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Why Fans Don't Think This Yellowstone Flashback Makes Any Sense

Spoilers for Yellowstone season 3 ahead!

Fans are still reeling from that devastating Yellowstone season 3 finale.

Some mysterious force put a hit out on the Dutton family — namely John (Kevin Costner), Kayce (Luke Grimes), and Beth (Kelly Reilly). They all ended up on the wrong side of gunfire and explosions, and their fates remain in the balance until season 4 provides us with some much-needed answers. 

However, season 3 didn't just provide us with literal explosions. There were also tragic emotional plot twists, such as the shocking discovery that Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) had Beth forcibly sterilized when she was a teenager. As we see in flashbacks to the pair's teenage years, Beth ended up with an unwanted pregnancy. To protect the family name, Beth turned to Jamie for help, and he insisted they go to a clinic on a Native American reservation. Once there, Jamie was told that an abortion was only possible under the strict guideline that Beth undergo sterilization. 

Jamie agreed to the procedure without informing Beth of what would actually happen to her. Of course, Beth learns of this betrayal later in life, causing a rift between the two that's beyond repair. The story line is shocking to say the least, but some fans have been discussing the fact that it doesn't necessarily all add up. While there is historical accuracy in the concept of forced sterilization among the Native American community, some fans have pointed out that the timeline seems off. 

Beth wouldn't have been a teenager when the last forced sterilization on Native American land took place

We know from the show that Beth was 16 years old when Jamie took her in for the abortion. Express has gathered together various fan comments from IMDb, and one individual asserts that a forced sterilization shouldn't have been possible. "The timeline doesn't work for this storyline," the commenter writes, "as Beth would need to now be in her 60s and obviously isn't, as the last forced sterilization was in the 1970s." Research seems to back this up, with the Indian Health Service having performed thousands of forced sterilizations, sometimes without the woman's knowledge and consent, throughout the 1960s and '70s. 

The practice has thankfully been outlawed, but it doesn't quite add up that Beth would have been of the right age to have gone through it herself. We have confirmation that Beth is only supposed to be 38 years old during the time of the series' main action. That means the abortion and sterilization would have taken place in the 1990s, long after the practice was banned in the '70s. 

The Express article goes on to outline fans' skepticism that a clinic would continue with the procedure in the first place without at least informing Beth personally of what would transpire. While the timeline may not precisely add up with what really happened, it certainly explains the tumultuous relationship between Beth and Jamie, and hopefully, it encourages people to look into the real, horrific story of how Native Americans have been treated in the United States. 

We'll have to wait and see how Beth and Jamie's relationship progresses (and whether Jamie was behind those terrible attacks) when Yellowstone season 4 debuts