What are the best Jamie Dutton episodes in Yellowstone? If you’re like us, each and every time you find yourself having to think about the most morally confused Dutton, you find your soul dying a little. The faux Dutton child has lost and found his loyalty several times over and has effectively lost the goodwill of audiences everywhere.
In Yellowstone, Jamie Dutton is the Judas of the wealthy ranching family. As the adopted son of John Dutton, Jamie spends most of his time in the mainline Yellowstone series thinking of ways he can one-up his family, failing and then crawling back for forgiveness.
In the Yellowstone cast, Jamie is played by Wes Bentley, and brilliantly so. It takes a talented actor to truly inspire hate, and in this case, Bentley’s ability to make Jamie this despicable is one of the many elements that make Yellowstone one of the best TV series around. In his honor, these are the best Yellowstone episodes that center around Jamie Dutton. (Warning: major Yellowstone spoilers ahead!)
Yellowstone season 1 episode 1: Daybreak
You could probably pick the pilot episode of Yellowstone as being the most effective episode for any character since they’re all introduced so well. But when it comes to Jamie, it’s instantly clear as to where he stands, and brilliantly establishes his relationship with the other members of the Dutton family. The first episode is a lengthy 93 minutes long, essentially making it a Yellowstone movie.
It’s an opportunity to see Jamie’s biting interactions with Beth Dutton before they become too hateful to bear, as well as seeing him at the peak of his use as the ranch’s attorney. But the best moment comes in a peaceful scene in which he, Kayce, Lee, and Tate have taken time to go fishing. As they sit by the river and eat, Jamie and Lee talk to Kayce about introducing Tate to the world of the ranch a little more.
When Tate gets aggressive with Lee (who throws some rocks at Kayce), the three Dutton brothers are finally able to laugh and share a sense of camaraderie that will never come again after this moment. How bittersweet.
Yellowstone season 2 episode 6: Blood the Boy
Jamie can be one of the most emotionally complicated characters. Often, we’re unsure whether his decisions are based on logic or emotion, and viewers can be left grappling to understand why he does the inexplicable things he does. This episode is one that seems solely dedicated to providing insight into why Jamie is who he is.
The episode begins with a flashback in which a young Jamie and John are working on the ranch. Jamie asks John what he can do to help protect the legacy of the Dutton ranch, and John tells him to become “a lawyer.” Although Jamie seems put off by the idea of moving so far away, especially since John doesn’t respect lawyers, John assures him that he will need Jamie to do this for him and the ranch.
It’s the guiding force behind the rest of Jamie’s career and life. Back in the main Yellowstone timeline, Jamie is struggling to keep his revelations to a journalist under wraps. He revealed some malicious information to her back when he was trying to oust John, and now she wants to go to print. He arranges to meet her in the woods, and when she rejects his pleas to keep the story hidden, he slams her head into the car door and strangles her.
It’s a moment driven by rage, panic, and sheer desperation. Jamie has spent most of his life trying to be of value to John and the ranch. Clearly trapped by his own mistake, Jamie does the only thing he can think to do: kill. (It’s not the first time one of the Duttons have taken the life of another.) It’s an episode that really examines how far Jamie has been pushed and how anguished he has become in order to repent for past errors. Plus, it’s a killer performance from Bentley.
Yellowstone season 3 episode 1: You’re the Indian Now
Let’s be honest, Yellowstone season 2 was wild. It ended with Tate being kidnapped and held by a militia group and the Yellowstone crew swooping in, killing everyone and bringing him back. (It’s one of the best drama series for a reason, you know.) The pressure was on for the season 3 opener, and it certainly delivered. The Dutton family is reeling from the dramatic events of the season prior, so some slates need to be wiped clean.
Jamie, who had been banished to living in the bunker up until now, is handed a suit by John and told to accompany him to a meeting with Governor Perry. It’s like watching a retired superhero being handed their cape once again, except instead of an actual superhero, it’s just… Jamie. But seeing him suited and booted once more, ready to throw himself back into the world of legal ammunition, is rather satisfying.
When John steps down as Livestock Commissioner to avoid a political mess, he appoints Jamie in the role. While Jamie’s reputation in the family is still tarnished from his earlier betrayals, there’s a sense that he genuinely wants to repent.
During his last night in the bunkhouse, he’s caught in a strange game with the rest of the ranch hands in which they spin themselves around and lurch themselves forward. Jamie hurts himself badly but laughs it off. Perhaps he enjoys the pain. Perhaps he thinks he deserves it. Either way, this episode marks a major turning point for Jamie, as well as the rest of the Duttons.
Yellowstone season 3 episode 7: The Beating
As the series goes on, Taylor Sheridan tries to one-up himself each time with a brand new twist of drama. In the past, it’s been dinosaur bones, exploding meth labs, and child kidnappings. This time, it’s adoption papers. If you’ve always wondered why Jamie seems like the black sheep of the family, this episode would have had you going, “Ah…that makes sense.”
When Jamie has to provide proof of identity, he winds up in the statehouse records office, where the woman behind the counter reveals that he’s adopted. Jamie, obviously, denies this. Until she shows him the proof. That’s right — everyone’s least favorite Dutton isn’t a Dutton at all! Small blessings. This changes everything we thought we knew about Jamie and everything we thought he knew about himself.
His entire life has been spent protecting the legacy of a family that isn’t even his own. All the sacrifices he’s made, all the punishments he’s inflicted upon himself and had inflicted upon him…it was all under the guise of a life that was, for him, a lie. Naturally, Jamie doesn’t take well to this news at all. The most important scene in the episode comes in the climax, in which Jamie confronts John, who remains oddly calm.
Although Jamie’s big discovery might not be surprising to those who are partial to a good soap opera every now and again — and, let’s face it, Yellowstone is basically a ranch opera — it’s still a major turning point for a character who’s had the lowest lows and some pretty mid highs.
Yellowstone season 4 episode 10: Grass on the Streets and Weeds on the Rooftops
Season 4 is arguably one of the weaker seasons for Jamie since most of it is spent on his new ranch with his birth father, talking politics. Jamie’s running against John for Governor, so many of these episodes lack a little of the spice that we’ve become used to at this point. But the finale episode does offer some respite since Jamie, try as he might, just can’t escape the grasp of the Duttons.
When Beth uncovers the truth behind the attempted assassination of her, John, and Kayce, she goes to Jamie and threatens him. Of course, this is Beth we’re talking about. It’s not just any threat. She gives him three options, all of which cause him to lose something, be it his reputation, life, or new family. Jamie, realizing he’s caught between a rock and a hard, hard place, goes back to his home and shoots his birth father dead.
While Jamie’s later disposing of the body at the ‘train station’, Beth takes pictures of him in the act. Let’s not sugarcoat it: this was the moment when Jamie knew he was well and truly f*cked. As dire as the situation may now be for Jamie, it makes for great television. Jamie has spent many a season trying to get out from under the Duttons. Just when he thinks he has a steady new position, he becomes trapped again by a loyalty to his old family.
If you can’t get enough Yellowstone, check out our list of the 10 shows like Yellowstone to watch next and the 6 best Taylor Sheridan TV series and movies. We’ve also got guides on all the upcoming installments, such as the 6666 release date and Yellowstone season 5 part 2 release date. You can also get to know the 1923 cast and 1883 cast for the rest of the Dutton family.
What’s more, we’ve got features on why Dallas ran so Yellowstone could fly and why the Western has always been a genre for women, too. And if you want to see what else is out there, take a look at everything new on Paramount Plus this month.