‘Yellowstone’ TV: Decoding the Bone-Chilling ‘Every Body Pays’ Teaser Frame by Frame

by Lauren Boisvert

Yellowstone season 3 ended on an explosive note, with three of the Duttons attacked by unknown assailants. The ending has been on everybody’s minds for at least a year; but now, with the first trailer for season 4 posing even more questions, there are plenty of theories floating around, both from the season finale and the new trailer.

Recently, Paramount posted a short Yellowstone clip on Twitter titled “Every. Body. Pays.” 30 seconds of mystery and unanswered questions; and it’s likely they’ll stay unanswered for a while. The short video features clips of running horses; seemingly innocuous enough. But then a horse runs past that seems to be dragging a body through the dust. The video ends with an image of a cowboy hat in the dirt and the premiere date announcement.

With this new video released, the questions remain: is this supposed to be taken literally, or figuratively? What do the horses represent, and what does the body represent? Is it an important character being dragged behind a horse, or is it just a metaphor?

‘Yellowstone’: White Hat, Black Hat

In previous theories and clips, it was speculated that a character who usually wears a white hat met their fate in a fast-moving creek; the clip from August 27th features an aerial view of a rocky creek. Then, the gunshot. Next, the wide-brimmed white hat floats down the creek, followed by a large spread of blood following the current.

Based on the hat, it’s hypothesized that Yellowstone ranch hand Walker could possibly meet his end in the creek, if these clips are meant literally and not figuratively. We theorized recently about the hat style, noting that it seems to be flat, round, and unbent. “Know who doesn’t like a fold, and prefers a Ranger and/or Outback style flat brim, however? Walker.”

So, still thinking about hats–as this August 24th video also prominently features one at the end–who could the corpse behind the horse be? The atmosphere is a bit dusty to really make out a lot of details about the hat, but if this author had to guess, it could be Rip Wheeler’s. Rip’s brown hat is a “classic cowboy style”, which is what the hat in the video most closely resembles: it’s those sharply folded edges that give it away.

What About the Horses?

In literature and fiction, and in different cultures and religions, horses tend to represent freedom and power. Which makes sense: they’re big, strong, powerful animals who once roamed free across the world. There are only a few pockets of wild horses left in the U.S., where they are still tightly controlled and monitored, mostly on tribal land.

In Christianity, horses, specifically white horses, represent death; they also represent the “balance between wisdom and power.” This makes sense for the clip, as the horse is literally dragging a body behind itself. Because it’s a corpse being dragged behind a horse, it could potentially represent the loss of wisdom and power. Makes sense for the Duttons, as they spent the season finale being taken down a few pegs.

In Roman mythology, horses are linked to Mars, the god of war. This is also important to note, as in the official season 4 trailer, someone currently unknown said, “We’re at war, you and me.”

Is it all linked? Undoubtedly. But is it all literal? Who knows. Yellowstone fans will just have to wait until November 7th to find out for sure. Until then, all we can do is speculate.