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The Huge Rip Changes We Could See In Yellowstone Season 4

Spoilers for Yellowstone season 3 ahead!

Yellowstone really left fans with their jaws on the floor, with that season 3 finale. John Dutton (Kevin Costner) was gunned down on the side of the road while a gunman shot up Kayce's (Luke Grimes) office. A mail bomb found its way to Beth (Kelly Reilly) while she and her assistant were still at the office. Even Jimmy (Jefferson White) wasn't safe from tragedy as he was bucked off his steer and had to go to the hospital. One of the only characters to make it out of the finale unscathed was Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser), and you bet fans are talking about all the implications his safety means for the show, going forward. 

Rip mostly functions as John's enforcer. He's worked on the ranch for numerous years and has been fiercely loyal to him throughout the show's run, and John even considers him to be like a son. It's telling that the perpetrator behind the season 3 finale's attacks only targeted true-blue Duttons. Anyone familiar with the inner-workings of the Dutton ranch would know that if you really wanted to hurt the family, you would have to take out Rip as well. 

In fact, him being spared in the attacks could hint at where his character might go in season 4, and here's why.

Rip could have his own tragedy coming up in Yellowstone season 4

Rip had a fairly uneventful season 3 finale. His arc in the episode involves him coming across an injured horse and putting it out of its misery. The scene serves as a callback of sorts to John's first scene in the show, where he also puts down a horse after it's involved in a wreck. The scene could signify how much Rip has learned from John over the years. If John doesn't end up making it out alive, then it's possible Rip would need to become more than just a ranch hand. He may be the one who takes over the ranch, keeping it safe from people and organizations who want to get their hands on it. 

Rip certainly seems ready to handle the additional responsibilities, but as for changes coming to his character in season 4, you can bet he'll be out for blood. Of course, he may have other problems to deal with, as it's possible whoever attacked the Duttons may get around to targeting him, too. An article from Cinema Blend points out how killing Rip would be a major advantage to anyone wanting to get ahold of the Duttons' ranch, so it doesn't really make sense for the brains behind the attack to ignore him. According to the article, "Rip is John Dutton's chief enforcer, so taking down Rip would likely destabilize the Duttons in the biggest way. Is Rip's turn coming? Did Yellowstone spare his turn for the Season 4 premiere?"

There are many people from the Duttons' past that fans think could be behind the attacks. However, it's possible the perpetrator is someone we've never met yet. Perhaps it's someone who knows Rip and doesn't want any harm to come to him. Maybe it's someone who actively wants Rip to take control of the ranch. There has to be some reason why Rip was spared, and he may struggle emotionally when the identity of the attacker comes to light. 

We'll know for sure how Rip ties into the attacks (if he does, in any way) when season 4 debuts sometime in 2021.