Yellowstone Season 5, Episode 5 settles a lot of scores as it returns John Dutton to his roots and ramps up the ranch for mid-season action.
‘Watch ‘Em Ride Away’ Synopsis:
John tells Clara to cancel his Capitol meetings to brand cattle with the Yellowstone cowboys. Beth’s disdain for a perceived rival reaches a boiling point.YS5E05
Full Recap of ‘Yellowstone’ Season 5, Episode 5
“Watch ‘Em Ride Away” begins with another trip back to the 1990s as young John Dutton (Josh Lucas) guides his ranch hands through the day’s work. As they line up, a young Beth (Kylie Rogers) plays hard to get between both Rip (Kyle Red Silverstein) and Rowdy (Kai Caster).
No one ends up happy in this scenario, which is exactly why this memory is one that still haunts present-day Beth (Kelly Reilly). As she awakes from another bad dream, she finds her now-husband Rip (Cole Hauser) readying for another 4:00 AM start to the workday.
“Do you ever think about us?” she asks.
“Us is all I think about,” Rip replies.
While Beth is haunted constantly by the past, Rip doesn’t give it any thought (whenever he can help it). His worries come from “tomorrow” instead; a key difference between these two larger than life characters.
‘Oh boy, it’s early for a fire’
As present-day John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and Rip get their day started, the sky is full of smoke. That foreboding wildfire from the end of Yellowstone‘s last episode is burning fiercely, churning out plumes of thick smoke straight over the ranch’s horizon.
“Oh boy. It’s early for a fire,” John Dutton growls at this Western normalcy. As the fire rages, it’s also time to brand this year’s calves. Rip has been helping every ranch around the valley brand their calves (as we saw in Episode 4), but it’s come time for the Yellowstone to take care of their own.
“It’s getting hard to turn people down with you as governor,” Rip tells him. So John decides to kill two huge birds with one stone. He gathers every Dutton ranch hand and hired day worker they’ve got, and prepares them to head way out to pasture, cowboy style. Everyone will be staying in tents, and Gator (Gabriel “Gator” Guilbeau) is to fetch the wagon. It’s about to get real 1883 on Yellowstone, because cowboying to brand cattle hasn’t changed much (if at all) in the last 140 years.
“Nobody knows what the hell we do anymore. It’s time we remind them. Have Gator pull out the wagon. I’m going to invite the whole damn county,” John decides.
As governor, John is about to go to work as the Duttons have for centuries, and let his constituents watch and learn.
Governor John Dutton Comes Into His Own
To do so, he has his assistant, Clara (Lilli Kay) cancel all meetings, and he asks her to invite a news crew out instead. He’s going to literally remind the world what the Yellowstone does. Clara suggests putting together a guest list, but John will have none of it. That is, until she lets him know this could replace “two weeks worth of meetings.” And that, the governor finds enticing.
Out on the front porch, Beth is awaiting her father to discuss her second-least-favorite person, Summer Higgins (Piper Perabo), who is once again a housemate. John explains that he needs her to understand the thousands of lawsuits that leave Montana tied up – from those Yellowstone National Park wolves to bison to sagebrush and more. But Beth is unconvinced.
“You have invited your worst enemy to sleep in your bed,” she tells her father. “And if you think she was f*cking you last night, give her three months. Then the real f*cking is coming.”
In short: Beth doesn’t believe an animal rights activist and environmental protester like Summer could ever, or will ever want to, understand or tolerate the ranching way of life. Because to her, environmentalists “want the land,” period. Just like Dan Jenkins, just like Market Equities, just like everyone else coming for their family legacy.
Summer Takes In ‘Yellowstone’ Proper
Meanwhile, Summer herself is out “checking out her new prison.” She approaches a working paddock, where Carter (Finn Little) is there to ask if she needs help. She asks about the fire in the distance.
“Is anybody going to put it out?”
“They can try. Only thing that can put it out is God,” Carter replies.
“Got puts out the fire?”
“God brings rain. God puts out the fire.”
“Nature puts out the fire, kid,” Summer laughs.
“That’s what I said,” Carter offers sincerely. And this immediately sparks something in Summer.
The Duttons All Find New Meaning Through ‘Yellowstone’s Grand Branding Ride
On their ranch, Monica (Kelsey Asbille) finds Kayce (Luke Grimes) as he breaks into tears on the front porch. “I have no idea what to do,” he tells her.
“We move on. That’s all we can do,” Monica tells him. “Don’t quit your job,” she tells him, before reassuring him that’s not why their baby boy died.
But we don’t see Kayce perk up until she tells him his father called with an invitation for their family to come join the gathering. And Kayce is a changed man instantly.
Back on the Dutton ranch, Beth finds Rip outfitting Carter for that same branding ride ahead. So she asks if she can come, too. This floors Rip, and in turn his reaction floors Beth, and a typical tiff ensues.
“Beth, let’s put the crazy away. Would you like to go on the gathering with me tomorrow?” Rip asks. And she can’t answer. So he smiles before refrazing.
“Beth, love of my life, I don’t think I can survive two days alone. And God knows you hate horses and cattle and being dirty and cold, and especially being told what to do. All of which is going to happen tomorrow. But, would you consider coming and sparing me the misery of being without you?”
“Well I don’t need you miserable,” Beth replies with a wide grin before their playful sides take over.
‘Summer, you are so full of shit’
“You want to come tomorrow?” John asks Summer in the main barn.
“Do I want to sit on the back of an animal you broke into submission? To gather animals you plan to harass and imprison before you mutilate their bodies?” she replies with a smile. “No, I think I’ll stay here.”
“Summer, you are so full of shit,” John laughs, before offering a lengthy comparison between calves and the trauma humans put our babies through after birth, from umbilical cord removal to circumcision. “See my point?”
“Not really,” she replies.
“Well I guess that’s why I’m governor, and you’re under house arrest,” John tells her.
Before long, his family rolls in out front, and Tate (Brecken Merrill) is hoping for some fishing alongside cowboying. “Not this trip, grandson,” John smiles as he tells Kayce how happy he is to see them on the ranch.
As Kayce gets out to ready his horses, Clara asks John “Is that your youngest son?”
“That’s my only son,” John replies. This is made all the more potent as we then finally catch up with Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) in his office. There, Sarah Atwood (Dawn Olivieri) pays Jamie a surprise visit after not returning his calls. And it’s not long before their “unprofessional” relationship gets pushed even further, to say the least.
‘Yellowstone’s Fascinating Family Dynamics Dominate Season 5, Episode 5
Back in the Dutton Lodge, Carter is excited he gets to go on the gathering as he asks Rip and Beth for permission several times over at their dinner table. The rest of the family, however, is eating in the infamous dining room. Kayce, Monica, and Tate are joined by Summer and Clara, but Beth and Rip’s seats are loudly empty.
Gator asks if he should send food to them in the other room, but John won’t have it. “For once, this family’s going to eat together,” he growls as he gets up himself.
Beth must prepare for this by drinking a good four ounces of Tito’s immediately.
“I’m going to regret the shit out of this,” John says to Rip and Carter, who can’t find the words. Then, it’s time for everyone to sit silently at the dinner table together as Gator serves heaps of meat directly in front of Summer.
Which, of course, leads to her and Beth having it out. “Just feed her what we feed the horses,” she tells Gator. Which then makes Kayce laugh, which then has Monica cracking up because it’s all just so damn uncomfortable. Here, Kayce, Monica, and Tate serve to break the tension entirely as they bring the rest of the family to laughter. Which is, thankfully, made easier by Beth inviting Summer out to take a walk so they can “educate” one another. Which absolutely will end terribly. And Rip knows it.
The ‘Yellowstone’ Brawl We’ve All Been Waiting For
“I thought take a walk was a metaphor,” Summer spits to Beth outside. Turns out it was, as Beth turns around and socks her across the jaw. These two proceed to beat the absolute shit out of one another in the front yard, while dinner proceeds inside.
“You know what’s going to happen, sir,” Rip tells John.
“I suspect it’s happening right now. I’m sick of listening to it. Let ’em get it out of their system,” John replies.
“Nothing gets out of your daughter’s system, sir,” Rip warns. And he’s right. Outside, Summer is giving as good as she’s getting as these two polar opposite women punch each other into the ground.
“Do you know how stupid you both look?” Rip asks from the porch as they bleed in the yard. “This is the kind of manners you want to teach that boy? Hmm?” he asks Beth of Carter. “And you,” he turns to Summer. “I don’t know you, but I do know this: You’re never going to convince someone to think the way that you do by insulting them in their own house. You don’t like the food? Then don’t f*cking eat it. I don’t think I need to tell you about all the people that are starving around this planet tonight. So shut the f*ck up. Or leave.”
“I can’t leave,” Summer says through her own blood. So Rip squares them up like cowboys to punch each other in the face until they’ve had enough, “instead of rolling around in the dirt like nine-year-olds.” And so they do, with each woman brutally punching the other in-turn.
With Scores Evened, It’s Time for the Gathering
It ends with Summer in the grass, finally collapsing under pressure (and tears). But Beth helps her up, telling Summer to respect her in her own home, that’s it.
“What respect do I get?” Summer asks.
“Exactly what you give,” Beth replies.
Back inside, John can’t look at them both all bloody, so he excuses everyone. Right before Beth spits one of her teeth out onto her plate, and Summer finds this rather gratifying.
In the living room, John and Rip and pour whiskey to discuss Beth and how much the world has changed since the original Duttons fought for the land they’re on, and how “free” Beth must feel to act as she does. He envies her.
But it’s time to get some rest before an early morning, as the gathering is the next morning. As the ranch hands, day workers, and everyone in-between mount their horses, Summer approaches Beth. She has no idea what to do for the two days they’ll all be gone. So Beth tells her to take a walk around their ranch to understand the Duttons better. “Tell me if there’s a forest in all of America that’s in better shape, or more loved. Then tell us we’re your enemy,” she tells her.
As the cowboys line up before John, he gives them the same game plan we heard him give to Rip a good twenty years prior in that opening flashback. It’s here that we see his old friend, Emmett Walsh ( Western legend Buck Taylor) is there to join, and the old timer “wouldn’t miss this for the world.”
And as they ride away, it’s just Summer and Monica left on the ranch, the latter of which is in tears. “If it doesn’t make you cry to watch your family ride away, you probably shouldn’t have one,” she smiles to Summer as she wipes her tears, and her family heads for the horizon.
Yellowstone returns next Sunday, Dec. 11 for Season 5, Episode 6, exclusively on Paramount Network.