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What You Never Noticed About John Dutton In Yellowstone's Pilot Episode

For fans of Paramount Network's stark neo-Western drama Yellowstone, the first three seasons of the series have been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride fueled by dramatic revelations, unexpected plot twists, and head-spinning power plays. And if the series' jaw-dropping season 3 finale is any indication, things are only going to get crazier when Yellowstone returns for its fourth run later this year.

Just as a brief recap, that season 3 finale found John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and his coveted Yellowstone Ranch under fire from all sides and facing a decidedly uncertain future. More disturbingly, it found the Duttons themselves literally under fire from mail bombs and gunmen hired by a still-unknown enemy with Papa Dutton himself left gut-shot on the side of the road. 

The sight of John Dutton bloodied on the side of the road is, of course, a callback to the opening moments of the Yellowstone, which found the ranching magnate in similar shape after a near-fatal car crash. As legions of Yellowstone fans anxiously wait to find out what will become of John and his family moving forward, the fact remains that one of his own may well be the one behind the most recent outbreak of violence. 

The Dutton in question is none other than Wes Bentley's Jamie, who spent the bulk of season 3 seeing his lot in the family shift from black sheep to outcast, and now, perhaps, to mortal foe. While Jamie's role in the season 3 violence remains uncertain, it's clear his moves against his own family helped enable it. Whatever the case, it's crystal clear now he's on the outs with the Duttons, though many a Yellowstone super-fan will tell you that was apparent from John's interactions with him in the series' very first episode.

John's contentious relationship with Jamie was teased from the very beginning

Indeed, a storm has been brewing between Jamie and his family for some time now. We finally got some answers as to why in a third season full of shocking revelations, one of which finally explained why Jamie's sister Beth (Kelly Reilly) harbored so much hatred for him. As for the other massive season 3 twist, it explained why John Dutton (a man who puts family and legacy before everything) so clearly loathed the man he called son — which is that Jamie is the adopted child John never wanted.

As reported by Express U.K., some savvy Reddit users have seized on that revelation as welcome clarification regarding John's dislike for Jamie, a fact that was evident even in Yellowstone's pilot episode. That moment came in the aftermath of John's crash, and found Jamie tending to his father's wounds, with Redditor FlowerBambiThumper noting the importance of that specific scene: "But the very first scene of the whole series between John and one of his children, is Jamie taking care of John's injury. For someone whose children drive his entire life's ambition, that scene jumps out."

It jumps out as another Reddit user noted because of the contentious nature of what might've been a tender moment, with John viciously belittling his son in tow. "He was dripping contempt for Jamie in that scene. Real foreshadowing there. He all but called him a s***y who doesn't belong there."

Though the scene plays on the side of understated, it's every bit as brutal as that Redditor makes it out to be. And yes, it succinctly set the table for every combative moment thereafter. As for what's ahead for John and Jamie, frankly your guess is as good as ours. We cannot wait see how it all pans out in season 4 of Yellowstone.