The Duttons have a multitude of enemies. Some are long time rivals, while others seem to pop up every other day.
Let’s call it what is it. This family has been locked in a land battle for years. The Duttons have a lot of it and someone always wants to take some or all of it.
Spoiler alert: if you have’t seen “Yellowstone” in its entirety, then you might want to stop reading.
Season three ends with an epic cliffhanger. In episode 10, “The World is Purple,” we watch as a coordinated attack takes over the Dutton family. The patriarch and current Yellowstone ranch owner, John (Kevin Costner) is shot when he’s offering roadside assistance. His children, Kayce (Luke Grimes) and Beth (Kelly Reilly) are targeted as well while they’re their places of work.
Kayce takes several rounds of gunfire at his Livestock Commission office. Then Beth opens a mysterious package that turns out to be a bomb.
There are several different cases that we can make for each of the Duttons’ enemies. So join us as we chip away at some of the potential suspects.
Jamie Dutton: Family or Foe
Let’s start with John’s estranged son, Jamie (Wes Bentley). In one of the last episodes of season three, we learn that Jamie is not John’s biological son. Rather he adopted the boy after his real father killed his mother.
“Jamie is a wild card with his loyalty, but would he try to murder the family that raised him? Doubtful, but maybe,” Outsider Staff Writer Halle Ames says. Hard not to agree with her given what we know.
Jamie is certainly mad and confused, but would he have the wherewithal to do something like this to the family that raised him. After all, John has provided a pretty cushiony lifestyle for his adopted son.
However, Jamie drops the bombshell that he’s now executor of the will and that he’s going to sell the portion of land that Market Equities wants. Governor Perry tells Jamie his father will one day see that he did this for him. “No, I didn’t, not anymore,” he corrects her. “From now on, what I do is for me.”
To further our point, when Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) calls the adopted son in one of the last scenes, Jamie says something pretty suspicious to the ranch hand. He tells Rip that he shouldn’t call him anymore.
Then there’s also the point that if he was really trying to overthrow the Dutton power, wouldn’t he take out the rest of the family. Meaning we would’ve seen something happen to Monica (Kelsey Asbille) and Tate Dutton (Brecken Merrill) as well. Another good point, brought up by Parade, is that maybe Jamie was targeted, too, but show creator Taylor Sheridan is saving that for season four.
Chief Rainwater: Dutton Enemy or Ally
The laundry list continues on Dutton’s family enemies. Next up were analyzing Chief Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham). He’s been an adversary of John’s since season one, and perhaps the Chief is finally putting his money where his mouth is.
Rainwater has tried to fight John in the past but has come up empty-handed. However, with a new sidekick, and double agent, Angela Blue Thunder (Q’orianka Kilcher), he might have a little more brass behind him than previously shown.
“Winners are never judged by how. They save that for the losers,” Angela Blue Thunder says in season three.
Is Malcom Beck Back?
This is whole other rabbit hole that fans dive into. We did see him get shot in season two. However, we never saw him take his last break like we watched his very unfortunate brother die.
This Reddit user offers up their thoughts on the theory.
“Malcolm isn’t really dead. We didn’t see him take his last breath. Under the direction of Malcolm himself, he and the militia make it look like he died. And the attack is their revenge on John and Kayce. John was expected at the ranch. His attackers just happened to come across him before the ranch. If they got to the ranch, who knows who they would have also killed.”
If we were at the Beck brothers’ casino, we probably wouldn’t be placing our bet on this assumption, although it is a good one.
Roarke Morris and Market Enquities
Then there’s the most current Dutton foe, Market Equities. Fans first get a taste of the company when Roarke Morris (Josh Holloway) comes to town.
Beth finds him fishing in the river and thinks he’s trespassing on their land. However, after she tries to accost him for his doings, Roarke simply doesn’t take the bait because he “can’t hear” over the rushing river. “It’s only an insult if I understand it,” Roarke throws back at her. The two exchange jabs on whether he’s actually trespassing or not. Beth ultimately leaves, but this is just the beginning of the war.
Beth outsmarts Roarke and his company during most of season three. However, it isn’t until the end where Market Equities starts playing hardball back. Enter Willa Hayes (Karen Pittman). Did Beth meet her match? Perhaps, but we still side with Ms. Dutton over this newcomer.
Beth throws barbs Willa’s ways like, “When all this is over, I’m gonna hang your diploma above my toilet in my guest house.” This is right after Willa and Co. take over Beth’s company and fire and then tries to hire her. However, Beth rides for only one team and that’s her family’s.
The Duttons, Rainwater, Angela, and Market Equities have a come-to-Jesus-moment at Governor Perry’s office. At first it seems like Roarke and Willa have Beth and John cornered, but it’s Rainwater and Angela that come to the rescue. In true lawyer fashion, Angelas spouts off some legal jargon about how the airport will never happen because of the river running through the portion of land they want to build on.
Before Market Equities has a chance to fire back, we learn that there’s breaking news that bring allegations against Willa regarding workplace harassment. We can only look at one person here that probably made the call on that. Beth did warn Willa not to mess with her.
Roarke tries to step in and take charge of the meeting. However, John isn’t having any of it and also warns the businessman that the game is just beginning.
“You think you’re winning this game, you don’t even know the g-dd–n rules. But don’t worry, I’ma teach ‘em to ya,” John vehemently says.
One of the dead giveaways that it could be Market Equities that carried out the attacks is when Willa tells Roarke to do whatever it takes to take down the Duttons. She mentions it’s time to play dirty and references what they did in the middle east. This could suggest that the bomb at Beth Dutton’s office did come from them.
Our Outsider Input
If we had to choose which suspect tried to kill the Duttons, our Market Equities theory might be the hill we’re dying on. Most of the Outsider Staff voted for the new enemy.
Outsider Editorial Director Jameson Brown has a strong theory that it was Jamie and his biological father, Garrett Randall (Will Patton).
“Jamie’s biological father is the root of it all,” Brown says. “remember his speech about bringing down a king?” As a matter of fact, we do remember that speech.
Garrett indicates that Jamie should “kill the king” to take his empire. That left us wondering. Outsider Managing Editor Caroline Bynum asks Brown, “Does he turn Jamie though? Full villain status?
He answers with, “[The] show needs a king-sized villain. he’s been that since day one.” Then continues with his theory, “Beth will die, and it will turn into Rip and Kayce versus Jamie. Beth dies because they need to accelerate Rip into the ultimate character who wants nothing but revenge. Beth dying at Jamie and/or Jamie’s dad’s hands is the motivation there. As John Dutton slows down, the show needs a true new lead. Rip will probably be that guy.”
But wait? We don’t want Beth to die. We can’t enough of her complex character and then who will be the family villain we secretly route for?
Brown answers with this, “[Beth will] probably die in Rip’s in arms due to the bombing. But it would explain why Rip had to kill that horse. Symbolism for he might have to pull life support on his wife.”
Wow. This left us to ponder the end of season three all over again.
Then we had this theory. What if all these suspects got together in a “Let’s Take Down the Duttons Team” and coordinated this attack? We also thought that perhaps the attacks were sent by seperate parties but all coincidentally happened at the same time.
However, there’s always the thought that maybe we didn’t think of everyone here. Maybe there’s another enemy lying, waiting in the grass, and will reveal themselves in time.
It’s cliché, but only time will tell. Until June 2021 rolls around, spend your time reading up on more “Yellowstone” content here.