If you watch Yellowstone, you know that the best part of the show is the cast. The Montana ranch wouldn’t be the same without Oscar winner Kevin Costner in charge as John Dutton, a sixth-generation rancher working to protect one of the biggest ranches in the country. John manages to face every adversary who crosses his family (sometimes questionably) and makes hard decisions every day to keep what is his. He does everything to protect the legacy he hopes to pass on to his children and grandchildren, making him easily one of the most fearless and intense characters on television.
John may have made some mistakes in the past, but he does whatever he can to try and maintain a positive relationship with his adult children. From touching moments with family to doing what needs to be done to protect his property, here are 10 of John Dutton’s best moments so far on Yellowstone.
1. He fully embraces being a grandfather
John knows that he made some mistakes with his own children, but he tells Monica that’s the beauty of being a grandfather to Tate. He gets to do all the things he wishes he’d done with his kids this time around and can make sure he does things differently when it comes to moments he regrets. At the beginning of the series, when Kayce is still estranged from his family, John begs him to let him have a relationship with his grandson. Despite some of John’s toughest and most aggressive moments on the series, he is incredibly sweet and patient with Tate. You can tell it’s one of the most important relationships for him to maintain.
2. His relationship with Jimmy
John and Rip take a chance on Jimmy in season 1 by letting him come to the ranch. John knew Jimmy’s grandfather and did him a favor by giving the criminal a chance at a job and an honest wage. When Jimmy gets himself hurt trying to be a rodeo star on the side not once but twice, John fully covers his medical expenses even though after the first time, he made him promise not to hurt himself again. It’s a really sweet moment in season 4 when Jimmy returns to the ranch after getting sent to Texas to work on becoming a man. John shakes his hand, calls him Jim, and tells him his debt is fully paid. One can only assume it takes a lot to impress John Dutton, so well done, Jimmy!
3. He goes out of his way to help Summer
Summer Higgins was an interesting addition to season 4. She was a protestor showing up to town to fight the local beef industry, but Beth gives her a bigger cause to get behind. Market Equities, who has been trying to take over the Dutton property to build an airport and turn their pocket of Montana into the new Aspen, proves to be the perfect new threat for Summer to oppose. But when she ends up thrown in jail and facing criminal charges for fighting back against a police officer (Beth needed drama for the news crew), John is furious with his daughter for letting an innocent person go down for her cause. John goes out of his way to talk to the judge and get Summer released because it’s the right thing to do.
4. When he tells Jamie he’ll always be his son
One of the biggest bombshells on the show is when it’s revealed that John and Evelyn Dutton actually adopted Jamie as an infant. This news really affects Jamie, who confronts his father despite their relationship being at a low point. John was incredibly frustrated with Jamie at the time, but despite their current drama, he tells him that he will always be his son. He raised him and spent decades loving him as a son, and for John, that will always be the case.
5. His progressive reconciling with Kayce
The beginning of the series brings an estranged Kayce back into the Dutton family following the horrific murder of the eldest Dutton child, Lee. John openly admits that he made mistakes with Kayce. He literally branded him after he got Monica pregnant and wanted to run away with her. Not the best parenting moment. But he really loves his son and gives him every opportunity to rejoin the family and take advantage of his legacy over the next four seasons. Kayce has some issues at first, but it’s been nice to see the two of them share some bonding moments once Kayce starts working at the ranch and later serves as the Livestock Commissioner, his father’s old post.
6. When he gives Rip his own house
He may not be his blood son, but no one is more loyal to John Dutton than Rip Wheeler. John took in a teenage Rip when he had nowhere else to go, and ever since, Rip has done whatever John asks of him. It’s one of the sweetest moments on the show when John writes Rip a letter telling him he’s always been part of his family and gives him his very own house to live in on the ranch. Rip had given up a lot once Kayce came back, moving into the bunkhouse so Kayce could run the show and taking a back seat after years of being in command. But John reminded Rip that not only does he appreciate his loyalty, but he considers him one of his own. It was a sweet gesture from John that Rip will never forget.
7. His overnight campout with the governor
John has made it clear that he will never be over his late wife, Evelyn. To him, she was the perfect woman and can never be replaced. But he has some sweet moments with Montana’s governor Lynelle Perry from time to time. In one episode, while he is out on a ranch camping trip, she rides up to join him, and they spend the night together. The rest of the world fades away as they watch the sunset together, and it’s a refreshingly romantic break for John, who typically is drowning in family drama.
8. When he stands his ground with the biker gang
No one stands up to intruders quite like the Duttons. In season 3, a California biker bang sets up shop on the Dutton property, and the ranch hands get into a major fight with them when they refuse to leave. When the bikers come back to the field that night with plans of burning it, John is sitting there waiting for them. Kayce, Rip, Ryan, and Lloyd all surround the bikers with guns, and John demands that they all dig their own graves for damaging his property and refusing to leave. He eventually lets them leave but tells them he’s leaving those graves if they decide to come back. Leave it to John to solve a problem. He’ll scare some respect into just about anyone.
9. When he walks Beth down the “aisle”
John and his only daughter Beth have an interesting relationship. Beth is overly protective, and John asks her to do some difficult things to help the ranch. But they share a somewhat normal father/daughter moment when he’s able to walk her down the “aisle” in their front yard to marry Rip in season 4. It’s a bit untraditional since Beth kind of kidnapped a priest to make it happen, but it works, and it’s a sweet moment that you can tell John really appreciates being a part of.
10. When he helps a diner in need
Sometimes John plays the hero and is willing to make tough decisions to help those in need. In season 4, he and Rip are heading to a diner in response to a text from the Sheriff and, upon arrival, discover that it’s actually being held up by men with guns. John and Rip go in and bring down the criminals, unfortunately not before the Sheriff gets a fatal gunshot wound. John kindly calls his daughter for him so he can talk to her one last time before he dies right there at the table.