With family funds running dry and evil California vegans closing in on the land, Yellowstone fans are predicting endgame. The series, now in its fifth season, is sure to wrap soon, and the final plot point—who is left with John Dutton’s land—may not be far off. After Episode 4 last weekend, some fans are speculating that creator and writer Taylor Sheridan showed his hand years ago; the writing has long been on the walls. The Yellowstone ranch will end up with one of John’s children, fans think, but not the one we expected.
On Reddit’s Yellowstone fan page, one user believes the final victor will be Jamie. “Who do [the Duttons] always turn to when they need to be bailed out?” this Redditor asks. “Who knows all their secrets? ... Time will tell, but I think if you keep poking an animal and poking and poking, at some point they turn on you and attack with every ounce of their soul.”
The theory alludes to Jamie’s treatment over the course of the show; he’s long been the abusive target of his legal sister Beth. He’s also the escape route for much of the family’s legal problems, a loyal servant with enough knowledge and legal power to ruin them if pushed to the edge. Already in Season 5, we’re seeing this pressure mount. The prodded animal is sure to eventually bite back.
The theory, however, isn’t just psychologically compelling. Many Redditors note the show’s foreshadowing of Jamie’s ascent.
For one, there’s his name—from the Bible and meaning something like “usurper” or “one who supplants”—which signals some future Judas act. It is also a variation of “James,” the name of John Dutton’s great great grandfather who we follow in 1883. Jamie’s own son, named after himself, could bring the story full circle; Jamie could take over the ranch and give it to his own son, James. His son could then give the land away, others note, fulfilling a promise made to the other James Dutton in 1883 by the native tribe that allowed him to settle: in seven generations, they would come to take the land back.
Others point to the foreshadowing in the series’ first episode, when John kills a horse, which many believe symbolizes the land. In that same sequence, Kayce wrangles a stray horse. The theory is that Sheridan foreshadowed the ending of the series in this opening sequence. Kayce is represented by the horse that he must lead away from the others, i.e., leaving the Dutton Ranch. (Kayce’s overall flight from the ranch seems now to be almost complete as he appears to be choosing Tate and Monica over his Dutton duties.) John’s shooting the metaphoric horse also appears to already be in motion this season, as he makes risky decisions that could leave the ranch vulnerable for takeover. In other words: he is killing the land. Rip even compares John’s ascent as Montana governor to the fall of the Roman Empire.
How does Jamie end up with the land? Presumably by some aggressive legal maneuvers. It’s unclear how he avoids the anvil that is Beth Dutton hanging over his head, though Beth seems well on the path to self-destruction anyway.
We like the idea of the land returning to Montana’s tribes by way of Jamie. It would be the final FU to the family that has poked and prodded him for far too long.
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