‘Yellowstone’ TV: John Dutton’s Most Brutal Season 1 Moments

by Kayla Zadel
Photo Credit: Yellowstone Gallery, Paramount Network Press Center, Viacom

John Dutton has his hands full right from the start. The Dutton patriarch, played by Kevin Costner, often finds himself fighting for his ranch that’s been in his family for six generations. “Yellowstone” is like a modern-day mafia series that’s set in the wild west and John Dutton is one of the Mafia Dons.

With that being said, sometimes he’s faced with more life-altering moments than happy ones. The main character often finds himself trying to keep his head above water and lead three children down the path of inheritance, whether they want the ranch or not.

Yellowstone” Season 1 is full of life-changing events that set the table for the following installments. Keep reading to learn some of John Dutton’s most brutal moments.

John Dutton is Attacked in Opening Scene

Episode 1, “Daybreak,” opens with the aftermath of a tractor-trailer wreck. And it’s none other than John Dutton who emerges from the carnage. He”s bleeding from one side of his head as we see the ranch owner place his hand on the horse who’s suffering. Dutton ends up putting the horse out of its misery and goes to examine the accident. Dutton finds the passenger of the tractor-trailer hanging out of the semi windshield. He finds a clue as to who could’ve caused the accident. It’s a piece of paper with Paradise Valley letterhead.

Then the hard-nosed character walks over to the fence and braces himself as the cops start to show up. A cow and calf stare back at John and he says, “Things we lose to keep you fed.” If he only knew that this was the beginning of his loss. It’s also a major foreshadowing moment that we’ve soon come to recognize.

In the Season 1 finale, fans find out that Paradise Valley land developer, Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston) is in fact responsible for the accident.

“It was a convenient opportunity,” Jenkins tells John’s son, Kayce. John doesn’t always play by the rules, and so he gets even with the land developer through his son and “soldiers” (if we continue to speak in mafia terms).

No Parent Should Have to Bury Their Child

Like we said, those six words that Dutton mutters in the opening scene is something that we should’ve used to brace ourselves for the remainder of episode 1.

John Dutton is not only locked in a land battle at this point but also in a cattle one too. Some cattle end up on the Broken Rock Reservation. This starts the property battle. Unfortunately, two of John’s sons get stuck right in the middle of it. Kayce tries to step in to help. However, it’s too late. Kayce’s wife’s brother shoots and kills John’s firstborn. Then Kayce enacts revenge and kills his brother-in-law.

“Since 1886 every Dutton that has died is buried 300 yards from the back porch,” Dutton says. Now, he’s left with burying his son in that cemetery. It’s a very brutal and sobering moment when the reality of it sinks in. John might put on a good front, but fans know that he’s suffering inside. Lee was on the path to take over the Yellowstone Ranch. Now John is left with three children that don’t seem to put in the same effort that Lee did. However, as these various scenes and seasons play out, we’re still left wondering who will succeed John.

John’s Brutal Words

Brutal moments don’t always result in action. Sometimes it’s words that hurt the most, even though the “stick and stones” saying have you thinking otherwise. In this case, John callously tells his daughter-in-law, Monica, what he told Kayce to do when he found out he got her pregnant.

“I need to understand why he hates you so much,” Monica tells John.

He responds, “I told him to take you to the clinic, not let you leave until you had an abortion. But he wouldn’t do it.”

“So you had the cowboys brand him?”she questions her cruel father-in-law.

“No, Monica. That I did myself,” John honestly tells her.

We don’t know how Monica remains so calm throughout this confrontation. However, she and John’s relationship only gets better from here. But you’ll have to just wait and find out.

The Father Gets Physically Brutal

John Dutton often doesn’t get his hands dirty when it comes to physical altercations. However, in this instance, he doesn’t mind taking his anger out on his son, Jamie.

The middle child is running of Montana Attorney General, but John quickly finds out that he needs him to be by his side at the ranch.

“Where you been?” John angrily storms out of the house when Jamie pulls up the drive. “I needed you.”

“Well, I was campaigning,” Jamie says, blindsided by his father’s feelings.

“The first thing you’re doing tomorrow is withdrawing from the race,” John orders.

Jamie follows John shouting, “Wait? After everything I’ve done for you? After everything I’ve sacrificed?”

“What have you done for me Jamie?” John turns and asks, shoving his son, “If that’s helping me build the empire you stand to inherit, sorry son, I just don’t see the sacrifice in that.”

Jamie grabs his arm and John turns around and punches his son. It’s not exactly the ideal father-son relationship one imagines having.

For more of John Dutton’s quotes, check them out here. And if you’re looking for pivotal moments before season 4 drops in June of this year, check those out here.