Paramount’s Yellowstone is nothing if not dramatic, poignant, and emotional, highlighting the most beautiful moments of love and the most heartwrenching of despair.
A character who knows both of those extremes very well is Beth Dutton, daughter of patriarch and ranch owner John Dutton. From the loss of her mother at a young age and the devastating circumstances surrounding the moment of being physically attacked and almost losing her life, Beth has overcome obstacles that would destroy a mere mortal.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, she’s made it a point to wear her courage like a badge of honor. It’s the thing you meet before she ever extends her hand for a shake (if you’re so lucky) and allows you the gift of hearing her name. Beth Dutton is fire; she can warm you on a cold night or devastate you entirely — the choice is yours.
There’s also a power in her vulnerable side that she saves for those closest to her. The moments when it’s just Beth and Rip in the cabin on the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, the way she still looks at her father for approval, even when she’s telling him the best way to run and save the ranch. She makes choices without second-guessing them, but she still hopes to be doing the right thing, especially where her father is concerned.
A character with so many layers could only be played by an actress as talented as Kelly Reilly. The juxtaposition she brings to Beth Dutton makes her one of the most compelling characters on television. For some, she’s also one of the most divisive. She sprinkles (see also: heavily seasons) her conversations with perfectly placed vulgarity; she drinks, she’s not afraid of an argument, and Beth walks into each room knowing she’s the most powerful thing in it.
In an ode to Beth Dutton, as we wait to see what’s next for her character in the highly anticipated fifth season, we’re looking back at some of her most powerful moments in the series history.
Beth helps Monica — and wrecks someone’s day
Beth isn’t a woman who has many friends. In fact, she tells Rip that she’s not sure she’s got even one friend when they talk about a wedding. Beth does have family, and she’s got the ranch hands, which have become like family too, but she’s not a girls-day-out kind of gal.
Monica isn’t a friend to Beth, they’re family since Monica married Kayce, but they’re not exactly a shining example of sisters-in-law turned BFFs. They’re different on a fundamental level, but that doesn’t stop Beth from helping Monica when a boutique owner mistreats her because of her heritage.
Helping Monica almost seems too casual a phrase. Beth goes into that shop and raises hell, treating the store owner with the same disregard as she handed out to Monica until Monica steps in and tells her it’s okay. While none of it is okay, Beth digresses, and they walk out of the now-trashed storefront. The two learn a little bit about each other in those moments, and it’s a layered interaction — as powerful as it is memorable.
Beth is a friend but not a mama
This is a powerful moment in not as positive a light as some of Beth’s shining moments. At the end of Season 4, Carter calls Beth “mama,” like it’s the most natural thing in the world, and she quickly responds with “Hey baby,” before realizing what she’s said.
Beth turns to tell Carter that he can’t call her mama, and he wears his pain clearly across his face; he thought she’d been a mother to him all along. Beth explains that she’s acted as his friend because that’s all she is. She tells him that he lost his mom and didn’t get a new one in her absence — Beth sure didn’t.
To hit an already painful moment home, Beth says that she’s never going to be anybody’s mama, and fans took a collective heartbreaking sigh as the words left her mouth. Beth can’t be someone’s mama, not how she thinks she should. Beth sometimes wears her pain as a shield, and this is one of those moments. Is she still a force, even in the hurt? Yes, but it all landed differently this time around.
Not on Beth’s watch
Beth isn’t naive enough to think that her father doesn’t have relations with women; he’s grown closer with Governor Lynelle Perry in each season of Yellowstone. Beth isn’t naive to the fact that people are willing to do anything to get close to the Dutton family, so when she sees a strange woman in her kitchen, she has a strong opinion about it.
So strong that when the mystery woman asks Beth who the f— she is, Beth grabs a kitchen knife and goes to attack her. The guest is a woman named Summer, and she tells Beth that she didn’t know John was married. He then walks in and slams a cabinet door before saying this was a situation he “couldn’t have dreamed up in a month of Sundays.”
The women then sit down with John to have breakfast in an undeniably awkward mealtime celebration, but hey — it’s the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch; anything goes.
Beth is as quick as she is fierce, and as we said before, always ready to sprinkle in a bit of sarcasm and vulgarity to any conversation. Someone who constantly bore the brunt end of her attitude was Roarke, that is, before Beth’s beau Rip gave him a special gift in a cooler.
Anytime Beth had something to say to Roarke, it was laced with sarcasm and damaging. While Roarke certainly took a lot of heat from Beth, he’s not the only one. If you’re not one of the few people in this world she loves and trusts, you will only ever get a snarky side of our favorite sassy Dutton. The thing is, she’s never giving it to anyone that doesn’t deserve it.
Giving Jamie a choice with only one correct answer
In episode 7 of Season 3, we see Jamie as he’s faced with heartbreaking news: the bloodline of the Dutton family stops with him. That’s right, Jamie was adopted into the Dutton clan, and while that’s never made him any less family to them, he feels betrayed nonetheless.
Jamie goes on to discover the identity of his biological father, and the two form a close bond in the following episodes. Jamie finally seems ready to do what viewers always had a feeling he’d do, run from the Duttons and never look back. Of course, Beth isn’t letting that happen, especially when she discovers something about Garrett (Jamie’s father).
Garrett is responsible for the attacks on the Dutton family that left fans speechless. At the end of Season 3, we were unsure who would live or die, and to learn that Garrett had a hand in that felt like an ultimate betrayal. In Season 4, Beth gives Jamie a choice to kill his father or, well, to kill his father. Ultimately, he wasn’t really given much of an option at all.
Beth used the age-old tactic of blackmail to let Jamie know what he must do, and he certainly got the job done. With one of the stronger foes against the Duttons gone, Season 5 will allow them to breathe just a little easier, but we know it won’t be long before a new one emerges. The beautiful thing about Beth is that she’ll know exactly what to do to take them out too.
Beth’s apology to Rip
Beth has loved Rip Wheeler since before she knew the word’s meaning, and long before she was willing to say it out loud. She felt him growing close to her and wanted to push him away, so she started spending time with Walker. It was as hard for Rip to watch as it was for fans, but the thing is, he still knew where her heart belonged.
She saw Rip working on the ranch one afternoon and offered him an apology, to which he told her that “I’m sorry” were two words she never had to say to him. The vulnerable side of Beth that Rip brings out is something we never get tired of seeing. It’s powerful for Beth to have a soft place in her heart for Rip; it’s the kind of power that could break her completely, but she leans into it in the most beautiful moments, and we love seeing them.
Beth’s big proposal
Nothing is more powerful than allowing someone to love you and openly loving them back. It’s one of those jumps that, once you’ve leaped, there’s no reaching for a ledge to steady yourself again. You’re out there; you’ve said it, the doors for heartache are open, and you’re choosing not to believe in it. For someone like Beth, that’s the most powerful step she could ever take.
Beth has lived a life of hurt, of hearing that she’s the reason behind one of the most immense heartaches she’ll ever experience, and she’s carried it all with her. She knows loss like an old friend, telling it, “not today, not here.”
Beth loves Rip with abandon; she’s wild with him, fearless even, because she knows he’ll catch her. There’s beauty in giving that power to someone else to break your heart or heal it. She doesn’t just give Rip a ring; she mutters words to him that bring tears to all of our eyes.
“It means that you have me, that I’m yours. It means come live your life with me. Only thing I ask is that you outlive me so that I never have to live another day without you.”
We’re not crying; you’re crying.