‘Yellowstone’ Season 5 Premiere: Full Recap of Episode 1, ‘One Hundred Years Is Nothing’

by Jon D. B.
Kevin Costner as John Dutton in Yellowstone Season 5 Premiere. (Photo credit: Paramount Network/MTV Press)

John Dutton, what have you done? Yellowstone is back, and the Season 5 premiere wastes no time in thrusting the Dutton family forward. Read on for a full recap of Season 5, Episode 1 after the synopsis below. But please beware of major spoilers within.

‘Yellowstone’ Season 5, Episode 1 Synopsis:

John Dutton is sworn in as Governor of Montana; as John settles into the powers of his new office, he makes bold moves to protect the Yellowstone from his opponents; the bunkhouse and the Duttons enjoy the Governor’s ball.

S5, E1

S5, E1 RECAP: The Reign of John Dutton is Upon Us

As John Dutton (Kevin Costner) sits in deep contemplation, Yellowstone Season 5 begins. In a few minutes, he’s about to be declared the winner of Montana’s gubernatorial race; Governor John Dutton.

His daughter, Beth (Kelly Reilly) cries tears of joy as she comes to retrieve him from his thoughts. “Tears are what I’m feeling,” he tells her, before their opponent, Scott McMullen, calls him to concede.

As he does, Jamie (Wes Bentley) and Beth watch as the news announces their father’s victory. Then, McMullen, a Montana transplant from NYC, concedes publicly.

Before he has a chance to let it all soak in, John must walk out to give his first speech as Governor of Montana. Jamie, who was in line for the seat himself, is not happy while in his private quarters. But he puts on a brave face to congratulate his (adoptive) father, asking for the “honor” of introducing him on stage.

Wes Bentley as Jamie Dutton in the Yellowstone Season 5 Premiere. (Photo: Paramount Network/ MTV press)

“He’s not doing it for you. He’s doing it to get on the stage,” Beth scoffs of Jamie’s gesture.

“Aren’t we all,” Lynelle Perry (Wendy Moniz), now a Montana Senator, replies. She has John’s back throughout the episode, which is great, because he’s going to need her.

Jamie gives a shockingly-fitting introduction to both leaders, and the crowd goes wild. For a brief moment, it seems as if all could be going back to “normal” for the Duttons. Whatever normal ever was for this family.

John Dutton’s First Speech as Governor of Montana

“What will Montana look like in a hundred years?” is the core of John’s fist speech as s governor. He’s determined to throw away the view of Montana as “New York’s play thing” or “California’s playground” and return this land to its people. His people, mind you, or the Indigenous Broken Rock Reservation would have no quarrel with the Duttons.

Senator Perry follows up with a supporting speech, and the crowd embraces the Duttons as the ruling family of Montana. As the celebration rages on, Broken Rock’s Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) and Mo (Mo Brings Plenty) debate whether the Duttons in power is a good thing on any level.

“It’s a good thing for the land. But I’m not sure if it’s a good thing for us,” Rainwater says.

Meanwhile, Caroline Warner (Jacki Weaver) makes her entrance by shattering an expensive glass of whiskey. “This f*cking family!” she shouts. Warner knows the Duttons’ first order of business will be to kill all of her Market Equities plans for the Yellowstone Valley, and she is enraged.

To deal with “these f*cking hillbillies,” Warner calls in Sarah Atwood (Dawn Olivieri), but we don’t meet her yet. Instead, Caroline’s assistant, Ellis Steele (John Emmet Tracy), pinpoints Jamie Dutton as a target. The attorney general looks wildly unhappy over his father’s victory as it broadcasts on TV.

Flashback: Young Rip & Beth’s Courtship Goes Sour

The Yellowstone Season 5 premiere then takes us back twenty years to see Beth and Rip as young adults (Kylie Rogers & Kyle Red Silverstein), right before Beth is to leave the ranch for college. She asks Rip, who’s hard at work as a lowman on the ranch, if he wants to go out on a date. He agrees, they meet at the barn, and a night out for two young lovers ensues.

Back at the Bunkhouse in this same time period, a young Lloyd (played by Forrie J. Smith‘s near-identical son, Forrest Smith) deals poker for his fellow ranch hands. Rip cleans his hat for his date with Beth, and off he goes.

“Not one good thing happens in town, Rip. Not one good thing,” a young Lloyd tells him. And he’ll be proven right.

Rip drives them to their local dive bar; a place Beth’s been. Rip, however, has never left the ranch. “Educating you’s gonna be fun,” she tells him. Beth uses her attractiveness as a tool with the bartender, and Rip is wildly off-put.

“I’m not yours to be jealous over,” Beth says. Rip doesn’t want to fight, but when Beth won’t lay off, he decides to leave. She isn’t having it, though, so Rip bums a ride home, leaving her with the keys to a ranch truck.

Rip gets a ride home from fellow ranchers in town after this hefty emotional beating from Beth, which is important later in the episode as Beth tells Rip she wasted so much of their time when they were young. To make it all worse, Beth corners another young Dutton rancher, and the two go at it as Rip watches.

Back in Present Day ‘Yellowstone’

Back in Yellowstone‘s present day, Beth wakes up from this memory as a nightmare. Thankfully, Rip is there to greet her in their kitchen. It’s here that she apologizes for her behavior as a young woman. But Rip, again, is confused.

It’s a “blanket apology to cover the past,” she says. “I was fucking awful to you. I was terrible. But if it is any consolation, I was worse on myself.”

Rip comforts her with wise words, but Beth is inconsolable. “I robbed us of so much time together,” Beth cries. “It’s still robbing us.”

“Whatever it took, I don’t need,” Rip reassures her with an embrace. “You need to find somebody new to fight. Or you’re gonna sit around this house and you’re just gonna beat the shit out of yourself.”

This is surely a tease for what’s to come in Yellowstone Season 5.

‘It’s going to be quite a party’

Outside, Rip then gives the lowdown to the ranchers as the Dutton Yellowstone prepares for a massive party. The ranch is hosting the shindig for their new governor.

Cole Hauser as Rip Wheeler, Ethan Lee as Ethan in Yellowstone Season 5. (Photo credit: Paramount Network/MTV press)

As they prep, John meets with Lynelle in her old office, which is now his. She gives him some sage advice to prep him for the role, but John is still wildly hesitant.

“You have no friends in this building, John. You’re gonna have to bring your own,” Lynelle tells her on-and-off-again lover, before revealing to him the “power in a governor who doesn’t want to be re-elected.”

She pushes him to build a legal wall around the state. “And maybe in a hundred years Montana will still look the same.”

Meanwhile, Up On the Canadian Border…

Meanwhile, up on the Canadian border, we catch up with Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes) as he finally gets his Yellowstone Season 5 entrance. The Commissioner and his livestock officers are stampeding as they chase down a band of horse thieves. As the bandits make for the Canadian border, Kayce and his men catch them with some clever maneuvering and true cowboying.

Canadian rangers are across the river to help out, but have wildly different tactics. Either way, Kayce’s work as Livestock Commissioner is in full swing as he showcases roping and methods still very much in use today; a hallmark of Yellowstone.

Back in town, John prepares to address the general public. Jamie, Beth, and Lynelle are by his side at the capitol…

Kevin Costner as John Dutton, Kelly Reilly as Beth Dutton, Wes Bentley as Jamie Dutton. Yellowstone Season 5 premiere. (Photo credit: Paramount Network/MTV press)

Watching in the crowd is a very disapproving Angela Blue-Thunder, who is seething over the Dutton family in power.

As a Man of God asks John to swear in on the Bible, John hesitates for a full minute. For a time, it feels as if he will not go through with it. But after an incredibly tense 60 seconds and reassurance from Beth, he finally recites his vow to the state of Montana.

“It’s slave rules for you now, and it’s all your fault,” Blue-Thunder tells Rainwater.

Then John gives his first speech at the Montana Capitol. “I’m not a politician. This was never my plan,” he reassures the public before confirming his first act will be to cancel all of Market Equities plans for an airport, resorts, and everything else. John then sets up several taxes for out of state residents, in order to protect Montana from being the “playground” of others.

“It’s going to set back this state 30 years,” Jamie tells Beth. “I’m not even sure it’s legal.”

“When have you ever cared if something’s legal? I’m about to work you like a rented mule, brother. It’s time for your pound of flesh,” Beth retorts.

The Best ‘Yellowstone’ Car Ride in Show History

In an undeniable highlight of the episode, the next scene plays out as a car ride with Jamie, Beth, and John. The three have it out as their driver takes them from the capitol. It’s perfect dialogue and interactions all around for the Duttons, as Beth & Jamie act like siblings for the first time in years, and John scolds them both like the grumpy old father he is.

But then things take a serious turn. “It must break my wife’s heart to look down and see what a mess I’ve made of this family.”

He lays out for us how he is sacrificing everything to become the one thing he despises most: a politician. And he’s doing it for their home. So Jamie has to now do the same. “We measure every decision against what is good for the ranch. Everything we do is for the ranch. For the next full years, you do exactly what I tell you to do,” he tells his son.

John has entered full kingpin mode now. He’s more mafia don in the Yellowstone Season 5 premiere than he’s ever been before. And it is wild.

As the Bunkhouse Boys Party, Rip Wheeler Sees ‘The End’ of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch

On the ranch, Teeter (Jen Landon) and the bunkhouse boys get rowdy ahead of the party, and Rip tries to keep them in line. But the party is upon them, and the ranch hands find the open bar before disappearing to a more cowboy-friendly side of the party courtesy of Lloyd.

In the party’s main tent, however, we learn a lot about John Dutton. He’s been away from the ranch for a month as governor. He was married to his wife in their living room with only 30 people present. And he was 36-years-old when John Dutton Sr. handed over control of the ranch to him.

Now, he’s about to fight tooth-and-nail to keep it all from collapsing under his watch. Beth remains his strongest ally, dressed in an outfit no one I know would want to wear in front of their father.

Kelly Reilly as Beth Dutton in Yellowstone Season 5 Premiere. (Photo credit: Paramount Network Press)

As the cowboys party outside the tent, Ryan (Ian Bohen) finally ropes himself a love interest a whole five seasons into Yellowstone. Literally. And it’s none other than country star Lainey Wilson as hired singer who’s “too smart to date a cowboy.”

As the party rolls on, Beth runs off to her own cowboy, Rip, who’s sulking on the hillside. He’s not having any of the party. Instead, he’s deeply worried for the future of the ranch. “When I look down there, ten years from now worries me,” he tells his wife. Rip does not want John absent from the ranch as governor, and absent John has been.

“What was the name of the emperor that played the fiddle when Rome was burning?” he asks Beth.

“Nero?” she answers.

“This reminds me of that,” Rip groans. “He’s gonna lose this place.”

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

It’s an ominous prediction on Rip’s part; one that has 13 more episodes of Season 5 to unfurl.

The Tragic ‘Yellowstone’ Saga of Kayce & Monica Continues

Elsewhere, and while out in the fields of northern Montana, Kayce calls Monica (Kelsey Asbille) to check in on her. His wife is very, very pregnant, and she thinks she’s about to go into labor. It’s three weeks early for such a thing, too, so Kayce sends an ambulance south to meet Monica on the road.

Monica grabs their son, Tate (Brecken Merrill), and Kayce takes off to meet her at the hospital. But Monica should not be driving. She’s having labor contractions, and begins to swerve wildly in the night. Tate offers to drive, terrified for them both. As her swerving gets worse, a bison wanders into the road, and Monica crashes into an oncoming truck as they both slam head-on into the wild beast.

Back on his ranch, John finds Carter (Finn Little), who’s grown into a young man between Yellowstone Season 4 & 5. He’s a tall, lanky fella now; a reminder of how long John’s been gone from the ranch. “You’re a living reminder of how much time I don’t have,” John tells him.

‘I had a brother…’

But it’s not long before Jamie comes to find his father to tell him what’s happened to Monica and Tate. They must go to Billings, and fast, as it’s there that their family is in the hospital’s critical care.

The Duttons arrives to find Tate stooped over by himself in the hallway. Kayce is asleep with Monica, who is badly wounded in her hospital bed. Tate is the first to speak.

“I had a brother,” John’s grandson reveals, emotionless and still. “For an hour, anyway.”

“A brother, huh?” John replies.



“They named him John,” Tate tells his grandfather.

A whirlwind of emotions flood John. This is everything he’s ever wanted; a succession under his name for his family. A potential John Dutton IV. And it’s all gone in the same instant it became a reality

.John gets up to see his son and daughter-in-law, but Kayce can’t take it. He breaks down over Monica in the hospital bed. And the screen fades to black.

Yellowstone Season 5 will return next Sunday, Nov. 20 with Episode 3, exclusively on Paramount Network. In the meantime, catch our full recap of Nov. 13’s Episode 2 right here.