Yellowstone Season 5: Will John Dutton Die?

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

Will John Dutton‘s political aspirations in Yellowstone Season 5 be what finally seals his fate? Or will he continue to cheat death?

From having colon cancer and stomach ulcers carved out to surviving that season-spanning assassination attempt, John Dutton has flipped off the Grim Reaper enough times to make an arch enemy out of the specter. Yet if anything has been continually foreshadowed since the Neo-Western’s pilot, it’s the patriarch’s death.

To make matters worse this season, he’s now a politician. And nothing makes enemies in America like a political career. In short: things aren’t looking good for the Yellowstone‘s kingpin come Season 5. And we’re breaking down a handful of strong death notes for Kevin Costner‘s beloved rancher as a result.

Death Note #1: John Dutton Adds Enemies to His Horde as Governor in ‘Yellowstone’ Season 5

“You have no friends in this building, John. You’re going to have to bring your own,” Governor Perry (Wendy Moniz) tells John in the gripping Season 5 trailer, which promises an all-out political war.

Kevin Costner as John Dutton in Yellowstone. (Photo Credit: Paramount Network Press)

JD knows it, too. But does it stop him from piling more enemies onto the existing, wildly expansive horde of humans who already hate him? Not even close. Instead, he does what his adopted son, Jamie (Wes Bentley), never would’ve had he run for the Montana seat: he immediately fires all existing gubernatorial cabinet members.

Thankfully, John will at least have his most powerful ally on his side throughout Yellowstone Season 5. He appoints his only daughter, Beth (Kelly Reilly), as his Chief of Staff, putting her “Back to work.” And boy, is he going to need her.

Not only does John have Broken Rock Reservation’s Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) and Market Equities’ Caroline Warner (Jacki Weaver) to contend with now, but a slew of new political enemies, too. And chances are they’ll fight just as dirty as all the enemies John’s buried in the past.

Death Note #2: Foreshadowing Says Fate & Bad Health are Coming for John

On top of said enemies, John Dutton’s serial cheating of death cannot last forever. He’s been at it since the throws of Season 1. In episodes 4-7, we saw the patriarch fight colon cancer. And with two feet of his colon removed, Dutton kept his illness quiet, suffering through the results until Beth and Kayce (Luke Grimes) finally found out.

(L-R) Luke Grimes as Kayce Dutton and Kevin Costner as John Dutton. Episode 5 of Yellowstone – “Cowboys and Dreamers” on Paramount Network.

But it didn’t end there. John’s doctor found another mass during a CT scan in Episode 6, but the stubborn patriarch left the hospital as so many pissed-off dads do (including my own). Coughing up blood, physical therapy, and a later bout with rupturing stomach ulcers would follow.

Cancer is a horrible business. With so many enemies out to take down the John Dutton, it would be poetic, if not tragically fitting, for his own body to be the wolf that finally gets the bigger bear.

Could we see a resurgence of his cancer as John takes on a strenuous political career? With Taylor Sheridan at the helm, nothing is off the table.

Death Note #3: Kayce’s Vision Quest Shows Him ‘The End’ of the Duttons

The most glaring death note towards the “Will John Dutton Die In Yellowstone Season 5″ question, however, came at the end of Season 4. In the final episodes, we saw Kayce embark on his vision quest with Broken Rock stalwarts Thomas and Mo (Mo Brings Plenty). Kayce’s end result? “I saw the end of us…”

Luke Grimes as Kayce Dutton in Yellowstone Season 4. Photo Credit: Paramount Network Press, Viacom

Not only does Kayce speak of his wife, Monica (Kelsey Asbille), and son Tate (Brecken Merrill), but of the entire Dutton family. Kayce’s vision is a direct connection to the prophecy of 1883, in which Spotted Eagle tells James Dutton (Tim McGraw) that this land’s Indigenous People will take it back “in seven generations.”

Taking the latest spinoff 1923‘s expansion of the Dutton Family Tree into consideration, Kayce’s son, Tate, is that seventh generation. And nothing would spell Tate and the ranch’s doom like the absence of it’s fiercest protector. Beth has stated she’ll sell off their homestead as soon as her father is gone, after all.

Verdict: John Dutton will Die on ‘Yellowstone,’ But Not in Season 5

All of this is, of course, dancing around the fact that both Season 3 and 4 gave us a direct “will John Dutton Die?” storyline that reached a firm conclusion. As Season 4’s first half showed us, John survives that assassination attempt in the incredible Season 3 finale, despite how heavily his death was foreshadowed.

Kevin Costner as John Dutton in Yellowstone Season 4. (Photo credit: Paramount Network Press)

To repeat this story beat so soon after isn’t something we’d bet on, despite the evidence mounting towards John’s demise. But one thing is much more likely: We’ll see John Dutton die on Yellowstone. Just not in Season 5.

Taylor Sheridan hopes to round Yellowstone out with 6 seasons, after all. But whether Kevin Costner will be acting in those final episodes, though, we’ll just have to wait and see.