We all love the Duttons – John, Beth, Kayce & Monica, Lee, Tate, and Jami-okay, we all love most of the Duttons. It’s true. Why else would you and I be here? But as fierce as Beth is or as riveting as Papa John remains, one of the Dutton clan shines above the rest.
He’s tiny. He’s feisty. He’s adorable. And he’s the most important character on the show: Tate Dutton.
Many Westerns, at their heart, are all about family. Yellowstone, though a modern take on the genre, is absolutely no exception to this. The characters we find within tend to be incredibly protective of their own, too. Yellowstone is no exception here, either. It’s quite the opposite, as we know.
In fact, when it comes to the Yellowstone Ranch, this mentality rues the day. Unless you’re Jamie. But we’re not here to talk about that snake-in-the-grass, are we? No, we’re focusing on the loving relationship that is Monica and her only son – the only third-generation Dutton heir – Tate.
Tate has literally been born & bred to lead his family into the world to come. He may not know it, and his mother may hate it, but it’s true. This in mind, Monica has done everything she can to protect the tiniest Dutton from his paternal family’s beyond-dangerous lifestyle. As Yellowstone‘s Twitter puts it:
“Everything Monica does is for Tate.”
As we’re starting to see, Yellowstone Ranch will never survive if things stay the same. John knows this. Beth and now-fiance Rip know this. Now, Kayce and Monica know it, too.
So what is to come?
Tate Dutton: The Most Important Yellowstone Character is Also the Smallest
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of their story together to audiences is Tate’s dual heritage. It often leaves us pondering: What does the future of Yellowstone look like? Will it be American settler? Or Native American?
Or perhaps both? Tate Dutton is, after all, both.
Monica of is Native American descent: born of the Broken Rock Nation. Her blood is of the very lands the Duttons spill their own to protect – dating back far further than they could ever imagine. Once married to one of the Dutton settlers, Kayce, however, she became a part of both worlds. And when their son Tate was born, the bond became a walking, talking miracle.
Indeed, the duality of this family is incredibly interesting to watch. In many ways, it has defined the first three seasons and set up the fourth to surely delve even deeper. Monica is becoming increasingly torn between her Native American upbringing on the reservation and her love of the Duttons. And no matter how hard she tries for both sides – she will always be forced to choose between the two.
Unless Tate can rise to unite both worlds.
“I want to be a cowboy,” Tate tells his grandfather late in S3 – much to ol’ John’s joy. Where that will lead him, Monica, Kayce, and the rest of their family, though, is up to Taylor Sheridan. And we absolutely cannot wait to find out.