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Yellowstone Finally Answered Fans' Biggest Question

Contains spoilers for Yellowstone season 3, episode 6: "All for Nothing"

Ever since Beth's (Kelly Reilly) return to Montana from her big city life in Salt Lake City, the tension between her and her older brother Jamie (Wes Bentley) has been at a steady boil on Yellowstone. Sure, Beth has a difficult personality — one that often pushes her to take a combative stance with just about everyone who wanders across her path — but the beef between her and Jamie has a different tenor. Many of the characters on Yellowstone have learned that it's better not to wind up at cross-purposes with Beth Dutton — a list that most recently expanded to include one racist boutique clothing store proprietor in Bozeman. Even in light of the substantial trail of bodies in her wake, however, the pure animosity that Beth feels toward Jamie is something special; she literally tried to convince him to kill himself, for heaven's sake.

Naturally, fans have wondered for a while where the source of this conflict lies. After all, she seems to have a perfectly loving (by Dutton standards) relationship with her surviving brother, Kayce (Luke Grimes), and boyfriend, Rip (Cole Hauser). Why can't she muster any modicum of warmth for poor, suit-wearing Jamie? 

In the previous two seasons, it seemed like Beth simply didn't trust her older brother. As she's explained to her father (Kevin Costner) on several occasions, Jamie's only out for Jamie. His ambition and narcissism override any sense of obligation — or loyalty — to the family. While that always seemed like a plausible explanation for some of her skepticism regarding Jamie's motives, it wasn't quite satisfying as an explanation for the abject hatred on display. Yellowstone has always provided subtle hints that something more serious happened between them — something acute — and on season 3, episode 6, entitled "All for Nothing," the writers finally spelled it out for us in plain terms.

Beth has a very good reason for hating Jamie on Yellowstone

We recently learned via flashback that when Beth was fifteen, an equally teenage Rip got her pregnant. An understandably distraught Beth asks her older brother, Jamie, to drive her to the clinic on the reservation for a secretive abortion. Jamie agrees, and even offers to go into the clinic to make Beth's arrangements. The woman working the desk at the abortion clinic expresses surprise that the frightened youngster who called her earlier is White — apparently, her facility was set up to serve Montana's indigenous population. This is relevant, because this clinic is required by regulation to sterilize any woman treated there.

Point of note, here: The practice of forced sterilization of native women has a dark and unfortunately non-fictional history. Sadly, it's entirely plausible that a 15-year-old girl in Montana would come across this issue at a reservation clinic. The nurse working at the clinic desk recommends that Jamie take his sister back to Bozeman, but Jamie is concerned that his family will be exposed, causing a scandal. Beth ultimately gets the abortion at the reservation clinic; as we learn on "All for Nothing," Jamie never told her about the sterilization beforehand.

Beth never revealed the pregnancy to her young lover at the time, and even though the two are now back together in adulthood, it doesn't appear Rip has any idea what happened way back when. Look for this to be a future flashpoint between Rip and Jamie.

Even before all this came to light, John Dutton wasn't the biggest fan of Jamie. For that reason, he's never been particularly inquisitive about the rift between his eldest surviving son and his only daughter, but on "All for Nothing," he finally asks. To Beth's credit, she doesn't shy away from the scary truth. In an off-screen scene, she spills the beans about the abortion — and the sterilization. This, obviously, doesn't bode well for the already strained relationship between John and Jamie.

Beth's reveal drives another wedge between John and Jamie on Yellowstone

Beth claims she's only ever made two decisions out of fear, and those decisions cost her everything. When she had the abortion at 15, Jamie was 18 and getting ready for college; he should have known enough not to make such a life-altering decision on behalf of his teenage sister without even pursuing her consent.

Beyond his concern for his daughter's well-being, John Dutton is always obsessed with his legacy. In John's eyes, Jamie has once again jeopardized the generational health of the Yellowstone by forcing Beth's sterilization. This most recent episode reveals that John was counting on Beth and Rip's progeny inheriting the ranch along with Tate (Brecken Merrill). Without any hope for additional future Duttons, Tate will be all alone to navigate the trials of Montana land ownership.

So Jamie is once again in the Dutton dog house, but what John doesn't (yet) know is that Jamie has a secret of his own. Last season, we discovered that Jamie impregnated his former campaign manager before dropping out of the race for attorney general. That gestating time-bomb is still out there, lurking in the narrative background of season 3, which has yet to address Jamie's offspring. It will be interesting to find out how John reacts when he learns he has another grandson on the way, and whether this will soften his heart toward Jamie. It will also be interesting to find out just how nuclear Beth goes when she discovers that the brother who stole her fertility is about to have a child of his own.

New episodes of Yellowstone air Sundays at 9 PM Eastern on Paramount Network.