Kayce Dutton is a complex character, just like the rest of the Dutton family. We watch his story unfold in season 1, however it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for the youngest member of the family.
Kayce has a past that he’s still coming to grips with. Were given a trail of breadcrumbs throughout the first installment of “Yellowstone,” as we watch the story unfold. Fans soon find out that Kayce Dutton has a temper and often resorts to violence and aggression to solve his problems.
However, one reoccurring theme with the Dutton family member is that wants the best for his family. More often than not, he’s defending his family in his fights and is trying to do the right thing. But there are those occasions when he just acts out of anger, like when the random guy at the gas station tempts him.
We’re breaking down some of Kayce’s brutal moments in season 1.
Kayce Dutton and Rip Wheeler Duke it Out
Kayce is trying to find out where he belongs in season 1. We see him living with his wife, Monica (Kelsey Asbille), and son, Tate (Brecken Merrill) on the Broken Rock Reservation, but soon doesn’t feel welcome there after Monica gets into an accident at school.
Kayce returns to the ranch but isn’t welcomed with open arms by all. John’s (Kevin Costner) right-hand man, Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser), isn’t happy with the way Kayce spent his time after returning from the military. These two guys aren’t much for chatting when they can use their fists.
The fight first starts in the field after Rip actually saves Kayce’s life after he’s confronted by a bear. Rip says Kayce did the right thing by standing his ground “for once.” Kayce spits back, “I ain’t used to seeing you off my dad’s leash.” There’s obviously no love lost there.
It’s almost like these two knew that they had to resort to fighting to settle the rift between them. Talking just won’t suffice in this wild west. The fisticuffs only lasts about 30-seconds. It’s a “respectful fight” of sorts if that even makes sense.
Rip says, “You can take a punch though” and gets back on his horse. Kayce isn’t ready to let things go and asks Rip where he’s going.
“There’s work to be done. You know what work is don’t you? Course you don’t. You got your wife for that. By the way, welcome home,” Rip tells Kayce.
However, this isn’t the last time we see the two brawl. The unfinished business is later taken care of in the arena with an audience. But that’s in season 2.
It’s Kill or Be Killed for Kayce
Kayce is recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after his time in the military. Fans often see some of the symptoms come to light in season 1.
Another brutal and life-altering moment for Kayce Dutton is when he kills Monica’s brother Robert Long (Jeremiah Bitsui). The youngest Dutton family member is often battling his inner demons, which include where his alliances should lie. “Yellowstone” viewers see Kayce’s relationship with Robert isn’t exactly a friendly one.
In this case, Kayce tries to defend the Broken Rock tribe after a cattle dispute, but his allegiances quickly turn after Robert targets his brother, Lee (Dave Annable). Kayce quickly finds himself in a battle between brother and brother-in-law. Blood is thicker than water and Kayce ultimately kills Robert.
His father says it best, “To consider other families before my own is to fail them.”
As a result Kayce puts his Dutton family first. But then he’s left with the brutality of losing a brother and facing his wife.
Kayce Dutton Comes to the Rescue
In this instance, we see that Kayce tries to see things from a “right or wrong” perspective. He and Tate are driving one day and see a strange white van on the side of the road.
He stops to investigate and finds out that two men have kidnapped a teenage girl. Fans see military veteran take on the two men and they ultimately suffer for the actions at the hands of Kayce. It’s not pretty to watch, but we know that Kayce has the best of intentions here, and that’s saving this girl’s life.
Sometimes the Brutal Mental Acts Hurt the Most
This isn’t so much of a physical brutal act, but an emotional one. After Monica gets injured at her school, Kayce comes to the realization that he’s losing control. He’s losing control of his reality and realizes that he can barely take care of himself, let alone his wife and son.
The cowboy then hears these harsh words from his wife.
“It’s funny how we choose not to see things, but I see it now. My job is to protect our son and the best way to do that is to keep him from your father and to keep him from you.”
Kayce Dutton tries to come to grips with reality after hearing this but resorts to violence instead.
A Cruel Warning
Once Kayce Dutton has decided that the best future for him and his family is at the Yellowstone ranch, he knows that he has to defend it to the death. As a result, this means sending a message to those that are trying to take the land.
It seems like Kayce, Rip and the rest of the ranch hands are just trying to scare real estate developer Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston). However, Kayce’s killer instincts take over after he learns that Jenkins tried to kill his father. Jenkins goes from sitting horseback with a noose around his neck, to hanging from a tree after Kayce scares the horse out from underneath him.
Though Jenkins doesn’t die from the brutal act, he does receive a permanent reminder to not mess with the Duttons.
“Yellowstone” returns with season four in June 2021.