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The Biggest Unanswered Questions From Yellowstone Season 4

One of TV's most-watched dramas, at first, "Yellowstone" seemed to fly under the radar. But as the mainstream finally woke up to the incredible characters, thrilling excitement, and tense drama of Taylor Sheridan's show, the pressure has only increased to create new and satisfying stories for the Dutton family.

At the close of the 3rd season, viewers were on the edge of their seats as all-out war was waged on John and his entire family, with a series of coordinated assassination attempts on him and all his children. A drive-by shooting left John bleeding out on a desolate highway, a bomb destroyed Beth's office, gunmen opened fire on Kayce, thugs went after Monica and Tate, and as the final episode faded to black, nobody knew who — if anyone — had survived. Some answers are given in the opening of Season 4's premiere, and as the season progresses, other questions are also answered.

While the 4th season attempts to tie up as many plot threads as it could — including the marriage of Beth and Rip, who ordered the assassination, and the mystery of Jamie's unborn child — new questions are left for us to ponder by the closing credits of the finale. Let's take a look at some of the biggest.

Is Kayce ever coming back?

As the 4th season gets underway, we learn that Kayce survived the attack in the previous season's finale. There are no magic solutions to this puzzle, though — just Kayce's dogged determination and sharp-shooting skills, which helped him stay alive and kill the men who came after him. But in the aftermath of the attack, things change for Kayce and his family: Monica and Tate were also targets of assassination, and though the pair survived thanks to Tate's handling of a shotgun, they were left traumatized.

Looking out for the emotional well-being of his family first, Kayce decides to relocate, taking his wife and son off the Yellowstone-Dutton Ranch and buying a house in Pryor, Montana. It seems to do wonders for young Tate and Monica, too, and it's not long before she tells Kayce that they are expecting another child. After yet another mysterious wolf sighting, though, Kayce seeks the help of his friends on the reservation, who convince him to undertake a vision quest for answers. There, he encounters images of his dead brother Lee, flashbacks of his time in the war, and the wolf — his spirit guide — in the form of a young Native American woman.

With what we've seen Kayce and his family go through this season and the comfort he's seemingly found off the ranch, we wonder if he'll keep his promise to his father and return to the Yellowstone. Is this Sheridan's way of writing Kayce out of the series, or just a new story arc for him?

When will the Duttons learn about Jamie's baby?

It was way back in Season 2 that Jamie's ex-girlfriend Christina dropped a major bombshell on him: she is pregnant with his child. Jamie begged her to allow him to be a part of the baby's life, but she announced that she couldn't be with him if he was still working with the Duttons. Before leaving him again, Christina gave Jamie a fateful choice: "Serve your father's family or serve your own." 

It wouldn't be an immediate decision for him, as Jamie does return to serve his father on the Yellowstone as a weapon of the ranch against his enemies. But when his father doesn't permit him to run for governor, Jamie finally splits from his family. In doing so, he discovers he is not really a Dutton at all, having been adopted as a baby (another shocker that left fans dumbstruck). And it's when he reconnects with his birth father Garrett Randall in Season 4 that Christina resurfaces — with their baby in tow.

But after Season 4's conclusion, there is still no indication that anyone else in the Dutton family knows of the existence of Jamie's child, and it's anyone's guess how they'll react when they find out. Could Beth be looking for blood, vengefully resentful that she can't have children of her own? Could John see this child as a possible heir to the Yellowstone, as he has made it clear he still views Jamie as a son? We'll have to wait and see.

Where does the governor's race stand?

Speaking of Jamie Dutton — or Jamie Randall, as he may be properly known now — one major plotline that is still left hanging at the ending of Season 4 is the fate of the governor's race. The adopted Dutton split away from his family to pursue the office against the wishes of his father and in defiance of John entering his own name in the race. A potential political rivalry between father and son figures could be a fascinating story for "Yellowstone," but Jamie still hasn't officially filed his own candidacy, leaving the plot up in the air for now. 

There were a few wrinkles before the 4th season finale, namely the existence of Jamie's birth father, Garrett Randall, a man who had done serious hard time for the murder of his wife — Jamie's mother. Christina recommends ditching his relationship with Randall to pursue the governorship, but with Randall out of the way following the final episode, that's no longer an issue. At the same time, she also warns of what John Dutton might do with knowledge of Randall's existence; with the family now aware of the role Jamie's birth father played in the attempt on their lives, there's a whole new can of worms opened. But Jamie insists he "had a plan" for how to deal with John's knowledge of his father, so we're curious what that could mean. As it stands, the race to be Montana's next governor is just heating up and could be the main story of the 5th season.

Is Carter the next Dutton?

In the season opener, Beth meets Carter while outside the hospital that her father is recovering in, and the pair bond over their mutual family problems. Carter's father is dying, and when he needs someone by his side to say goodbye, Beth uncharacteristically offers to be support for him. Carter later turns up at the ranch when he gets in trouble with the law and tells the sheriff he knows the family. With nowhere else to go, Beth offers Carter a place to stay. After a little tough love from Beth and Rip, Carter winds up working at Yellowstone as a ranch hand and living with Beth and Rip in a quasi-family unit.

From Carter's introduction, it seemed that he might be the next Rip Wheeler: a troubled, angry orphaned boy brought to the ranch through a compassionate Dutton and raised to be a cowboy. But in the finale, Beth makes it clear she wants no part of being a mother, though it's hard to deny that's exactly what's happening. Still, the question remains: What will Carter become? Will he be the next surrogate Dutton like Rip, a future wrangler and Yellowstone enforcer? Or with Kayce and his family off the ranch — perhaps for good — could Carter stand to become the next generation of the Dutton family with Tate out of the picture?

We've seen John getting closer to Carter in the same way he was bonding with Tate earlier in the series, so there's no telling which way this one could go.

Does Beth's threat really have bite?

For four long years on "Yellowstone," we've watched Beth Dutton's hatred for her brother Jamie percolate, a few times boiling over into overt aggression. It all stems from an incident in their youth when Jamie helped Beth get an abortion — but failed to disclose that it would make her sterile.

In the 4th season's final episode, the feud between the siblings reached what may be its climax, with Beth discovering that it was Jamie's birth father, Garrett Randall, who ordered the assassination attempts on the Duttons. Beth gives Jamie two choices — neither of which are good — before Jamie chooses a third option. At the end of the episode, we see Jamie murder Randall, openly weeping for what he had to do to save his future.

But just when he thought he was in the clear, Beth appears and snaps photos of Jamie dumping the body into the canyon where so many buried their secrets before. She says she owns him now, suggesting she'll keep the threat of exposing his murder of Randall over his head to keep him in line. But does this threat really carry the weight she seems to think it does? Her own husband, Rip Wheeler, has buried more than one murder at the bottom of the same cliff, and revealing his involvement with Randall could threaten to expose more than one family secret, including Rip's part in the cover-up of a reporter Jamie killed. Could this threat come back to haunt her next season? 

Is Summer's story really over?

A divisive new foil for the Dutton family, Summer Higgins is an environmental activist added to the cast this season. Some felt she was added to make the show topical, while others just didn't like the way she forced changes in long-standing characters like Beth and John Dutton. Summer comes to town under the auspices of ending animal cruelty and saving Montana's rich untamed lands from the change that industrialists are attempting to bring to the region. But during her time in Montana, she also gets close to the Duttons after John befriends her in an attempt to get to know his enemy.

Along the way, she becomes a pawn of Beth Dutton's desire to sabotage Market Equities' land deal and winds up facing life in prison because of Beth's vicious machinations. Thankfully, John feels it isn't right for Beth to do what she did and attempts to sway the judge to let Summer off the hook. It's touch and go, but in the end, Summer gets a much-reduced sentence, and it's said that she'll likely be freed from her jail cell within a year. While this may seem like the end of her story on "Yellowstone," we can't help but wonder if there's more of a role for her to play. She's still a potentially powerful ally as leader of an environmentalist movement, and she and John seem to share some of the same goals. If she's only expected to do eight months behind bars, we may not have seen the last of her.

Will there be fallout from Garrett's murder?

The Season 3 revelation that Jamie was adopted as a baby led to the introduction of his birth father, Garrett Randall, in Season 4. Over the course of the season, he becomes a close ally of Jamie's, even helping him find the confidence to break away from the Duttons and chart his own path. Along with Christina, the three plan on how to get Jamie elected to the governorship before his death at his own son's hands. But will the death of Garrett Randall have greater consequences that we don't yet see?

We know from Beth's threats that the knowledge of Randall's murder will cast a pall over Jamie, threatening to destroy his life and career. But are there other forces be at work that could endanger everyone? What will happen when Christina discovers him missing? Will the new sheriff investigate the murder and uncover the truth of Jamie's parentage and a potential motive for murder? Though at first, it might look like the plot thread is resolved with his death, there are still many questions surrounding Randall that need answering, including what he's been up to behind Jamie's back. He seemed to be expecting his death just before it came, so it may also be possible he had a posthumous backup plan ready, having promised to go after the Duttons again.

What will Jimmy's life be like at 6666?

At the beginning of the season, Jimmy finds himself seriously injured, not by the attack on the ranch, but by a misguided attempt to rodeo again, breaking his promise to Yellowstone's leader, John Dutton. But he's still a member of the family, and John isn't ready to give up on Jimmy altogether, so he orders the young wanna-be cowboy off to Texas to a notorious ranch called the "6666" — a place that works their men harder than any other. If the 6666 can't turn Jimmy into a cowboy, nobody can.

Jimmy goes to Texas and finds just what he needs: a new life with a new crew and no drama to distract him from his cowboy work. He does indeed learn to cowboy and even meets Emily, who becomes his fiancée in a rapid-fire romance. When Jimmy returns to the Yellowstone, he promises to stay until his debt to the ranch is repaid, but John graciously lets him leave with Emily and start a new life at the 6666. We likely won't get answers in the next season of "Yellowstone" and will instead see Jimmy's story continue in the new spin-off series, "6666." But even that raises a few important questions: Will Jimmy be the lead of this new series, or like in "Yellowstone," just a supporting player? And if the famed Texas ranch really isn't the hotbed of action and drama as Jimmy claims, what will the new series be about?

Will Beth accept motherhood?

Since we learned in Season 3 that Beth is unable to be a mother, we've pondered what that might mean for her future on the ranch, unable to be a part of her family's continuing legacy. But since the introduction of the young Carter, it has increasingly felt like she might just have a crack at parenthood yet and become a mother to a new generation of Dutton. Beth, Carter, Rip become more and more like a family unit in Season 4, even if they aren't always the best parents, and audiences were probably expecting Beth to embrace her role as Carter's mom by the end of the season.

With that assumption, it was all the more surprising when she snaps at Carter when he casually calls her "mama," telling him he has no mother and never will. It was a touching moment in the finale that is brutally soured by Beth's mean streak, when audiences may have expected her to shed a tear, realizing she may just get her wish to be a mom. It seemed unusually cruel, even for Beth, so it remains to be seen what their relationship will be moving forward. Will she have a change of heart and embrace motherhood? Or will year five see a further descent into rage and despair that we've seen all season long, and send Carter cast off the Yellowstone?

Will the new sheriff be trouble for the Duttons?

In one of the season's many shocking moments, John and Rip meet Sheriff Haskell at a roadside diner, only to discover the restaurant is in the middle of being held up by a group of lowlifes. With the sheriff and a gaggle of innocent patrons as hostages, Rip and John are able to turn the tables, but not before the thugs fatally wound Haskell. It was a sobering moment for John, not just because Haskell was a friend, but because their closeness meant the local lawmen were often on his side in many of the Duttons' extra-legal activities.

In the penultimate episode of the season, we meet Haskell's replacement, Commander Ramsey (pictured above), a man we've seen before — if only briefly — when he came to the ranch to inform Jimmy of his grandfather's death. John is clearly rattled when Ramsey is announced as Haskell's interim replacement, and it is suggested that John is unsure if Ramsey can be trusted. Not because he's corrupt, but because he might not be. And while John makes sure to emphasize the interim nature of the posting, Ramsey says they both know it's just a formality. 

We only get a brief look at Ramsey in his new role as sheriff, but he's already made it clear he's going to do things differently. Ramsey seems acutely aware of Haskell's corruption, setting him up to be a major thorn in the Duttons' side as the series moves into its 5th season. But the question remains: Will Sheriff Ramsey be a momentary roadblock quickly dispatched, or can he be the show's new big bad?

Will the Yellowstone Dutton ranch finally fall?

We're not suggesting for a moment that Season 5 of "Yellowstone" will be the last, but we could be entering a new stage of the series and wonder if we might be seeing the last days of the Yellowstone-Dutton Ranch. Surrounded by enemies on all sides, there seems to be no way out for John and his family, who have all but acknowledged their days could be numbered (they compared their situation to the Alamo on more than one occasion).

With one of the country's biggest firms at their back in Market Equities — whose principal owner now has a personal reason to go after their land after Beth crossed her — and allies dropping left and right, it feels like the noose is finally closing around the Duttons. Their only saving grace may be John — or another such ally — winning the governorship and changing the rules. But when big money is involved, even that might not be enough. Could the series' fifth year see them lose their ranch and fight to get it back? It might seem like a far-fetched notion for a series that's built around a family willing to die before they lose their land, but where "Yellowstone" is concerned, there seem to be no limits to the stories that lay ahead.