‘Yellowstone’ TV: What Is John Dutton’s True Motivation to Fight for the Ranch?

by Jon D. B.

With so many layers to the Duttons and Yellowstone at large, the motivations behind John Dutton’s actions can feel rather muddled and misguided. Yet as frustrating as the patriarch’s attitude can be, there is a method to his madness. And it’s as old-school as they come.

“How bad a businessman is John Dutton?” asks one forward Yellowstone fan on Reddit this week. “JD has a huge tract of land. He could have put in a hydroelectric power plant , as both Malcom and Beth agreed. He could have cut SOME timber on SOME part of his land, and made that pasture. He could have taken a small part of his and and run dude strings up to look at buffalos,” Redditor Exotic_Volume696 rattles off.

Sure, John Dutton could have all of these things. But, as other fans pointed out, it’s missing much of the heart of the show.

“The entire premise of the show is John is a rough and tumble stubborn guy who doesn’t want to do anything with the land except leave it the way God intended it to remain,” another fan replied.

In no way is this a “perfect business plan,” but it’s the truth. And there are so many layers to it that make John Dutton who he is at his core. The same goes for Yellowstone as a whole, too.

“He could easily had oil production, timber operations, resort, etc. But he wants to preserve the land and his way of life,” another fan comments.

“Not only is he asset rich, he was sleeping with the Governor. That kind of powerbase might warp a cold sober viewing of reality,” one fan writes.

‘Yellowstone’ Fans Break Down John Dutton’s Motivations

One fan later chimed in making an attempt to see both sides of the argument. Motivations are motivations, but if they come in the way of your family’s survival…you might actually be a bad businessman.

“I tend to agree with both sides here,” the fan begins. “He wants to leave the land as it was intended. But if he’s on the verge of losing ~775,000 acres, then he’s not a great business man. He ought to be able to figure something out.”

In addition, “Jamie mentioned something about the ranch growing by 200,000 acres since he had started being the lawyer, so John has money somewhere,” they add. “I don’t exactly understand it all. Either they do have money, or they are buying a metric ton of land on some serious credit and aren’t making any money to pay it off.”

Perhaps the best explanation, however, takes into account the fiction that is Yellowstone. As much as we love these characters – it is all fiction.

The character of John Dutton is a throw back, like those of old, classic westerns,” a fan writes in the Reddit thread. “Family above all else. His love of his father, and his vow to the dying man is all powerful. Like his love of his children, and passing the ranch on to them, as it was passed on to him. We, as a society, don’t live our lives honoring vows and being devoted to our families. John isn’t looking to be a great businessman.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. We’ll find out if ol’ JD plans to change any of the above come November 7 for Yellowstone Season 4.