By the time Season 3 of “Yellowstone” ended, John Dutton (Kevin Costner) was furious with Jamie (Wes Bentley). He seemed a long way away from where he was when he told Jamie he would insist on still calling him “son.”
Jamie, Dutton’s adopted son, did something worse than agree to sell off a piece of Dutton’s land over his objections. He let a reservation doctor give teenage Beth (Kylie Rogers) a hysterectomy along with an abortion.
So is Dutton going to disown Jamie? Maybe.
Jamie Is Not Part of the Trust
As a fan recently pointed out on Reddit, Dutton’s daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly) is the executor of Dutton’s will. An executor distributes the deceased’s assets according to the will and handles claims against the estate, among other duties.
“I thought John told Beth she was the Executor,” the fan posted. “And to remove Jamie from the trust.”
“A Trust overrides a Will,” another fan argued. “Jamie was never included in the Trust at all. When John had Beth create it, only she and Kayce were named in it. Later, he had her amend it to include the house for Rip.”
But fans expressed still more confusion over who had power of attorney. One fan claimed that it takes a registered letter to terminate someone’s power of attorney, and Dutton could have simply done that to make sure Jamie didn’t override Beth, as Jamie did in the Season 3 finale.
“I think this show is kind of making up its own rules, and for the audience to just roll with it,” that fan concluded.
The Dutton family members play by their own set of rules, as do their ranch hands. But what happens when Duttons go up against each other? Aside from Jamie’s constant battling with Beth, we haven’t really found out yet. In Season 4 of “Yellowstone,” that may become clearer.
Costner has said that he’s bothered by some of the lines Dutton has crossed in the series. But he has tried to get show co-creator and writer Taylor Sheridan to confront those choices and deal with them honestly.
As for Dutton’s relationship with Jamie, Costner insists that Dutton can’t see himself as treating Jamie any differently from his other children.
“It’s the most complicated relationship for me because there’s just so much emotional baggage between us,” Costner explained to Behind the Story.
“It’s really in my mind that when my wife was alive, I treated him no different,” he added. “It doesn’t mean I didn’t feel different, but I made a conscious effort to give him the same love and attention that his brother and sister did, and that had to do with my wife.”
Once Evelyn Dutton (Gretchen Mol) died, things changed. Dutton himself gradually changed. Multiple characters on the series have acknowledged that at various points. Still, as the flashback scenes revealed, even when Jamie was a kid, Dutton was trying to send him off to Harvard rather than keep him close to teach him about the ranch.
“Jamie’s fight forever has been, why don’t people see me as part of this family? I’m part of this family,” Bentley said. “Jamie’s trying to figure out what role he gets, if any, in the legacy of the ranch.”
As Season 3 ended, Jamie’s role seemed to be to act against the family’s wishes, breaking with his adoptive grandfather’s request, rather than to rejoin the family. But on the Dutton ranch, as we’ve already seen, anything is possible.