Yellowstone Achieves What Dallas Reboot Failed as Cowboys and Corporations Battle for Land

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Yellowstone Season 3

When I sat to watch this third season of Yellowstone, it was without the benefit of having seen what had come before. I duly brought up the pilot on my Spectrum on-demand screen, and my initial impression was that this was going to be a show to fill the void for those few fans of Dallas that were left, wanting to see business men in cowboy hats and pretend it was a western.

Boy, howdy, was I ever wrong. While it may take a bit for this third season to warm up, the heat keeps getting turned up by degrees until you are simply riveted to this story of feuds, infighting, intrigue, and the pride that comes with land ownership. Especially the ownership of lots and lots of land, such as the Yellowstone Ranch owned by John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and his family -- Kayce (Luke Grimes), Jamie (Wes Bentley) and Beth (Kelly Reilly), scions of an empire that may be seeing its last hurrah.

The elder Dutton has taken the option of retiring to his ranch, and appointing his son Jamie to his former position as Livestock Commissioner. It's a short-lived position, however, as events conspire to place Jamie in the office of the Montana Attorney General, with his brother Kayce being forced to take the job he never wanted -- and at which he excels, tracking down and overcoming modern-day cattle rustlers, earning the respect and gratitude of ranchers around the state.

Of all the children, Beth is the corporate one, with an eye for market fluctuations and how to manipulate them to her advantage. This comes in as an expecially valuable talent when plans are made to buy out the Dutton Ranch -- knowing full well that John would never sell -- or seize it for pennies on the dollar through eminent domain. The company looking to make their mark on Montana is headed up by a man named Roark (Josh Holloway), and he has huge plans that he's not about to let the Duttons impede, pulling a number of "dirty tricks" along the way. But by the season's end, when Beth runs up against a player whose even more hardened and ruthless than she is, we see dirty tricks turn to full-on guerilla assault, the kind that could lead to an all-out war.

What's to love about YELLOWSTONE is that, while it does engage in the long form storytelling over a season, each episode also has its multiple subplots and its more quickly resolved dilemmas -- even if some of them have lasting effects on the characters, such as when Kayce's wife, Monica (Kelsey Asbille), works with the local Indian reservation agents to entrap a serial rapist, or when ranch hand Jimmy Hurdstrom (Jefferson White) has his rodeo dreams seemingly crushed when a wild bronc lands him in the hospital with severe spinal damage.

Also new to the show, the Dutton Ranch welcomes a female cowhand, Teeter (Jen Landon), who is a whole mess of crazy and cussing, and if you can understand a word she says, you're probably picking up the foul ones.

This season also brings to light past tragedies of the Dutton family, as Beth opens up to her new boyfriend, ranch foreman Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) about a teenaged trauma, while Jamie finds a surprise he knew nothing about when he procures a copy of his birth certificate to place on file before being sworn in as the Attorney General, a surprise that drives a wedge between father and son.

Sit yourself down with this three-disc Blu-ray set from Paramount, and settle in for some peace and quiet under the wide Montana skies. But don't get too comfortable, because before long, it's the wild west all over again. Heartily recommended.

Season 3

Disc One Disc Two Disc Three
You're the Indian Now
Freight Trains and Monsters
An Acceptable Surrender
Going Back to Cali
Cowboys and Dreamers
All for Nothing
The Beating
I Killed a Man Today
Meaner Than Evil
The World is Purple
Bonus Features

 

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0