'Yellowstone' Season 2: The Duttons make up the classic dysfunctional family with strained relationships and generational politics
The Duttons of Paramount's flagship show are a unique and a dysfunctional family at the center of the series
'Yellowstone' tells the story of the Duttons, an extremely rich family in Montana whose patriarch John Dutton owns the largest contiguous cattle ranch in America. Paramount Network's flagship show follows Kevin Costner as John Dutton, the patriarch who wants to protect his ranch from land developers, neighboring communities and America's first national park. The Duttons go about fighting unsolved murders, open wounds and politics while being constantly in conflict with external forces at their borders.
But a lot of the energy that drives the plot forward on 'Yellowstone' comes from within the Dutton family itself.
Before the show first released last year, when it was only just picked up by Paramount Network, president of development and production at the network Keith Cox had said that the Dutton family is at the center of 'Yellowstone'. Cox had just been brought on board Paramount and he was determined to begin with an explosive show.
"The Paramount studio is famous for 'Godfather' and I wanted a big, dysfunctional, exciting, at-times violent, crazy and complex family show. And that's what this is. It's based in Montana and Taylor [Sheridan, one of the creators of 'Yellowstone'] seems to write these shows based in smaller towns. But the people are much more complex than you think and it's much more interesting. I love the idea of starting with a complex and big family drama," he was reported saying.
Kevin Costner's John Dutton is the father to Luke Grimes' Kayce Dutton, Kelly Reilly's Beth Dutton, Wes Bentley's Jamie Dutton and Dave Annable's Lee Dutton (deceased). With each of his children, Dutton Sr shares a unique relationship. Before he passed away in the first season, John's eldest son Lee had taken up the position of head of security at the ranch. It was doubtless that he'd been chosen to take on the responsibilities. But after he is killed, John struggles to find the person he can trust to carry forward the family and the ranch's legacy.
Bentley's Jamie is out of the question considering how the attorney is concentrating on his campaign. This conclusion isn't easy. The excruciating disagreement between John and Jamie goes on for a long time, which mostly entails Jamie trying to prove that his loyalties lie with John and the ranch, but his father wouldn't listen. To the extent where he warns Jamie to opt out from the campaign and come back to the ranch.
The disagreement comes to shoves when Jamie asks how his father can expect him to give up on his dream, "After everything I've done for you?". "What have you done for me?" John asks him back before aggressively shoving him to the ground.
It comes down to Kayce and Beth – both with contrasting rapports with their father. Kayce had chosen to stay away from the Dutton ranch owing to the fact that he didn't see eye to eye with John. He goes on to become a Navy Seal and live off the ranch at a nearby reservation with his Native American wife Monica Dutton (played by Kelsey Asbille) and their son. He is suffering from PTSD and the events of the first season still have him broken. In addition to this is his strained relationship with Monica. Monica's brother kills Lee, who is in turn killed by Kayce. This stress adds to Kayce and his relationship with John. John wishes Kayce comes back to the ranch with his son and lives with the family. In many ways, John is a better grandfather than he was ever a father.
On the other hand, is Beth Dutton – easily the most messed up person on the show. By far, Beth is the only one of Dutton's children to have shown fierce loyalty to her father and the ranch. Beth leaves no stone unturned and diligently works each task John gives her. But Beth is the most dysfunctional of all following a childhood event – she blames herself for her mother's death and has never been able to get beyond it.
"At the heart of the show is this dysfunctional family, to put it mildly, but the family's growing. The Yellowstone family's growing, and that's where there are complexities that are delving into the human psyche," Danny Huston, who plays the role of the land developer Dan Jenkins, had said in an interview.
The second episode of 'Yellowstone' will air on Wednesday, June 26, 10 pm ET/PT.