In the new “Yellowstone” teaser, we see Chief Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) twice. The first time, he’s walking down a dirt road with Mo (Mo Brings Plenty), away from their vehicle. In the next shot, he’s musing on the fleeting nature of power.
“One leader falls, another rises,” Rainwater says.
Could Rainwater’s observation signal upheaval in the fortunes of John Dutton (Kevin Costner)? As Season 3 of “Yellowstone” ended, he was lying by the roadside, bloodied from a drive-by shooting. But he still wielded considerable influence in the valley. Is that about to change?
Will Rainwater and Angela Blue Thunder Seize the Moment?
At the end of Season 3, Rainwater and the Duttons had just struck up a tacit alliance. Both opposed the plans of hedge fund Market Equities to turn the valley into an airport. And after Angela Blue Thunder (Q’orianka Kilcher) announced that they’d be filing a class-action environmental impact lawsuit to stop the hedge fund, Rainwater all but invited the Duttons to join them.
Still, that was not the end of the matter. As they were leaving in Rainwater’s SUV, Blue Thunder said that in a roomful of enemies, Rainwater looked to Dutton like a friend. But you are not his friend, she pointed out. (Indeed, as “Yellowstone” fans will remember from Season 1, Dutton had Rainwater jailed over some missing cattle.)
“No,” Rainwater replied, “I am not.”
Blue Thunder went on to suggest that Rainwater take this opportunity to betray Dutton. She essentially called him a weak leader and argued that he’d been fighting with one hand tied behind his back. Rainwater did not appear to take her entirely seriously, but then again, maybe he did. Could Rainwater and Blue Thunder have a hand in bringing about Dutton’s fall from influence?
Rainwater and Dutton Don’t See Eye to Eye on ‘Yellowstone’
Certainly Birmingham has said nothing to wave off speculation that he and his tribe turn against the Duttons in Season 4. In an interview with Deadline this past May, Birmingham pointed out that the land where the Dutton Ranch sits once belonged to Rainwater’s tribe, and so Dutton’s fight to preserve “his” land is not one Rainwater shares.
“Well, we don’t see it as John Dutton’s land,” he said. “We see it as ours, so that’s a different perspective… We’ll do what we have to do to survive. That’s always been our ancestral resilience.”
With Rainwater far from committed to Dutton’s vision for the valley – in which he and his family remain the dominant force – it seems entirely possible that Rainwater and Blue Thunder would welcome a new leader in the area, and in Montana at large.
What forces take shape to bring about Dutton’s downfall (or his recovery) remain to be seen. It will all be clearer after the two-hour Season 4 premiere on Sunday, Nov. 7, exclusively on the Paramount Network.
Watch the new “Yellowstone” teaser here: