‘Yellowstone’ TV: A Deeper Examination of John Dutton’s Foreshadowing Dream in Season 3

by Halle Ames
Photo Credit: Yellowstone Gallery, Paramount Network Press Center, Viacom

Little did we know that in season three John Dutton was foreshadowing the dark event that lay ahead for the “Yellowstone” characters.

Let’s take a deeper look behind the meaning of this harrowing future. 

What Are Your Nightmares?

In the early episodes of “Yellowstone” season three, John Dutton sits with Tate, or “grandson” as he refers to him. Both recall the nightmares that keep them awake at night. 

While Tate has flashbacks to when he was kidnapped and beaten by the mercenaries hired by the Beck brothers, John’s seems a bit more sinister.  

“Well, I’m in that room,” recalls Tate. “The floor just disappears, and I fall and keep falling. I scream, but no sound comes out. No one hears me, so no one comes to help me.”

John Dutton comforts his only grandson, reminding him that dreams aren’t reality… or are they?

“You know what dreams are?” questions John. “It’s your memories and your imagination all mixed together, into this soup of what’s real and what’s made-up. But the thing about this soup is, you can change the ingredients, Tate. You can put in whatever you want to. Any memory, any fantasy. You can be a baseball star who opens Christmas presents all day long. So when you close your eyes later, decide what you’re going to dream. That’ll be the dream.”  

Well, did “Yellowstone” throw us a curveball, or did they throw one to John Dutton? Or both? 

John notes that his nightmare isn’t as easily altered as ‘changing the ingredients.’ The “Yellowstone” patriarch says that he dreams there is a family in need on the side of the road. When he pulls over to help them, they no longer want his assistance. John Dutton notes that they want something else. Before getting too dark, he drifts off, telling Tate it doesn’t matter. 

Becomes Reality

Out of context, this seems like a pretty random thing to be dreaming about. But once the “Yellowstone” season finale hits, it all becomes clear. 

John Dutton pulls to the side of the Montana backroad to help a mother and her young son with a flat tire. However, unlike the dream, the family is in desperate need of the help from the generous man, saying he does it “because it’s the right thing to do.” 

Although, trouble arises when a van pulls over and asks if he is John Dutton. He confirms their suspicion and is greeted by a gunman in the backseat who begins to fire countless bullets at the woman and John. 

You could say “Yellowstone” fans were a bit shocked following the episode. 

‘Yellowstone’ Fans Question John’s Dream

“Yellowstone” fans on Reddit debate the deeper meaning behind the conversation between John and Tate. 

“Just rewatched episode 1 of season 3, and at the end, with John and his grandson, he foreshadows the final episode. He says when asked if he has nightmares that he only has one, and it’s along the lines of “he sees someone pulled over and he offers to help, but they don’t want his help. They want something else”. I’m assuming he means his life/land bc when asked, he just responds, it doesn’t matter.” 

However, this “Yellowstone” fan states that the woman and her son would willingly have to be in on this ambush as well. I don’t foresee a mother voluntarily putting herself and her 8-year-old son in harm’s way like that for a man they do not know. 

“I understand the similarities but doesn’t that theory assume the woman (and her son) were part of the ambush? John said, ‘They didn’t want his help; they wanted something else.’ What could that ‘something else’ be if not setting him up for the attack? I’m pretty sure she was killed. Maybe I’m overthinking it because it doesn’t make sense for her to be the bait for the attack and then wind up dead.” 

The proof may just be in the pudding. “Yellowstone” season four is so close we can almost taste it.