Yellowstone‘s Season 5 mid-season finale brought several key elements of the show full circle. While not much has happened in the way of pulse-pounding action in Season 5, the family drama has been amped up. Episode 8 revealed a lot about the Duttons, but the infamous Y brand and the Train Station took center stage.
The opening flashback teaches us exactly why the Y Brand was invented and brought into use. As Young John Dutton tells it:
“A long time ago, cowboys would drift in and get work on some outfit, then disappear. Few months later, a whole chunk of the herd would disappear. It was the cowboys who started it. You find out real fast who’s willing to ride for the brand when they learn they gotta wear it. My cattle stopped getting stolen after that. What that means today is that you’re committing yourself to this ranch for the rest of your life, and this ranch is committing itself to you. You will have a home until the day you die, or this ranch is no more. Now, that is something worth fighting for.”Young John to Young Rip, Yellowstone Season 5, Episode 8
So John began branding his cowboys, telling them what it means to work on this ranch, and what happens if they steal from the Duttons. Then we watch as young Rip becomes branded by Lloyd, and the rest is history.
We now know this goes hand-in-hand with the Y Brand’s use in keeping criminals bound to loyalty. Other ranchers like Ryan, Colby, Walker, and Teeter also became branded only after they had committed murders to protect the Yellowstone. As for Kayce Dutton, however, the brand was given as punishment for impregnating a teenage Monica, or maybe just from a father who was tired of watching his son run away.
The beginning of the flashback also shows young John and Lloyd helping young Rip commit the very crime that would have him become branded, too. The body of Rowdy, the fellow rancher Rip killed over Beth in Episode 7, now rests at the bottom of the Train Station gorge. And it is Rowdy’s body that, along dozens of others, would damn present-day Rip and John if the Train Station were to ever come to light.
This is another tough lesson for Beth. She finally confronts Jamie over those photos she took at the train station in the Season 4 finale. Somewhere on her phone contains pictures of Jamie dumping the body of his biological father, Garrett Randall, into the canyon. Up until Episode 8, Beth believed these photos to be the ultimate blackmail, but as Jamie explains, her exposing his murder(s) would only damn their entire family.
Jamie: How many bodies has your father put in the same spot? Turn me in, you turn him in! Have you thought this through? Wait, did you even know? Do you think I’d just pick a turnout on the Wyoming border at f*cking random? There’s a century’s worth of our family’s secrets at the bottom of that canyon! You want to see how fast they take the ranch from us then? It’ll straighten your f*cking hair, that’s how fast!
Jamie: Ask him! Ask you husband where the train station is and how many times he’s been there! You wanna know the real price of protecting the ranch? I don’t think you do.Yellowstone Season 5, Episode 8
Through this interaction, we learn that Beth was unaware of the truth of the infamous Train Station. She’s been blissfully ignorant of the amount of other bodies and Dutton secrets buried at the bottom of that canyon. We’ve known throughout the series that John and Rip have shielded her from that reality. Jamie knows that if the police reach the bottom of that canyon, they’ll find a century’s worth of Dutton murders and secrets.
So Beth leaves to find her father, and immediately asks him to explain The Train Station in full, and for the first time he does:
“It’s the trash can for everyone who’s attacked us. It lays in a jurisdictional deadzone in a county with a population of exactly zero. Hence, no jury of your peers and no court for a change in venue.
Why are you so surprised? Where do you think the men who attacked you in your office and attacked our ranch went? You shocked we found a way to circumvent the consequences of defending ourselves? I’m shocked we need a way. But we do. We always have. And unless we’re willing to walk away from 120 years of our family bleeding into this ground, we always will.”John Dutton, Yellowstone Season 5, Episode 8
After hearing this, Beth does not abandon her father, but instead suggests that the Train Station is exactly where Jamie needs to go and makes it clear she’s ready to take him out once and for all:
“If there is a place our enemies go and nobody ever knows they went, and they’ll never come back… Then I think that’s the place for Jamie. What do you think, daddy?”Beth Dutton, Yellowstone Season 5, Episode 8
John doesn’t give an answer on this. Jamie, however, feels it coming, telling Sarah Atwood that Beth will want him killed over calling for their father’s impeachment. They begin hatching a plan to kill Beth first, revealing what the main conflict of Season 5’s second half will be: The War of the Duttons.
Our favorite TV cowboy, Cole Hauser, is going to be starring in a new Western! Click HERE to read more about it.