patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner) finally came clean about the rift between himself and son Kayce (Luke Grimes) on Season 1, Episode 6 (“The Remembering”), which just aired on CBS as part of the network’s encore run of the Paramount Network drama. As new viewers have noticed, Kayce is reluctant to become too involved with his father’s ranch and lifestyle. He instead chooses to live with his wife Monica Long (Kelsey Asbille) and their son Tate (Brecken Merrill) on the Native American reservation. However, recent events have driven Kayce and his family back closer to John and Yellowstone Ranch.
The family stays at the homestead overnight at the end of Episode 5, and Monica stumbles across the ranch hands conducting a branding ceremony in the process. When Monica meets John the next morning, she begins to quiz him about the meaning of the brand, which Kayce also adorns on his chest. “Why do they do it?” Monica asks. “The brand, why do the cowboys do that?”
John responds, “They don’t all do it, just the ones who got a second chance. I guess it’s a way they can prove they can be trusted.”
John is alluding to the fact that many branded ranch hands are criminals who have been trusted to protect the ranch and carry out various misdeeds. Monica then directly asks about Kayce’s brand, which opens a door John wants to remain closed.
“Is that why you did it to Kayce? Monica asks. “You couldn’t trust him?”
John deflects, saying, “I’m afraid that’s a longer conversation.”
Monica continues to push harder, asking to learn this long-standing secret between John and Kayce. “Well if I’m going to be a part of this family, I need to understand it,” Monica says. “I need to understand why he hates you so much.”
John replies, “He disobeyed me one too many times. … He told me he got some girl he barely knew pregnant and he was gonna marry her.”
Monica then realizes that John is referring to her and when she became pregnant with Tate. She seems taken aback that she caused the rift in question, but John then adds another twist to the tale that stings even more. “I told him to take you to the clinic and not let you leave until you had an abortion, but he wouldn’t do it,” John said.
A visually affected Monica then asks if that was why the cowboys branded him, and John reveals that he branded Kayce himself. Despite the shock, Monica then thanks John for his honesty. John then heads back to the main ranch house where Tate is eating breakfast. He looks upon his grandson and seems to have a bit of regret about his past actions.
CBS is currently airing past episodes each Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET. These broadcasts are free to watch if you have a digital antenna. You can also watch them if your cable package includes a local CBS affiliate or via the CBS live stream available within Paramount+.
While airs new episodes on the cable channel Paramount Network, it does not stream on its parent company’s streaming service, Paramount+. Instead, streams on Peacock. All released episodes are currently available there. All the spinoffs stream on Paramount+. (If you don’t have cable, you can also watch Paramount Network via FuboTV.)