10 Best Yellowstone Episodes, Ranked
2023/11/05

has become one of the most popular TV series, with some episodes standing out as the pinnacle of 21st-century Western television. The series follows the wealthy John Dutton, the head of a family that's been settled on the Yellowstone Ranch in Montana for generations. explores the family dynamics of the Dutton family as they contend with various threats to the ownership of their property, ranging from neighboring landowners, a Native American reservation, and a major corporation seeking to build an airport.

The series was created by writer Taylor Sheridan, who quickly worked on expanding the universe into multiple spin-offs, such as

and . The year 2024 will see the final stretch of with season 5, part 2. In the five existing seasons, Sheridan has constructed some unbelievable television, creating moments of action, political intrigue, drama, and romance that have distinguished certain episodes as the best.

10 Daybreak

The first episode of sets the stage for the series, introducing audiences to the Dutton family and their ranch. The series immediately jumps into drama with the Broken Rock Reservation over a cow dispute, leading to the death of John Dutton's eldest son, Lee. Season 1 is one of the worst seasons of , but the messy start importantly establishes the dynamics of the series, as the absence of Lee creates a need for the other Dutton children to fill in and help out.

9 The Long Black Train

The early episodesintroduce the Yellowstone branding, but it isn't until "The Long Black Train" that viewers understand what the branded ranchers actually do. The branded are responsible for doing the dirty work, handling trouble, and dropping it off at "the train station." The episode also explores Kayce's relationship with violence and dives deeper into his past, better-introducing audiences to one of . The scenes between Beth and Dan Jenkins are also pretty funny, with the whole episode helping ingratiate the audience to Taylor Sheridan's world.

8 The Unravelling

The season 1 two-part finale sees the Duttons handling their first major conflict and also provides some interesting backstory into the life of the beloved Rip Wheeler. The finale explores how Rip killed his abusive father and made his way to the Yellowstone ranch, becoming eternally loyal to John Dutton. "The Unravelling" also sees Jamie building toward his first serious betrayal of the family, as he disobeys John and decides to run for Attorney General regardless. It's not as exciting as later season finales, but it sets up conflicts that persist throughout the series.

7 Blood The Boy

Jamie has his ups and downs throughout the series, but "Blood the Boy" is a crucially low point, as he's backed into a corner and kills a reporter so she won't leak the things he's revealed to her about the Dutton family. In his moment of anger and insecurity, Jamie made mistakes and revealed incriminating information, and it's the reporter Sarah who pays for it with her life. Love him or hate him, it's hard not to pity Jamie in the episode where his flashbacks are revealed, showing how he was initially alienated from the family by John.

6 Half The Money

Season 4 is one of the , but it started strong with its opening episodes. The season 4 premiere, "Half the Money," sees the long-awaited fallout of the explosive season 3 finale, picking up after the events that would nearly claim the lives of the Dutton family. The episode also introduces the season's mystery of who put out the hit on them, and Beth meets Carter for the first time outside the hospital.

5 Enemies By Monday

Season 2's "Enemies by Monday" has two vital climactic moments, with Tate being abducted and Jimmy getting revenge for the needless killing of his grandfather. The best scene in the episode, however, is Beth coming to Monica's aid in a clothing store. After Monica has been accused of stealing, Beth comes to her aid and brutally berates the saleswoman for her racism. It's one of Beth's best moments in the show, whether she was doing it to protect Monica or simply out of her own sense of morals.

4 Meaner Than Evil

The penultimate episode of season 3 has some great moments for the bunkhouse crew, as Ryan, Colby, and Teeter finally get branded. The bunkhouse characters help provide a necessary levity to the soap opera dramatics of the Dutton family, making them beloved supporting characters. They assist Rip in catching Wade and Clint, the men hired by Roarke to stir up trouble on the ranch, and Wade ends up having a gruesome death after his Yellowstone branding is cut off his body. The episode also sees Jamie meeting his biological father, Garrett Randall, for the first time.

3 Resurrection Day

"Resurrection Day" has some of the , with the highlight of the episode being the assault on Beth's office by the Beck brothers' armed men. Luckily, Rip shows up in time to save Beth, though she puts up a good fight on her own. The man steps through oncoming gunfire to save his would-be wife, but she's already suffered through a traumatic moment. The season 2 episode is about as dark as gets, showing how violent things will be for them.

2 Sins Of The Father

The confrontation with the Beck brothers sees the Dutton family in their most brutal, dangerous rivalry in the series.

The Beck brothers are willing to cross any line to get what they want, and the season 2 finale sees the Yellowstone Ranch team delivering the final blow to their enemy in a satisfying way. It's a great Rip episode, as he has one of his most tender moments with John Dutton and also saves the day by riding in on horseback and drawing fire during the final battle.

1 The World Is Purple

The season 3 finale is the most epic episode of the series, concluding with a major attack on the Duttons. The shocking ending culminated best season and left audiences worried about the lives of their favorite characters for months.

Beth's office is assaulted (again), this time through a mailed explosive, Kayce is attacked with gunfire in his office, and John Dutton is shot multiple times after stopping to help someone on the side of the road.

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