Yellowstone Season 1 Episode 2 Recap: "Kill the Messenger" (2023)

Yellowstone Season 1 Episode 2 Recap: "Kill the Messenger" (1)

Season one episode one of Paramount Network’s new one-hour drama Yellowstone drew in 5 million viewers, good enough to earn it the top spot among new summer dramas on broadcast and cable. The first season continues with episode two titled “Kill the Messenger” airing on June 27, 2018.

Episode two begins with John Dutton (Kevin Costner) attempting to tame the wild horse his son, Kayce (Luke Grimes), gave him as a gift. Just when John believes the horse has settled down, it goes over and tosses him off. John decides the best course of action is to get greenhorn Jimmy (Jefferson White) to ride him. Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) tapes Jimmy into the saddle and the ride goes about as expected. The horse does its best to try and buck Jimmy, which it can’t. It’s a rough ride, but John believes it’ll eventually turn Jimmy into a cowboy.

On the reservation, Kayce’s taking out his anger on his tractor and a massive rock. Unable to get the rock to budge, he blows it up while his young son, Tate (Brecken Merrill), watches in awe. Shocked by the blast, Kayce’s wife, Monica (Kelsey Asbille), emerges from the house in just a towel and gives Kayce a piece of her mind.

In one of the episode’s few lighter moments, Kayce and Tate check out the new hole they’ve just created and discover it contains the skeleton of a dinosaur.

In town, Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) meets with Governor Lynelle Perry (Wendy Moniz) and learns that based on the autopsy results it would have been impossible for Lee Dutton (Dave Annable) to have shot Monica’s brother, Robert Long. Robert was executed by an unknown third shooter. There will be a big investigation and right now the evidence is pointing to a coverup by Jamie’s dad. It’s national news and it’ll be difficult to make this go away. Jamie has a week to get this squared away.

Jamie turns to his sister, Beth (Kelly Reilly), for advice but she’s sarcastic and condescending. Still in bed at noon, she teases Jamie that their father won’t love him if he comes out as gay. Jamie, frustrated, says he’s not gay but that’s besides the point. He needed her help and she’s too pissed about being at the ranch to lend a hand.

(Video) Yellowstone Season 1 Episode 2 - RECAP & BREAKDOWN

Jimmy’s still taped to the horse when Jamie seeks a word with his dad. They talk in private about how to keep Kayce from being outed as the killer, and John wants the identity of the agents working the case. He knows one, Reynolds, but not the other, McReary. McReary’s religious and John wants Jamie to find out where he attends church.

The problem remains that the autopsy photos tell the story of an execution that couldn’t have been carried out by Lee. There’s nothing that can be done to change the photos or Lee’s body. Jamie knows they’ll dig up Lee’s body to confirm the autopsy and he wants to beat them to it. John’s having none of this until Jamie describes the five close bullet wounds on Robert’s body. Only Kayce could have done the shooting.

John plops down next to Tate and the dinosaur skeleton in the pit, and they talk about what could have killed it. John describes the area as being underwater all those years ago and maybe a sea shark killed this particular creature. Kayce interrupts to chat with his dad, and John gets straight to the point. He demands the truth, warning him the authorities will twist his story.

Kayce’s unwilling to recount the events of night. However, he does assure his dad Lee’s killer saw his own death coming.

Back at the Yellowstone ranch, Jamie delivers more bad news. The medical examiner has already given Robert Long’s autopsy report to the tribal police. John asks for the medical examiner’s background and Jamie reveals he got caught smoking embalming fluid in Chicago and was let go. Jamie might be able to get his findings ruled inadmissible, but John wants Rip to handle the medical examiner. “I won’t negotiate with a drug addict,” barks John.

At the reservation, Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) and his men look over Robert Long’s autopsy photos. Thomas isn’t convinced Lee shot Robert. If he didn’t, then they have a case against John Dutton. Kayce’s the one person they know was near the scene, but they’re sure Kayce will fall in line with his family when push comes to shove.

(Video) YELLOWSTONE Season 1 Explained - Recap & Breakdown

After what seems like a full workday, Jimmy’s finally cut free from the saddle. His legs buckle and he can barely stand, but the pain paid off because Rip’s able to ride the horse.

As Rip leaves the stables, Beth says she’s willing to go on a date with him but not a music festival. (That was his suggestion in episode one.) He suggests getting drunk and watching wolves kill elk in a park. Beth’s an instant yes to that suggestion.

John hits the rodeo and meets with Carl Reynolds to ask him to get his son to change his story about seeing another man with Lee’s body. Carl agrees to do whatever John needs him to do.

John confesses to Beth he’s considering having Lee’s body cremated. He doesn’t want to, but Beth reminds him Kayce was always her mother’s favorite. Before she died, they promised to always protect Kayce.

John meets with Father Bob (John Aylward), confessing he’s there to collect on an old debt. John asks Father Bob to deliver a sermon that will convince Aaron McReary not to provide information about what he saw the day of Lee’s murder. Father Bob agrees and talks to his congregation about the 9th Commandment. He explains the Commandment is about protecting your flock and your shepherds. Father Bob uses his sermon to remind his congregation not to speak against their neighbors or destroy their reputations or their families.

The camera zooms in to catch Aaron McReary’s face, and he’s clearly absorbing the message being delivered. After the service is over, Aaron and Father Bob have a private talk.

(Video) Yellowstone Season 5 Episode 2 Recap: Grown-Up Carter, Dead Wolves, and a John Dutton Flashback

Meanwhile, Kayce calls his old commander and tells him he’s considering re-enlisting. He’s assured he can get his spot back on the team.

Yellowstone Season 1 Episode 2 Recap: "Kill the Messenger" (2)

Kayce and Monica are driving to pick up their son from school when Monica confirms she’s upset Kayce’s thinking of re-upping. She doesn’t understand why he’d even think about doing such a thing. He’s about to confess to shooting her brother when a building they’re driving by (in the middle of nowhere) explodes.

Kayce assumes it was a meth lab and rushes over to see if there’s anyone he can help. He finds a man who’s barely alive and has devastating burns all over his body. The man asks Kayce to kill him and Kayce does, believing it’s the humane thing to do.

Kayce and Monica wait for the reservation police and when they arrive, Thomas Rainwater and his men agree not to take any action. Instead, Thomas orders Kayce to accompany him to wash off the evil.

Seated around a fire, they discuss their fathers and choosing sides. As Kayce prepares to enter the sweat ceremony, Thomas explains that what Kayce will see will be a map of his future. However, he’s still free to make other choices and take different paths.

John and Jamie accompany John’s men, who’ve dug up Lee’s coffin into a building. They destroy the casket and burn it with Lee’s body in an incinerator.

(Video) Yellowstone Season 1 Episode 1 - RECAP & BREAKDOWN

As Kayce’s driving home from the sweat ceremony he sees a wolf in the highway and honks for an oncoming truck to slow down. It doesn’t, and the wolf is crushed.

The medical examiner’s preparing embalming fluid to smoke when Rip arrives at his office. He attacks Rip, but Rip easily gets the best of him. Rip has him pull the oxygen hose out of the wall and then forces him to place tools on a metal tray. The tray is then placed in the microwave. Rip grabs the medical examiner’s laptop and finishes the job of killing the medical examiner before zapping the tools to make the place catch on fire. It will look like a suicide to the police.

Kayce finally makes it back home later that evening. He’s ready to confess, again, but Monica makes him promise to stay. “There is nothing you can do I won’t forgive you for,” she says. Kayce replies, “Yeah, there is,” before leaving the living room to read a book to his son in bed. Kayce and Tate discuss plans for their dinosaur skeleton as Monica cries while eavesdropping.

John scatters Lee’s ashes on his deceased wife’s grave, telling her he brought her some company. He kisses his fingers and gently touches her headstone as he walks away.

More on Yellowstone:

  • Yellowstone Series Review
  • Preview of Yellowstone Starring Kevin Costner
  • Recap of Episode 3 “No Good Horses”
  • Recap of Episode 4 “The Long Black Train”
  • Recap of Episode 6 “The Remembering”
  • Recap of Episode 7 “A Monster Among Us”
  • Recap of Episode 8 “The Unravelling: Part 1”
  • Recap of Episode 9 “The Unravelling: Part 2”


Yellowstone Season 1 Episode 2 Recap: "Kill the Messenger"? ›

John confesses to Beth he's considering having Lee's body cremated. He doesn't want to, but Beth reminds him Kayce was always her mother's favorite. Before she died, they promised to always protect Kayce. John meets with Father Bob (John Aylward), confessing he's there to collect on an old debt.

What was the medical examiner doing in Yellowstone? ›

Patrick Monteith is the medical examiner in Bozeman, Montana and a known pot smoker. He discovered how Robert Long was killed and confirmed the death as an execution.

Why does Rip kill the coroner? ›

Wham Shot: To prove just how far the family is willing to go to protect one of their own, John has Rip knock out a medical examiner (albeit one who is a clear Death Seeker) and leave him to burn in his office, expunging the report on Robert Long's death and destroying all the evidence in the process.

Who did Kayce kill in Yellowstone season 1 Episode 2? ›

Lee got caught in the crossfire and received a fatal gunshot wound from Robert Long, Kayce's brother-in-law. While Kayce tried to stop Long from shooting Lee again, he was too late to save his brother. In return, Kayce shot Long and killed him.

Who did Rip kill in season 1 Episode 2? ›

In season 1, episode 2 “Kill the Messenger” Rip Wheeler heads to meet the doctor. In order to protect Kacye and the Dutton's family name, Rip strangles Patrick after threatening him. The facility then burns down, taking the slain doctor and all the evidence with it.

Whose body was incinerated in Yellowstone? ›

So, the Duttons had Lee's body cremated to protect Kayce and ensure that his involvement with Robert's death won't come to light.

Does Monica know Kayce killed her brother? ›

Throughout the series, Monica is kept unaware of her brother's death early on, and after his widow commits suicide in what Monica considers a sacrifice for their children's welfare, she expresses to Kayce that she feels they ought to consider leaving the reservation to spare Tate the sadness of his cousins moving to ...

Is Rip Wheeler a serial killer? ›

Rip is basically a serial killer who does hits for John Dutton. Beth herself explained that she's OK with the Duttons murdering everyone. As such, John Dutton has been the “perfect” person to understand Rip and his past, and give him a new lease on life.

Why did Rip Wheeler kill the medical examiner? ›

In season one, Rip kills a medical examiner working on the case of the deaths of Lee Dutton and Robert Long. To protect Kayce and the Dutton dynasty, he makes the examiner's death look like a lab accident. Rip is also responsible for the death of Roarke Morris, a rancher, and stockholder for Market Equities.

Did Rip kill his father or stepfather? ›

While his brother lay dead on the floor and Rip had been knocked unconscious, Rip regained consciousness and saw his father was stabbing his mother. Rip was too late to save anyone but himself when he cracked his father's skull with a frying pan, killing him.

Why did Kayce kill in Yellowstone? ›

Kayce Pulls the Trigger in Season 1

In the firefight that plays out, Kayce murders his own brother-in-law because of what happened to his brother, and it sets him up for a season of lying to his wife and pretending like he is someone worthy of forgiveness for it.

What did John Dutton do to Kayce? ›

John branded his son Kayce (Luke Grimes) as punishment for when Kayce left the ranch to be with Monica (Kelsey Asbille), back when she got pregnant with Tate (Brecken Merrill). Kayce has since forgiven his father for what he did.

What happened to John Dutton's first son? ›

John Dutton III and Evelyn's first child, Lee (Dave Annable) was killed in the first season of Yellowstone after he was shot during a confrontation with the neighboring Broken Rock Reservation.

Who did rip kill with the snake? ›

Roarke, not knowing who Rip was, denied it being his cooler, but Rip persisted as he shook the cooler around and in range, he opened it up to Roarke, revealing a rattlesnake, which bit Roarke in the face. Roarke then quickly succumbed to the venom and died as Rip stood over him to make sure he was dead.

What did the kid do to Beth on Yellowstone? ›

Scared to tell her father or Rip about her pregnancy, Beth asked her brother instead. Jamie takes her to an abortion clinic. There, Jamie gets informed that the only way to perform the abortion is for Beth to undergo sterilization.

Who did Kayce kill in Yellowstone season 1 Episode 1? ›

In that clash, Kayce ends up killing Monica's brother. He does not reveal himself to be the killer, which puts him under stress. Having to lie to Monica about his brother's death persuades Kayce to join the army again, but his father and Monica stop him from doing so.

Why did John Dutton have his son cremated? ›

But John Dutton used it to dispose of his son's body in a legally convenient way. By doing so, he destroyed any evidence that could contradict his version of events, and prevented any possibility of exhuming Lee's body for another autopsy. And that's why the Dutton family cremated Lee's body in the show “Yellowstone”.

Why did Kayce shoot his brother? ›

Lee was killed in the season one premiere when he tried to recover the stolen cattle and got caught in the crossfire, prompting Kayce to attack and kill his brother-in-law, Robert Long, who was Lee's killer.

Whose ashes did John Dutton put on his wife's grave? ›

The episode ends with John scattering Lee's newly cremated ashes at John's wife's grave.

What happened to Kayce and Monica's baby? ›

Monica loses her baby after a terrible car crash.

Monica and Kayce seemed committed to starting their own way of life outside of the ranch.

Does Monica divorce Kayce? ›

Yellowstone season 5: Kayce and Monica Dutton split 'sealed' as Luke Grimes confirms ranch.

Why is Monica so mad at Kayce? ›

Throughout her recovery from brain surgery, Monica and Kayce had a rocky relationship. Monica doesn't approve of Kayce's relationship with his father John, and fears for her and their son Tate's safety.

Is Rip John Dutton's son? ›

Rip is the unofficially adopted son of John Dutton. In flashbacks, Rip was revealed to have fled to the ranch after his mother and brother got murdered by his stepdad. Rip killed his stepdad, but the wounds of not saving his family left an indelible mark on him.

Does Rip get mad at Beth? ›

The next morning, Beth is feeling guilty over her intimacy with the troublemaker, whom Rip loathes. “I'm sorry, Rip,” she apologizes. “I'm sorry I did that to you.” This is where Rip, who's not the least bit angry with her, tells Beth that she never has to apologize to him.

What did Lloyd do to rip? ›

He keeps calling Rip “little orphan boy,” which upsets both Lloyd and Rip. Rip eventually tackles the old ranch hand to the ground and starts beating him with a broken-off chair leg. The other ranch hands pull Rip off and hold him. But before Rip can get beat up, Lloyd steps in and puts a gun to the ranch hand's head.

Did John give rip the ranch? ›

In the finale of season two, John gives Beth a letter that says he accepts Rip as a son and that he's also gifting Rip a house on the ranch. Viewers are taken aback as they witness Rip cry and become emotional for the first and only time in the series.

What did Beth text rip before she was attacked? ›

Rip saving Beth's life

She manages to get a text sent to Rip saying "office help" just before they start savagely beating her and her assistant, Jason.

Why did Rip kill the bear? ›

Officer Charlotte Skyles is a Fish and Wildlife Officer sent to Yellowstone Dutton Ranch sent to investigate the death of a bear, which was on the endangered species list, whom Rip Wheeler killed in self defense even while attempting to save two Chinese tourists who fell to their deaths.

Why did Jamie's dad kill his mom? ›

Garrett became furious that Jamie was in such a dangerous situation. In a fit of rage, Garrett murdered Phyllis for putting Jamie's life in danger. Garrett was sentenced to 30 years in jail for murdering Phyllis and Jamie was adopted by John and Evelyn Dutton.

Why do John and Kayce hate each other? ›

It is later revealed that part of what drove them apart was that Kayce got Monica pregnant and they planned to keep the baby. That is when John forced Kayce to take the brand. Before the series, he was an ex-Navy SEAL who settled on the Broken Rock Reservation with his wife Monica and son Tate.

Was Kayce supposed to kill Walker? ›

Rip's actions were ultimately Rip's fault

As viewers will recall, Kayce (Luke Grimes) was supposed to take Walker "to the train station" (aka kill him) in Season 2, after the singer saw Rip help Jamie cover up a murder.

What did Kayce tell Monica he saw in Yellowstone? ›

Facing trouble in either path, Kayce told Monica that he “saw the end of us.” This clearly meant that it's time for Kayce to choose between his two lives: being a Dutton and being a member of the Broken Rock Indian Reservation.

What is the Dutton family secret? ›

Beth finally learns another deep family secret: John Dutton has been chucking corpses on the Montana border for years; in fact, the episode began with a young Rip (Kyle Red Silverstein), who at the urging of a young John Dutton (Josh Lucas), discards the body of a cowboy who got a little too lippy about his beloved ...

Is Kayce Dutton John Dutton's biological son? ›

John's biological children include Lee Dutton (Dave Annable), Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly), and Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes). Lee passed away at the beginning of the series, while Beth, another fierce and devoted Dutton woman, is now married to Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser), who has assumed the role of dedicated Yellowstone ...

Why did Beth's mom hate her? ›

It's no secret that throughout her appearance in Yellowstone, Beth's mother, Evelyn Dutton was tough on her. It led to many fans thinking that she hated her. However, that doesn't seem to be the case at all. It turns out she was hard on her because she wanted to toughen her up.

How is Spencer Dutton related to John Dutton? ›

Spencer Dutton

The younger brother of John Dutton Sr. (and the youngest child of 1883's James and Margaret Dutton, born after that show's conclusion) Spencer served in WWI and remains haunted by his experiences.

Does John Dutton have a half brother? ›

John Dutton's mother and father would never have another child, which means that unless there is another late brother or sister we've never heard of, John is an only child. The death of a sibling is common in the Yellowstone franchise.

Who was John Dutton's favorite son? ›

Lee may have initially been the favorite, but Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes) was the prodigal son. John probably didn't react in the best way when he branded him with the Yellowstone 'Y' after Kayce told him that he was in love with a pregnant Monica Long (Kelsey Asbille), but time heals all wounds.

Did Yellowstone kill off rip? ›

We do know, however, that as of the end of Season 4, Rip Wheeler is alive and well, and going into Season 5, he'll be living his life with Beth Dutton, his lady love, at his side.

Do they kill off rip? ›

Yellowstone fans can rest assured that popular character Rip Wheeler won't be going anywhere in upcoming episodes of the show. MORE: Yellowstone season 5's return and will there be season 6? Cole Hauser, the 47-year-old actor who plays him, has responded to rumours that he is being killed off in season five.

Does Beth sleep with Roarke? ›

In Sunday's Season 3 premiere of Yellowstone, new cast member Josh Holloway's Roarke Morris was only trying to catch some fish. Instead, he wound up getting hooked himself — by Beth.

Does Rip know Beth is sterile? ›

Does Beth Tell Rip She Can't Have Kids? Though she is scared it will change things between her and Rip, Beth does tell him that she is unable to have children. Rip assures her that the fact she can't have children doesn't change how he feels about her.

Do Beth and Rip adopt Carter? ›

She adopted a son (Carter) after finally marrying Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) in season four.

Who all did Jamie kill on Yellowstone? ›

In Season 2 Jamie accidentally murdered New York Magazine journalist Sarah Nguyen (Michaela Conlin) and enlisted Rip (Cole Hauser) to make it look like Sarah just decided to go kayaking one day…. in professional clothes apparently.

Why is Monica mad at Kayce season1? ›

In the first season, Monica didn't want to move onto the Dutton ranch with Kayce because of the danger the family posed to her and their son, Tate, which was borne out later when their son had to shoot a contract killer who was choking the life out of Monica.

What did they do with Lees body? ›

Lee's body was cremated to hide evidence that could somehow link Kayce to the death of Monica's brother. Once Lee Dutton's body was nothing but ashes in the wind, his name drifted away with it.

What did Walker witness on Yellowstone? ›

Walker also ends up being sent to the Yellowstone train station per request of Rip after he accidentally witnesses Jamie commit murder.

Why was Lee killed off on Yellowstone? ›

Lee was killed in the season one premiere when he tried to recover the stolen cattle and got caught in the crossfire, prompting Kayce to attack and kill his brother-in-law, Robert Long, who was Lee's killer.

Is Elsa buried on the Dutton ranch? ›

Yellowstone fans know that Duttons have been buried in the same spot in Montana for over a century. The Dutton family cemetery makes more sense after 1883 revealed that Elsa was the first person to be buried on the land.

What did Beth Dutton do to her mother? ›

Following her mother's death, Beth starts having a terrible time in life. It seems she is blaming herself for everything that happened that day. She feels guilty about the accident and, at one point, even believes that she killed her mother by “being scared” when they went horseback riding that time.

Why did John Dutton cremate his son? ›

By doing so, he destroyed any evidence that could contradict his version of events, and prevented any possibility of exhuming Lee's body for another autopsy. And that's why the Dutton family cremated Lee's body in the show “Yellowstone”.

Who is buried on the Dutton ranch in Yellowstone? ›

Indeed, Yellowstone rarely reveals the names of those buried in the ranch, which, apart from Patience, also includes 1883's Margaret Dutton and John Dutton's wife Evelyn. Like these women, Patience could have also played a huge role in the history of the ranch.

Does Kayce know Jamie is adopted? ›

In the third series, Jamie says to Kayce: "I need some advice, brother... If I can still call you that." Kayce then replies: "Until the day you die, you better never call me anything else." This shows Kayce does know about Jamie not being his biological sibling but is accepting of him anyway.


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