans on moving forward with life, and sometimes that’s all we can ever do.