Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Yellowstone Ending Theory That Has Fans Split

The Dutton family on Yellowstone have made their fair share of enemies over the years, but it's possible they've met their greatest foe to date — the IRS. 

Following the season 3 finale, all anyone could talk about was who was behind the vicious attack on John (Kevin Costner), Kayce (Luke Grimes), and Beth (Kelly Reilly). Since the last episode, fans have wondered who could have orchestrated the attack and which member(s) of the Dutton family may finally bite the dust. (Our two cents: It doesn't look good for John Dutton.) 

However, even if everyone makes it out alive, it's not going to be the end of their troubles. Due to some underhanded business tactics from Roarke Morris (Josh Holloway), property taxes surrounding and including Dutton Ranch are set to skyrocket, and considering the immense size of the land, it's highly unlikely the family will be able to cover those fixed costs. This property has been in the Dutton family for six generations, generations that will no doubt be explored in the upcoming Yellowstone prequel series, but it looks like it could be the end of the line for the family's massive land holdings. 

Various theories have emerged about how the Duttons could save their land, such as planting dinosaur fossils on the ranch so that the land is protected from being seized. However, one fan has another idea of how the Yellowstone Ranch could conceivably remain within the family by the series' end. 

Some fans think Kayce could become governor to save the ranch, but others aren't convinced

Redditor u/Forecydian offers a fairly compelling theory as to how season 4 and beyond of Yellowstone could play out in terms of who gains control of John Dutton's massive estate. They wrote, "I think the show made it pretty obvious how the ranch will be saved. In the lawyer room scene it was found that the governor has the final say in condemning [John's] land, and in a final scene [Kayce] is asked to run for governor. I think he'll survive, the state will rise up and support him and his family after this attack, [Kayce] will run for governor and win, not condemn the land and the salary he makes will cover the property taxes."

So far, Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) has really been the only member of the family with an apparent interest in politics. He mounted a campaign to become Attorney General. It would be an interesting turn if Kayce outpaced him to take the governor's mansion — though we're doubtful the governor's salary could cover even a fraction of the Dutton tax burden. After all, Kayce is a lot more likable than Jamie, so if he were to pursue a career in politics, one would imagine he'd have a decent chance at success. 

Other viewers have some issues with this theory. After all, being a governor isn't the same as being a dictator. Redditor u/RipsLittleCoors brought up a good point, "That seems like a conflict of interest. I would think there's more to it than that, some part of the process for where the governor is the owner of the property in question." There's also the issue of taxes, which u/hoppintruck23 mentions, "Property taxes is one thing but I think the big problem is inheritance tax. Inheritance tax is typically around 10% (give or take). The ranch is about 800,000 acres. They're gonna need at least tens of millions of dollars cash the day John dies to not lose the ranch."

If there's a way for the Duttons to hang onto the ranch, then you bet your bottom dollar the writers for the show are going to find it. Hopefully, more answers are revealed when Yellowstone season 4 airs on the Paramount Network later this year.