‘Yellowstone’ Season 5, Episode 3 Ending Explained: (SPOILER) Dutton Goes to Jail

by Jon D. B.
Yellowstone Season 5, Episode 3. (Photo credit: Paramount Network Press)

That really just happened! Here’s what that wild Season 5, Episode 3 ending means for Yellowstone moving forward. But first, beware of major spoilers ahead!

If there’s a theme running through Yellowstone Episode 5 so far, it’s got to be consequences. The Dutton family – all of them – are finally reaping what they’ve sewn, and it isn’t pretty. Especially for one Beth Dutton.

To cut right to the chase, Episode 3, “Tall Drink of Water,” has one of the best endings in Yellowstone history as Beth, Rip, and the bunkhouse boys go out for a wild night on the town. Yet it ends about as badly as it could as Beth assaults a drunk woman in a bar, smashes a beer bottle over her head, and gets promptly carted off to jail.

This is huge for the show. It’s far from the first time Beth has done something wildly unacceptable to a stranger in public. But it is the first time Beth’s actually met realistic consequences for her actions. And boy, is Rip Wheeler pissed.

How Does Beth Dutton End Up in Jail?

It all started innocently enough, with Beth (Kelly Reilly) wishing to celebrate her perceived victory over Market Equities & Caroline Warner (Jacki Weaver). so she drags Carter (Finn Little) and husband Rip (Cole Hauser) down to the bunkhouse. There, the lads and lasses are celebrating Lloyd’s (Forrie J. Smith) birthday. But the cowboys are just playing poker, and Beth is incredibly bored.

“Don’t you guys do this every night?” she asks. Which, yes, they do. So the Dutton daughter one-ups Rip and takes their real cowboys out to a “fake cowboy bar” for a night of fun.

“We’ll be back before midnight,” Beth reassures her worried husband. “Nothing bad happens before midnight.”

And oh, how wrong Beth is. It sure doesn’t feel that way at first, however, as we’re treated to a particularly fun montage of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch crew having a blast in a local bar for a solid 10 minutes of the episode. It really is the perfect night at first.

Cole Hauser as Rip Wheeler, Kelly Reilly as Beth Dutton in Yellowstone Season 5, Episode 3. (Photo credit: Paramount Network Press)

That is, until a drunk stranger (a.k.a. that girl) gets up close and personal with Rip.

She lays it on thick, too. Putting her hands all over Rip, she asks the “tall, dark and handsome” cowboy where his wife is. Rip grins wide as he points to Beth, who is giving this drunk the definition of a death stare.

“I’ll handle this,” the drunk stranger smiles as she walks off to confront Beth.

“Please don’t,” Rip replies. Then he panics, because he knows exactly what Beth will do to this woman. “Lloyd, it’s time to go,” he shouts. But it’s too late. As soon as this drunk lady speaks to his wife, she absolutely loses it. Beth strikes the stranger, then smashes a beer bottle over her head, and a wild west bar brawl ensues.

The Law Comes For the Duttons in ‘Yellowstone’ Season 5, Episode 3, and the Law’s Name is Sheriff Ramsay

This particular public feud does not end like most previous ones on Yellowstone. Instead, there are direct and dire consequences (there’s that word again). The police show up immediately, as they would in reality, as there are folks bleeding and beating the absolute sh*t out of one another. And it only gets worse from there.

This is when it’s pertinent to remember that Yellowstone has a new sheriff in town. It’s none other than Sheriff Bill Ramsay (Rob Kirkland), finally making his return for Season 5.

Rob Kirkland as Sheriff Bill Ramsay in Yellowstone Season 4. (Photo credit: Paramount Network Press)

Ramsay’s been a recurring character since early seasons, and in Season 4 we saw him take on the role of sheriff after the death of John Dutton’s (Kevin Costner) longtime friend and confidante, Sheriff Donnie Haskall (Hugh Dillon).

Unlike Haskall, who the Duttons could manipulate, Ramsay made it clear in Season 4 that he was not going to be bent. Instead, he is here to uphold the law, and not the will of one man. This means, as he makes clear, Ramsay doesn’t care who Beth is. In this scenario, she’s treated as exactly what she is: A woman who assaulted another woman.

But this doesn’t stop Rip from telling Sheriff Ramsay this will become “his problem” if he doesn’t let Beth go. The staunch lawman doesn’t back down, however, and Beth is carted off like a common criminal.

What a wild turn that night took, and fast. As Episode 3 ends, Beth is in the back of a cop car as the woman she assaulted screams at Rip. “You bet your ass I’m going to press charges!” she shouts, furious and bleeding from the scalp.

We’ll find out Beth’s fate next Sunday, Nov. 27 at 8 PM ET when Yellowstone Season 5 returns with Episode 4, exclusively on Paramount Network.