‘Yellowstone’ Season 5, Episode 6: Major Death Revealed

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

In Yellowstone Season 5, Episode 5, one of John Dutton‘s loved ones gets a cowboy’s “perfect death” as the gathering rages on. But first, please be wary of major spoilers ahead.

As Season 5, Episode 5, “Watch ‘Em Ride Away” came to an end, we watched as every cowboy, ranch hand, and day worker the Duttons could muster would be riding out into the great expanses of the Yellowstone. Together, they take on the gathering built up in that episode throughout Episode 6. And with them is the oldest friend of John Dutton (Kevin Costner), who has decades of wisdom and cowboying on every soul present.

This is longtime Yellowstone character Emmett Walsh, a staunch supporter of John through thick and thin. In fact, Emmett has been a featured player in television’s #1 show since the very first episode, or pilot, “”Daybreak,” and he’s played by none other than Western icon Buck Taylor.

Actor Buck Taylor. (Photo credit: Getty Images Archives)

In Season 5, Episode 5, Emmett reveals he “wouldn’t miss this for the world” as he readies himself to ride off for the gathering. Little did he (or audiences) know, however, that this ride would be his last.

‘Yellowstone’ Says Goodbye to Emmett Taylor

Out in the expanses of the ranch, Kayce (Luke Grimes) and his son, Tate (Brecken Merrill) are herding Yellowstone cattle like the best of ’em throughout Episode 6, “Cigarettes, Whiskey, a Meadow and You.” During, Emmett reveals he brought his fly fishing rod so John’s grandson, Tate (Brecken Merrill) can get his one wish for the trip: fishing. As the youngest and oldest of the party ride off to relax by a stream, John smiles.

“You could sell it, son. You could bottle it up and sell it,” he tells his son, Kayce (Luke Grimes), who reminds his father how much they all needed this day and experience. Emmett included.

Later on, we catch up with John and his old pal as they settle in for the night beneath a far older tree. John teases Emmett about snoring, but there’s no use as the 80-something-year-old cowboy is already sawing logs before John can finish his quip.

“My dad used to say ‘If you can’t sleep through a man’s snoring, you’re not tired enough,” John grumbles. And these two fall asleep under their tree with their heads on their saddles, more at peace than they’ve ever been. A moving montage of the next sunrise follows, yet as John wakes up, he tries to wake his old friend. But Emmett’s not waking.

‘He didn’t wake up. He just died on the trail, like every cowboy dreams of’

Even from a distance, Emmet appears lifeless and cold. And John knows immediately that the sweet cowboy has died in his sleep.

“He didn’t wake up. He just died on the trail, like every cowboy dreams of,” John tells Rip (Cole Hauser) with a lump in his throat. But a cowboy’s work is never done.

John and Clara must ride like the wind to make it back to the ranch to tell Emmett’s wife before she sees his rider-less horse return. Thankfully they do, but Emmett’s wife is inconsolable, and John’s heart breaks as hers does.

As she cries on his shoulder, the local news crew shifts their focus from the festivities to this moment of the Governor of Montana consoling a local woman on the death of her husband, who also happens to be the head of the state’s Fish & Game. “How?” Mrs. Walsh manages to ask of Emmett’s death.

“Like a cowboy should. Head against his saddle, staring at the stars,” John weeps, holding her in his arms. “His eyes closed. He didn’t open ’em.”

Senator Lynelle Perry (Wendy Moniz) joins the event, too. But she doesn’t think Mrs. Walsh is accepting Emmett’s death. John disagrees. “She said it would embarrass him to no end if his death casted a shadow over this branding. She’s just as cowboy as he was,” he replies.

‘I swear that man could fall in a pile of cow shit and come up smelling like a rose’

All of this culminates in a news report on the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch MEPP. One that Jamie (Wes Bentley) and Sarah Atwood (Dawn Olivieri) catch in his apartment. There, they see John comforting Mrs. Walsh in the wake of Emmett’s death. The news anchors declare the Governor was “right where he’s supposed to be” as he comforted his people. And now, public opinion of John will be impenetrably positive.

“I swear that man could fall in a pile of cow shit and come up smelling like a rose,” Jamie scowls. “I admit, he’s hard to beat in a fair fight,” he says of his adoptive father. But Sarah has other plans.

Yellowstone returns next Sunday, December 18 for Episode 7, exclusively on Paramount Network.