Fear of death is for the weak. Real men just ride, even when it plunges straight off a cliff.
[Editor’s Note: The following review contains spoilers for “Yellowstone” Season 4, through Episode 6, “I Want To be Him.”]
“Yellowstone” is a simple program. John Dutton (Kevin Costner) is a cattle rancher during the Impossible Beef Age, a climbing bacterium that survives when Mountain West’s fastest-growing export is Mountain West’s idea, brought to you by a The entertainment industry is booming, Carhartt’s workwear and TV shows like “Yellowstone”. Each season introduces a larger wolf with designs on how to seriously pump money from the land the Duttons have worked on since they stole it from the Native Americans, often by expanding it. “You’re an Indian now,” John’s Native American daughter-in-law told him at the beginning of Season 3. Meanwhile, Crow Indians, with a monopoly on building luxury resorts anchored by casinos glittering silver, was in disarray with the next wave of gold diggers arriving in the Rockies. Ancient land taken by greedy new hands: It’s the oldest tale told of the American West, but creator Taylor Sheridan can reimagine late-stage capitalism’s enemy: the developer land development, private equity, well-known sector. It’s not just John’s ranch that’s at stake, it’s his way of life.
Some shows diverged over the years, evolving into different shows, but “Yellowstone” doesn’t allow for multiple narrative paths in itself. When the series premiered in 2018, it was the first hit show set in contemporary Mountain West since “Dynasty” took Denver (or, as a friend who grew up in Bozeman calls Colorado, ” Walmart Montana.”) The vast Yellowstone Ranch was no longer ‘just the setting of the series’ but its standard measure: The world was only as pure as Yellowstone was the solvent. Every elegiac season, the Duttons can’t win, but for what? The farm can’t exist in the modern world, John can’t exist without the farm, and no one watches “Yellowstone” without Kevin Costner. Instead of evolving, the series, currently in the midst of its fourth season, is getting more cheeky: The skirmishes in the cottage are more intense, Beth’s corporate raid is stronger, and the body count, infinity, higher. With daughter living with fiancé Rip (Cole Hauser), son Kayce (Luke Grimes) returning to the sanctuary, and son Jamie (Wes Bentley) estranged, the little patriarch’s longest-running relationship is Our talk is with his horse (although Costner doesn’t actually speak, forming words with his mouth and rinsing his mouth out of small stones). The series spans the inevitable death – literally, metaphorically and spiritually. On “Yellowstone” we have said over and over that the end is only a matter of when.
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The season’s new storylines are sensational if disconnected from the show’s central theme. For example, Beth (Kelly Reilly) makes no connection with a teenage orphan from the wrong side of the track. She brought him in – a prop for the son she and Rip might have had if she hadn’t had an abortion as a teenager, the series suggests – only to banish the boy to the barn as an object. Play is broken when he asks her. to buy him more clothes than she offered. It’s an exploration of Beth’s maternal instincts, suppressed after being forcibly sterilized at a reserved clinic, and limiting her ability to keep a secret. Meanwhile, on some other farm, Jamie is living with his biological father – who orchestrated assassination plots against the family that raised him – and is unexpectedly reunited with his lost son. forgot that he was his father in Season 2. “Yellowstone” was never mentioned. Its soap operas do well, but there’s chaos to this season’s revelations. Anytime, I’m willing to learn that Jamie isn’t really Jamie, but Jamie’s evil twin brother, who everyone thinks is dead and so is never mentioned. From week to week, I can’t remember which cowboys are vying for which barrel racer, but I know they will. When John brings home a scathing protester (played by Piper Perabo), the trusty Beth pulls a knife at her. Montana’s travel tagline makes for a useful tagline for this season’s recursive storyline: “The adventure continues” — but it rarely changes.
More than ever on “Yellowstone,” machismo is celebrated. After a bloodbath in the Season 3 finale, John wakes up from a months-long coma and quickly ignores any medical advice – a decision that produced no negative consequences and at least one imitation. . When Jimmy dropped his neck brace to impress a smug horse dealer, his stupidity struck like a rite of passage. When I became a real tough cowboy, I let go of the childish things. For everything Sheridan is protesting that “Yellowstone” isn’t a show for the red, it’s impressive that being rogue means ignoring your doctor in 2021. (Sheridan even plays the cowboy telling Jimmy that cervical traction didn’t really match his truck’s caiman alligator leather upholstery.)
Increasingly, my favorite scenes are scenes of boys riding horses in the open sky. The practice still doesn’t make much sense to me, but Sheridan has accomplished something more impressive than explaining rodeos to a layman. As a viewer, I just trust him. If he could just give me a slip stop, that would be a good one. If he were to say that a livestock commissioner would bury a commoner under a cattle guard to teach him good manners – and stay away from it – well, the west must really be wild. “Are you trying to die?” Kayce asks her father in an early episode of Season 4, when he goes horseback riding after being discharged from the hospital. The answer must be yes. The only justification for all the recklessness on the farm is the constant knowledge that death is inevitable and near. John was an Indian, but he was also a bandit, border guard, and vigilante. Doing exactly what you want when others tell you no is how a man like John made his final stand.
Courtesy of Paramount Network / ViacomCBS
Like its characters, “Yellowstone” is a show that leaves much to be said. The effect can be very profound. It can also be confusing. The kid in the barn that Beth dumped? His name is Carter, although everyone calls him “the boy”, and in Episode 5, he declares that he wants to be John when he grows up: strict, muscular, ruthless. Except soon there will be no more cattle ranchers in the valley. Even as Carter spoke, John was walking up the hill and toward the horizon. The land will not save the Carters of this world. He will grow up to be another homeless cowboy, just like Rip. Like John. Yellowstone could not be saved, and there was no hope of another joining the fight to save it.
Unless, yes. The sun rises as Carter delivers on his pledge, the music is in full swing, and no American idea is more indelible than fighting the good, hopeless war until it shatters. your heart. “Are you trying to die?” an obedient son asked the last really tough cowboy in America. If you’ve watched “Yellowstone” for four seasons, you’ll understand its intrinsic logic – the eerie alchemy of horses, masculinity, and silence that have cured these ranch-loving men. Of course, he wasn’t trying to die. He’s trying to live. Everything else is trying to kill him.
“Yellowstone” Season 4 airs new episodes at 8 p.m. Sunday on Paramount Network.
https://www.indiewire.com/2021/12/yellowstone-season-4-review-paramount-kevin-costner-1234684088/ ‘Yellowstone’ Season 4 has men’s heroes fighting their own death