“Well if ranching’s so hard, how come we do it?” asks Tate Dutton of his grandfather. It’s perhaps the most important question in the show’s history, and it leads to some of the best acting Kevin Costner’s ever mustered.
“Because it’s one hell of a life, Tate…” John Dutton answers with Costner’s gravely baritone he’s crafted specifically for the character.
“One hell of a life…”
Yellowstone first shared this iconic moment Monday to their official Twitter. Shortly after, John Dutton himself – Kevin Costner – retweeted the celebratory clip to his Kevin Costner & Modern West feed – echoing those five timeless, emboldened words above.
Costner clearly loves this character as much as fans. By all accounts, he’s not interested in calling it quits on Yellowstone anytime soon, which is brilliant for us Outsiders (see: avid fans), as there’s still so much to explore of his relationship with his only third-generation heir, Tate.
Through it all, seeing John & Tate Dutton’s relationship develop over time has been one of the true joys of the modern Western. Yellowstone can be incredibly harsh and downright brutal to watch. This is not a complaint, but rather a point to be made. Such grim storytelling make the bright spots shine all the brighter. And John Dutton (and audiences) need all the bright spots they can get.
‘Yellowstone’s Best Relationship is Grandfather & Grandson
One bright spot is the “mending” of John’s relationship with his son and Tate’s father, Kayce. After years of (relatable) misunderstandings and the rockiest of roads between father and son, John Dutton finally gets a chance at a relationship with Kayce after years of turmoil. Only through Kayce does John get to know his grandson. And once he does, it opens up an entirely new side to Kevin Costner’s patriarch we hadn’t seen before.
“That’s the thing about being a grandfather. I get to do all the things I wish I’d done with my children. And the things I regret, I get to do different.”John Dutton, Yellowstone
None of this plot, however, would be nearly as poignant without the exceptional writing and performances Yellowstone showcases. Specifically, Kevin Costner gives the best of his career to John Dutton – a fact we’ll keep stating ’til the cows come home here at Outsider. As such, it’s honestly great to see Costner appreciate the end product as he does, too, with his Monday tweet.
And then there’s young master Brecken Merrill. This child is, to put it plainly, the cutest cowboy to ever grace the screen. Whether he’s pondering the great mysteries of life with his grizzled grandpa, or telling every member of his family like it is, Tate Dutton has become the heart of Yellowstone through Merrill’s purely lovable performance.
Combine these two talents, and you have the best relationship on the entirety of cable’s best show.
So a hearty cheers to Kevin Costner and his remarkable work as John Dutton. May both live on for many more bouts of excellence to come!