‘Yellowstone’ Changed Major Season 1 Scene, and We Just Realized It 5 Years Later

'Yellowstone' Season 1, Episode 7's cliff scene was originally a bit different.


CBS is currently re-airing Yellowstone Season 1 to help fill its Sunday night schedule, giving new and old fans of the show a chance to experience the early chapters of the Paramount Network drama. Each week, we here at have been updating our initial coverage of Season 1 as a helpful resource for CBS viewers experiencing Yellowstone for the first time. While prepping for one of tonight’s episodes, (Season 1, Episode 7 “A Monster Is Among Us”), we realized that we’ve seen a different cut of one of the show’s most shocking scenes.

One of the most memorable and stupefying scenes in Yellowstone Season 1 occurs when Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) comes across a pair of trespassing tourists who, upon being scared by a bear, scaled to the side of cliff. They’re stuck and a loss of grip away from death. Rip tries to help the couple, an English-speaking woman named Kim (Valerie Yu) and her non-English-speaking boyfriend (Isaac Cheung). Rip throws a rope down, and, before Rip can explain that he only has the strength for one of them at a time, they try and tie the lasso around them both.

The confusion and struggle cause Kim to accidentally fall to her death. Her boyfriend is so distraught at the sight that he purposefully lets go of the rope and plunges to his death. However, we’ve watched this scenario play out a bit differently.

The Original Version of the Yellowstone Cliff Scene

When we screened Season 1, Episode 7 ahead of its premiere in back in 2018, Paramount Network apparently sent press a different version of the insane moment. Instead of the couple hanging onto the side of the cliff, they are grabbing onto a large tree branch that was somehow precariously perched on the side of said cliff. There is a delicate balance, with Kim on one side of the branch and the boyfriend on the other. When Rip arrives, there is a tense moment where he explains that, due to the precarious way the branch is balanced, when one of them grabs his rope to be rescued, the other will automatically fall to the ground and die.

“Your boyfriend there is going to fall… and he’s going to die,” Rip told Kim, who replied with an emotional “No!”

Rip counters, saying, “Or he can grab the rope, and you’re going to die.”

Rip presented the rope to the endangered hikers, as they both grabbed it and tried to determine how they could both use it. Rip interjected to ask the man if he could live without Kim. He said no, indicating he would possibly sacrifice himself for his girlfriend.

But before they can actually decide, an upset Kim loses her grip and falls. Just as he does in the final version, her boyfriend is so upset that he lets go and chooses to die.

We don’t have any screenshots or recordings of the alternate scene — we respected Paramount Network’s press screening policy and didn’t really have a reason to archive it at the time. However, you can read our former writer Jose Bastidas’ recap of the scene that we prepared and published at the time. If you don’t take our word for it, episode recaps over at Vulture and Showbiz Junkies also described the scene the same way we saw it.


The scene is wild enough in the final version, but this original version was just downright ridiculous. It played like an outrageous accident scenario from 9-1-1. The bizarre balancing setup, paired with some pretty bad green screen visuals (which, in the scene’s defense, were not final) stuck with me ever since I saw that screener. It’s one of the scenes I always think of when I think of Yellowstone, so I was pretty surprised to re-watch it on Peacock today and see that the aired version was pretty different. It’s more rushed and swaps out the emotional ultimatum for a version that shows the tourists screwing up Rip’s rescue. That being said, it leaves a better taste in your mouth when compared to the Final-Destination-like setup.

It’s worth noting that we might see yet another cut of the scene on CBS tonight. The network has to edit Yellowstone to fit broadcast standards and time constraints. We doubt they’ll swap the branch scenario back into “A Monster Is Among Us,” but only time will tell.

Yellowstone on CBS

CBS is currently airing Yellowstone’s past episodes each Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET. These broadcasts are free to watch if you have a digital antenna. You can also watch them if your cable package includes a local CBS affiliate or via the CBS live stream available within Paramount+.

How to Stream Yellowstone

While Yellowstone airs new episodes on the cable channel Paramount Network, it does not stream on its parent company’s streaming service, Paramount+. Instead, Yellowstone streams on Peacock. All released episodes are currently available there. All the Yellowstone spinoffs stream on Paramount+. (If you don’t have cable, you can also watch Paramount Network via FuboTV.)

About Yellowstone

Yellowstone is a modern western drama focusing on the Dutton family, who own a vast spread of land in Montana. Patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner), with the help of employees like ranchhand Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser), does whatever he must to defend his land from physical and political threats. Meanwhile, Dutton’s children — Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes), Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) and Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) — try to find their place inside and outside their father’s empire.

Other Yellowstone cast members include Kelsey Asbille, Brecken Merrill, Jefferson White, Gil Birmingham, Forrie J. Smith, Ian Bohen, Ryan Bingham, Jennifer Landon, Wendy Moniz, Mo Brings Plenty, Eden Brolin, Kathryn Kelly, Jake Ream, and Danny Huston. Notable guest/recurring stars include Piper Perabo, Josh Holloway, Josh Lucas, Jacki Weaver, Neal McDonough, Lainey Wilson, Dave Annable, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Will Patton and Zach Bryan.

Yellowstone has spawned several spinoffs, all spear-headed by Taylor Sheridan. Both 1883 and 1923 follow Dutton ancestors. The upcoming Lawmen: Bass Reeves will weave the Yellowstone universe with the real-life story of the groundbreaking Black U.S. Marshall. There are also three more spinoffs — 66661944 and an untitled Matthew-McConaughey-led sequel series — in the works.


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