'Yellowstone' Season 5 Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Yellowstone Rip Wheeler Cole Hauser Paramount Network
Paramount Network

“Yellowstone” Season 5 is finally near the horizon, and for those who need a refresher on where things stand, look no further. Below you will find answers to burning questions from the beginning of the series to the latest one. It has been a wild ride for John Dutton and viewers. So, here are some things you need to know heading in for it.

If you need a recap on the complicated family dynamics between Beth and Jamie, find out which Dutton dies in the first episode, and other questions – Eclectic Pop has you covered. Before you try to get a lay of the land, check out the trailer for Season 5 and keep reading!

Who is who?

John Dutton (Kevin Costner) is the widowed patriarch of the Dutton family. When “Yellowstone” begins, John is the father of four living adult children. There is Lee (Dave Annable), Jamie (Wes Bentley), Beth (Kelly Reilly), and Kayce (Luke Grimes). Dutton’s youngest son is the only one of his children with a wife and son.

Kayce is estranged from his father when “Yellowstone” begins. However, over time, he grows closer to John. Kayce’s reticent wife, Monica (Kelsey Asbille), supports her husband while remaining resistant to the Duttons. Monica and Kayce’s son, Tate, is the complete opposite throughout “Yellowstone,” though completely embracing his grandfather.

Who dies in the first episode of “Yellowstone”?

John’s eldest son, Lee Dutton (Dave Annable), dies in the very first episode of “Yellowstone.” Lee was the heir apparent to inherit the titular ranch. Unfortunately, Lee gets killed by Monica’s brother -- Robert -- when Lee and the rest of the Duttons’ forces as the Livestock commission go on Native land to retrieve cattle that crossed out of Dutton territory.

Related: “Yellowstone” Season 4 (So Far): Who Has Lived? Who Has Died?

Reeling from witnessing Robert kill Lee, and attempting to shoot a dead Lee again, Kayce kills Robert. The subsequent cover-up orchestrated by John Dutton and carried out by Rip helps thaw the ice between Kayce and his father. Jamie also plays a role in helping Kayce from a legal standpoint, a storyline that demonstrates the strength and reach of the Dutton empire.

What happened to Monica’s parents?

“Yellowstone” viewers still do not know. Hopefully, Season 5 can shed some light on that. What fans do know is that Monica and her brother got raised by their grandparents. Their grandpa Felix (Rudy Ramos) helps guide Monica, Tate, and Kayce to navigate their young family forward.

So far, what happened to Monica and Robert’s parents is unclear. Their fate will hopefully get revealed in a dialogue at some point. It is the kind of dangling plot thread that “Yellowstone” is unlikely to leave hanging indefinitely. Or so you would think.

Who killed the cows?

In “Yellowstone” Season 2, John Dutton gets dealt an enormous blow when his cows get murdered. They are essentially poisoned, and Dan Jenkins is initially (and falsely blamed) for the incident. Over time, the truth gets revealed when it comes out that the Beck brothers are the actual culprits.

Who plays the governor?

Wendy Moniz, who you might recognize from ABC’s short-lived drama “Betrayal,” plays the governor. It is important to note that Moniz’s Lynelle Perry is not just the governor. She is also John Dutton’s unofficial girlfriend until Season 4. Lynelle does not spend a lot of downtime with his family, though. Speaking of whom, John’s daughter Beth is not Lynelle’s biggest fan, protective of her dead mother’s place in John’s life.

Who is Rip?

Rip is the unofficially adopted son of John Dutton. In flashbacks, “Yellowstone” reveals that Rip fled to the ranch after his mother and brother got murdered by his stepdad. Rip killed his stepdad, but the wounds of not saving his family left an indelible mark on him. 

After arriving at the ranch, John offers Rip a place in the bunkhouse, and he eventually becomes John’s right-hand man. Rip also romances John’s daughter Beth, who viewers learn became pregnant by Rip when they were teenagers. Unfortunately, Beth never tells him the truth, and they eventually break up, only to reunite as adults after Beth’s marriage ends. 

Rip is the love of Beth’s life and another son to John. He is an essential part of the Dutton family and becomes an official member when he and Beth marry in the Season 4 finale. However, it will not be entirely official as every record of Rip’s existence got scrubbed years ago. 

Why did Avery leave?

Avery’s absence goes unexplained to a remarkable degree for quite a while. When “Yellowstone” Season 1 ends, she and Jimmy are getting closer, and there is even a sense that sparks could fly between Avery (Tanaya Beatty) and Kayce. None of that ended up happening, as Avery left the series for a time. Avery returns in Season 4, flirting up a storm with Kayce, who gently rebuffs her. He is happily married to Monica.

Why did they kill Fred?

In “Yellowstone” Season 1, wrangler Fred gets told to lay off of Jimmy by Rip. When it becomes clear that Fred is not willing to play ball by Rip’s rules, the latter has Lloyd take Fred to the “train station.” In “Yellowstone” terminology, Lloyd took Fred for a ride in his truck, stopped off the road, shot him, and kicked him off the mountain’s edge and into its dark abyss.

What streaming service?

“Yellowstone” Seasons 1 through 4 are exclusively streaming on Peacock. You can also watch the series via Philo and record the new season by “saving” it on the service. Roku supports Philo, so you can catch up with the Duttons as easily as if you had cable. 


These are some of the rougher edges of “Yellowstone” and its mythology. As Season 5 gets underway, fans will undoubtedly want to stay abreast of these details. They may not significantly impact what is to come, but they undoubtedly matter in shaping what we know about the show’s universe.

Giddy up because one of the biggest shows on television is about to return. “Yellowstone” Season 5 premieres Sunday, November 13 at 9 p.m. ET on the Paramount Network. In the meantime, you can stream the series’ spinoff prequel series “1883” on Paramount+.