‘Yellowstone’ Episode 3 Had the Most Violent Opening Scene Yet (2024)

After a wild first week, Yellowstone returned with its third episode Sunday night, following up on the Dutton attack and John Dutton’s plan to hunt down the militia responsible. (We’re starting to see why Cole Hauser teased lots of bloodshed this season; the body count of episode 3 was next level—especially for a random Montana town.)

The episode opens to the sound of Colter Wall’s “Sleeping on the Blacktop,” played over a caravan of bloodshed: Kayce adds at least two more militiamen to his growing body count, extending his killstreak to 4,000; the bunkhouse beats down and garrotes a couple more; and then we see Kayce again doin more killin. The scene unfolds as John Dutton sits contemplatively in the firelight of his cabin, making the entire montage something like the most violent bourbon commercial of all time.

A couple things here. The scene reveals once again the Dutton’s grip on local law enforcement, with Kayce, a livestock agent, actively leading the raid against the militia. It also raises questions about Jamie’s role in the family. Last week, John asked Kayce to use Jamie’s position to receive warrants for these raids, suggesting that Jamie helped Kayce expedite law enforcement proceedings. (This aid, however, seems improbable given Jamie’s growing distance from the Duttons.)

The scene ends with John in his bourbon room. Roll title sequence.

Here’s what happened during the rest of the episode.

Kayce’s Storyline

Recovered from his wounds and back in charge of Montana livestock, Kayce takes a meeting with a local rancher whose neighbor—a Californian—recently bisected his land, building cattle guards to prevent the rancher from moving cattle across his newly acquired property. (Instead of being a nice neighbor and just allowing the rancher to move cattle and trample his property.) Kayce solves the problem by assaulting the Californian and burying him beneath the cattle guard—so that when the rancher finds him, they can be friends? Who knows.

The real revelation with Kayce comes toward the end of the episode when he returns home to the ranch. We learn Monica and Tate are alive, though both are struggling with their actions during the attack; Tate had shot and killed a man assaulting his mother.

Kayce enters the room to find Monica sitting dejected on the floor by the bed and Tate hiding underneath, recreating his post-traumatic stress storyline from season 3. Kayce accuses Monica of coddling him and drags Tate out from under the bed, telling him firmly that it’s okay and he should eat dinner like “a human.” Tate pulls himself together (because that’s how PTSD is solved, apparently) as Monica tells Kayce she hates him—regressing their storyline back to season 2 and erasing all the work that made their relationship healthy. She then says she wants to go back home, alluding to the promise they made when first moving into the ranch: as soon as she says she wants to leave, Kayce will go with her. Kayce doesn’t appear to remember or want to leave.

The Bunkhouse Show

The soap opera storyline that is the bunkhouse continues its interpersonal melodrama. Lloyd is still salty at Walker for taking a girl more than half Lloyd’s age (because she was his girl!); Jimmy and Mia have a falling out as Jimmy apparently choses to follow John’s orders and go with Travis (who we’re reminded is a dick) to Texas’s 6666 ranch; and Rip continues to be irked by Walker’s existence. The gang has a lot of nice things to say about horses and cars.

‘Yellowstone’ Episode 3 Had the Most Violent Opening Scene Yet (2)

Beth and Rip’s Storyline

Somehow proving to be the show’s healthiest couple, Beth and Rip continue raising their illegally adopted son, Carter. Beth takes Carter shopping, though Rip warns that she shouldn’t coddle the boy or make him into a pet. When Carter asks to buy more than Beth offered, Beth explodes. A woman films her, calling her a bad mother. Beth destroys the woman’s phone and says something badass but nonsensical and storms out. Carter follows, confused but apologetic. Later that night, Beth returns home where Rip enables her alcoholism and asks after Carter. Beth says she doesn’t want him sleeping in the house; she sent him to the barn. Beth and Rip then hug and kiss, Beth telling Rip he’ll hate her one day for not being able to bear children.

Again: the show’s healthiest couple.

‘Yellowstone’ Episode 3 Had the Most Violent Opening Scene Yet (3)

John’s Storyline

John meets with Mo and Rainwater who have captured a man claiming to have orchestrated the attack on the Duttons. Mo and Rainwater tell John the man was working for an inmate, though they don’t know who the inmate is working for (Market Equities is still not off the hook). John learns that the inmate hired this captured man who in turn hired the militia. John takes the captured man to the train station—the Wyoming border where the bunkhouse murders people. Instead of just shooting the man, John inexplicably offers him a kind of duel. John puts a revolver on the ground and then drops his own gun’s clip. The man lunges for the revolver, John picks up his clip, loads, and then kills the man, who tumbles down the hill.

John Prine’s “Caravan of Fools” then plays us out. Roll credits.

‘Yellowstone’ Episode 3 Had the Most Violent Opening Scene Yet (2024)
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