‘Yellowstone’ TV: Do the Ranch Hands Really Look at the Brand as a Badge of Honor?

by Thad Mitchell

Once characters on the hit Paramount Network series “Yellowstone” want to prove their loyalty to the ranch, they get the “Y” brand.

Through three seasons of “Yellowstone,” several ranch hands have received their brand from foreman Rip Wheeler. It also reveals that several characters, including Rip, Kayce, and Lloyd, already bear the brand. There is still a great deal of mystery and intrigue surrounding just what the brand means and how it began. Despite witnessing the branding of characters like Jimmy, Walker, Teeter, and Colby, there isn’t a whole lot of information on why it’s done. The closest we get to an answer comes from Rip when he tells Walker the branch is about trust. He also says branding is “just for criminals” and it appears one must partake in illegal activity in order to earn a “Yellowstone” brand. For instance, Teeter and Colby earn their brands by participating in the murder of Clint and Wade Morrow.

With the history behind the “Yellowstone” brand a mystery, it’s become a hot topic of conversation among fans. In a recent Reddit thread, a “Yellowstone” loyalist questions just what the brand means to those who have it.

“Alright, so I was thinking about the loyalty vs. property debate regarding the brand, and it struck me, how do the ranch hands, especially the newly branded ones, see it?” the fan writes. “Jimmy thought it was a sign of loyalty, of belonging to something bigger. Walker seems to think it’s a sign of property, a chain keeping him on the ranch. Rip wears his with pride, but I don’t know how to classify how he feels. The same is true with Lloyd. Kayce, well, he’s a mess. In season 3, he says that he understands why John did it. What that means in terms of how he sees it beats me. Then there’s Ryan, who actively pursued the brand. Would he really chase being property?”

‘Yellowstone’ Fans Ponder Meanin of Brand

Some very interesting “Yellowstone” questions are brought forth by this Reddit user. At this point, we simply do not the history and meaning behind the brand. It is highly likely, however, that we get another piece of this puzzle in the upcoming brand new season. Until then, there will be plenty of speculation regarding this subject. Numerous fans respond to the Reddit post with their own ideas and theories regarding the “Yellowstone” branding practice.

“The ones forced to get it, like Walker, see it as a sign of property,” another fan opines. “The ones who actively choose it see it as a mark of distinction.”

“Yellowstone” fans certainly hope the branding practice is further elaborated up in the upcoming fourth season. We have about two more months until we can finally welcome back our favorite show. Hang in there fellow “Yellowstone” fans — the finish line is in sight.