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Ranking Every Couple On Yellowstone

"Yellowstone" is a hard-hitting TV series about rough 'n tough cowboys battling greedy businessmen over land in Darby, Montana. However, it's also a show about ordinary people attempting to lead ordinary lives in-between the ongoing conflict. For every violent gun battle, gritty fight scene and intense standoff, we get tender moments between characters such as Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) and Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) in which they engage in intimate conversations about their past; or romantic interludes with Kayce (Luke Grimes) and Monica Dutton (Kelsey Asbille), who enjoy frolicking in the forest in front of wild wolves. 

Where the action elements certainly generate plenty of excitement, it's the relationships that really allow "Yellowstone" to stand out from other shows of its ilk. After all, what good is a shootout sans the emotional investment? We want characters like Rip and Beth to survive the numerous bombings, shootings and beatings that occur in each episode because they're so much fun to watch. "Yellowstone" wouldn't be the same without them.

Now, there are a number of great couples on "Yellowstone," each of which contribute their own unique flavor to the proceedings. Lucky for you, we've got them all ranked from worst to best. Let's do this!

Dan and Victoria

At first sight, Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston) seems to have it all. The man has money, a beautiful wife, kids, an amazing home and plenty of business prospects. Except, as the first few seasons of "Yellowstone" progress, we see that Dan's life is actually a giant facade. Particularly when it comes to his marriage with Victoria (Barret Swatek), a woman who appears happy alongside her husband but, after a night out with Beth, exclaims, "For the first time in two years I don't feel bored!" That's never a good sign. 

It doesn't help that Beth uses this problematic relationship to her advantage. In the eighth episode of Season 1, she picks up Victoria, gets her drunk and pairs her with a work assistant; and then has the gall to wait for Dan to come home just so she can rub it in. 

Of course, Dan is no saint. He would have jumped in the sack with Beth if given the opportunity; and his questionable business practices likely played a large part in fracturing his marriage. Even so, his relationship with Victoria, however briefly shown, is still tough to watch.

John and Summer

In one of the more head scratching plots of Season 4, John Dutton (Kevin Costner) befriends and sleeps with environmental activist Summer Higgins (Piper Perabo). This, despite their extreme opposing points of view on anything to do with cattle, gluten and Veganism in general. We can get behind two vastly different characters hooking up for some adult-oriented fun provided the ends justify the means, but the relationship never once feels authentic.  

Even worse, their story takes a wild U-turn into bizarro land when Beth uses Summer for one of her schemes that ultimately lands the bewildered activist in jail. Angered by his daughter's actions, John uses his considerable resources to keep his newfound love from behind bars and we're meant to believe the battle-hardened owner of Dutton Ranch would suddenly put his reputation on the line to save a woman he barely knows from an extended stay in the slammer.

Honestly, the entire subplot felt unnecessary. We never buy into the forced romance between John and Summer, which seems to exist just so Taylor Sheridan can poke a little fun at vegans and activists in general. The storyline essentially leads to a scene between John and a weary judge who lament the state of today's youth — a good moment, for sure — just not powerful enough to justify this awkward relationship. 

Jimmy and Mia

Jimmy Hurdstrom (Jefferson White) entered "Yellowstone" as a wayward young man in dire need of a second chance. Luckily, Dutton Ranch afforded him the perfect opportunity to recalibrate his life and even (under Lloyd Pierce's supervision) enter the world of rodeo — a path that inexplicably leads him to barrel racer Mia (Eden Brolin). 

Unfortunately, fate intervenes and renders this newfound relationship doomed from the start. In fact, upon first meeting Mia, Jimmy endures a horrible accident that leaves him dangerously close to paralysis. Mia graciously stands by his side while he works his way back to normalcy — not once, but twice! — and seems willing to engage in a long-term relationship. Jimmy, on the other hand, understandably has serious reservations about the cowboy life and opts to pursue other ventures at the 6666 Ranch in Texas where he eventually meets, dates and becomes engaged to veterinary technician Emily (Kathryn Kelly). 

Naturally, Jimmy being Jimmy, he returns to the Dutton Ranch with his fiancée in tow and incurs Mia's wrath, effectively putting an end to the duo's half-hearted (and poorly written) love affair.   

Jamie and Christina

Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) is "Yellowstone's" most unlikable character (in a good way), which naturally means we could care less about any of the man's relationships — he simply does not deserve happiness. As such, his brazen love affair with Christina (Katherine Cunningham) leaves much to be desired and feels foolhardy at best. And that was before she showed up with his child midway through Season 4. 

While the addition of an offspring gives Jamie plenty to fight for in his efforts to take down his non-biological father John, we're still not quite sure where this whole Jamie/Christina fiasco is headed. Particularly since Jamie doesn't seem to actually love or care for this woman (or anyone in general) and would likely cut her out of the picture if doing so allowed him to protect his squeaky clean public image. 

Still, this pairing at the very least has our attention as Christina appears willing to slide into a Lady Macbeth role alongside her partner; and willingly kill to attain the power she and Jamie so desperately crave. 

Walker and Laramie

Right off the bat, we will admit that Walker (Ryan Bingham) and Laramie (Hassie Harrison) make a cute couple. The pair exhibit plenty of chemistry and her plucky nature serves as the perfect counter to his world-weary cynicism. Except, their pairing came at the expense of the affable Lloyd/Laramie quasi-romance that kicked off in Season 3. Knowing that Laramie more or less dumped poor Lloyd upon eyesight of Walker, leading to a bitter (and violent) feud between the pair of ranch hands that likewise effected Lloyd's relationship with Rip, makes this particular love story a little hard to stomach. 

Sure, Laramie is probably better off with Walker, a man who is at least closer to her age and less susceptible to violence, but there's a right way and a wrong way to break off a relationship; and the rodeo girl chose the less effective path. Her cruel tactics left Lloyd humiliated and questioning his status in the bunkhouse. Not that that justifies his actions toward Walker. Except, in the world of "Yellowstone," everyone should know that if you mess with the bull you get the horns. 

John and Lynelle

John Dutton and Lynelle Perry's (Wendy Moniz) relationship is an interesting one. On the one hand, they make a good match. His rough cowboy demeanor meshes surprisingly well with her office-molded pragmatism; and they seem to bring out the best in each other. On the other hand, the pairing feels more casual than romantic. John never actively seeks her company and vice versa. Their encounters are just as likely to end in business talk as sex, which isn't quite as captivating as the other couples ranked higher on this list.

Indeed, it seems John and Lynelle are mostly just friends with very good benefits who openly use the other more for professional gain than emotional support. John helped her ascend to the rank of governor, and she, in turn,  spends her days fending off his numerous enemies. It's a tactful pairing, albeit one based more on business than pleasure, which is why we can't rank it much higher on this list no matter how much we like seeing the two of them together. 

Jimmy and Emily

Jimmy was forcibly moved from Dutton Ranch (and Mia) to the 6666 Ranch in Texas in order to better learn the ways of the cowboy. After a short time, the young man stirs a relationship with vet tech Emily, who is smitten with Jimmy from the moment they lock eyes. Before too long, the pair are engaged and making future plans. Though, it's fair to question the validity of this pairing given its quick development. Emily even admits her fondness for Jimmy stems more from a lack of options than love-at-first-sight passion: "Look, you're one of six single guys in this county under 30," Emily tells him. "Thought I'd go on and make my move before you go and get all scooped up."

Not exactly "Romeo and Juliet," especially given this is now the second woman in a row who has aggressively thrown herself at Jimmy — a young man still trying to find his footing in the world. Hopefully, this relationship leads to bigger and better things for the pair, but, considering "Yellowstone's" proclivity for tragedy, their future together appears questionable at best.  

Lloyd and Laramie

As mentioned earlier in our bit about Walker and Laramie, we were quite happy seeing rough 'n ragged ole Lloyd hook up with free spirited barrel racer Laramie. While the age gap between the pair was a little, uh, interesting, the young woman seemed to make the old guy happy, even if the relationship remained more platonic than sexual. 

"Two dances," Lloyd laments to Jimmy whilst catering to Laramie. "Here I'm hauling them to the arena, saddling their horses, sitting in the bleachers, watching them. Now I'm the damn buckle bunny." When Jimmy asks about their intimacy, Lloyd scoffs. "Of course not, she ain't even twenty-five years old. I need a barrel racer in my life like I need another hemorrhoid. And here I am anyway, toting her sh*t around."

That's all talk. Lloyd was smitten. Losing her to Walker likely hurt his heart as much as his hubris, even if Lloyd probably knew Laramie saw him as little more than a fleeting summer romance.  

Colby and Teeter

Colby (Denim Richards) and Teeter's (Jennifer Landon) relationship leans more on comedy than drama, as the latter seems to delight in making her love interest squirm above all else. She continually hounds the reserved ranch hand in front of his fellow bunkmates, telling him to take off his pants and scratch her ears, among other notable flirtations, but that's what makes them so much fun to watch. In fact, after their romance blossomed in Season 3 following a near-death experience, we've been itching to see the duo make their relationship official — even if Colby isn't prone to labels.

While Season 4 mostly veered away from the bunkhouse crew, the few bits we had with Colby and Teeter were telling. At one point, during a card game, he calls her "baby," which seems to melt her heart. "I love it when you call me baby," she responds. 

So do we, Teeter. So do we.

John and Evelyn

We don't know much about Evelyn Dutton (Gretchen Mol) beyond her tragic death and the scattered details shared by her family, but we do know John was absolutely smitten by her. In fact, Beth even contends the best of her father died with Evelyn, who, despite her no-nonsense approach to life and family, provided the moral backbone sorely lacking from the modern-day Dutton clan.

John's love for his wife is revealed prominently in a Season 3 episode in which he shares a story about her while seated around a campfire with Kayce, Monica, Tate and some of the ranch hands. John explains that Evelyn had grown agitated after spending all night cooking biscuits for Kayce. John told her she didn't have to make them, to which she replied, "But if I don't make 'em, I can't watch him eat 'em." Apparently, those were the last words she ever said to John, as she died the next morning while he was branding cattle. After the story, John excuses himself from the campfire and later asks Kayce what the point of it all was if you could love someone and lose them. 

It's genuinely heartbreaking stuff — and we'd welcome a series devoted to the younger days of this elite power couple.  

Kayce and Monica

The longer "Yellowstone" trudges along, the more it feels like Kayce and Monica's troublesome marriage is building toward a terrible end, which is a shame considering the pair have managed to endure despite suffering what feels like a lifetime's worth of pain in their relatively brief time as husband and wife. In Season 3, we see what their relationship looks like sans conflict or turmoil and it's absolutely beautiful, replete with passion, happiness and an abundance of romance. 

Problem is, despite their shared love for each other, Kayce still carries an emotional attachment to his father's ranch he will likely never fully break away from; and Monica's yearning for a life with her husband and son separate from the Dutton family feels more like wishful thinking than an actual possibility. At some point, one of them will have to forego their personal ideology in order to make the marriage work, which doesn't seem feasible at this point in the series. 

We'll enjoy the pair while we can, as the relationship between Kayce and Monica remains one of the more intriguing and engaging aspects of the show. We're just not expecting a happy ending.     

Beth and Rip

Call us sappy all you want, but we're all in on the Beth/Rip train. In fact, if Taylor Sheridan decided to make a spinoff series dedicated specifically to this pair, we'd likely be first in line to watch it. And that's not hyperbole.

"Yellowstone" often gets caught up in its soapy, tragedy-of-the-week plotting, but at its core this is really a series about broken people attempting to salvage what they can from their feeble existence. And so, when embittered, cynical Beth stages an impromptu wedding with cranky ole Rip on the front steps of Dutton Ranch after (playfully) kidnapping a priest, it's all we can do not to weep at the sight of two lonely souls finding an ounce of happiness in each other's arms. This duo has quite literally spilt blood and countless tears for the other. And while one could certainly debate whether or not their violent actions throughout the series warrant a happy ending, we're still willing to hang on to their relationship until the bitter end.