We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

The 10 best Yellowstone episodes

Yellowstone is undoubtedly one of the best drama series around. Here, we've picked the best episodes when it comes to the Dutton family.

The best Yellowstone episodes offer something for everyone. Jaw-dropping action, sizzling tension, and all the cowboy antics you could wish for.

And although we’ll soon have to say goodbye to Yellowstone, we’ll always be able to re-watch (what we think is) the best drama series again and again. In a way, revisiting the Yellowstone cast will be the only way we can get closure on the cancelation of the best TV series around, so to pay tribute to our ranching overlords, here are our picks for the best episodes of the mainline Yellowstone series.

Best Yellowstone episodes: The cast of Yellowstone season 1 episode 1

Yellowstone season 1 episode 1: Daybreak

The first episode is a lengthy 93 minutes long, essentially making it a Yellowstone movie. But hey, that’s the power of Taylor Sheridan, and in making a feature-length pilot, he brought to life the best Yellowstone characters in the most meaningful way and immediately set the tone for what would become his Western masterpiece.

From the offset, the political and family dramas are made abundantly clear, and there’s almost no room to breathe once things kick-off. The climactic ending involving a shocking Dutton death establishes everything we need to know about John Dutton and his family. They can mess with each other, but don’t you dare.

Best Yellowstone episodes: Evelyn Dutton in 'No Good Horses'

Yellowstone season 1 episode 3: No Good Horses

We love a good Beth flashback, and this one has the most important of them all: Evelyn Dutton’s death. We finally see how the Dutton children ended up motherless, and it’s just as gutting as you’d expect, especially when it becomes clear why Beth is the way she is.

But the episode only gets more insane from there, and when it comes to completely off-the-wall plot points, it doesn’t get much better than Kayce’s interception of a kidnapping. When he and Tate are driving, they spot a mysterious white van, and Kayce ends up in a battle to save a stranger’s life. Oh yeah, and Tate has to fight a snake. It’s all too much, and we love it.

Best Yellowstone episodes: 'Long Black Train'

Yellowstone season 1 episode 4: The Long Black Train

One of the most frequented Dutton techniques is taking someone to the “train station“. This is the first episode we’re introduced to this infamous location, and it makes an impact that lasts throughout the rest of the series. Die-hard fans might theorize that the train station will be the ultimate Dutton downfall, but even if it results in nothing, it’s still a damn good detail.

At the end of the episode, Rip instructs Lloyd to take a rebellious ranch hand to the train station, and we get our first real idea of just how far the Dutton disciples are willing to go to maintain order. Nobody’s safe from the “long black train”, not even the workers who live and serve on the Dutton ranch. From this point on, all bets were off.

YouTube Thumbnail

Yellowstone season 2 episode 6: Blood the Boy

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.” It’s the guiding force behind the rest of Jamie’s career and life, and only solidifies our theory at The Digital Fix that Jamie wants nothing more than to be a cowboy, he just doesn’t know how.

Back in the main Yellowstone timeline, Jamie does the unspeakable and winds up killing a journalist in order to protect his family’s secrets which he himself shared. It’s a moment driven by rage, panic, and sheer desperation, and sets him on course for what would be his arc for the rest of the show. Granted, we’ve talked some shit about Jamie around here, but we won’t deny a good episode when we see it, even if it’s all about him.

Best Yellowstone episodes: season 2 episode 9 'Enemies by Monday'

Yellowstone season 2 episode 9: Enemies by Monday

Love it or hate it, this episode has one of the most iconic Beth Dutton moments. You’ll have no doubt seen clips of this make the rounds on social media, showing Beth intervene when a racist shop owner calls the cops on Monica. Yeah, maybe Beth goes a little too far (which she’s known to do), but it’s great to see justice get served in such a fierce way.

This episode is also significant for one of the most major plot points in the entire series: Tate’s kidnapping. We never saw it coming, and it’s one of the more soap-opera style arcs you’ll find here. Dramatic, riddled with tension, and as unpredictable as ever, this is a real diamond of an episode.

Best Yellowstone episodes: Wes Bentley and Josh Holloway as Jamie and Roarke in Yellowstone season 3 episode 1

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, held by a militia group, and the Yellowstone crew swooping in, killing everyone and bringing him back. 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.

It’s an episode that sees John and Jamie attempt to right some wrongs, Jamie’s emergence from the bunkhouse after being banished there, and Tate is suffering from some PTSD after being taken from the ranch by the Beck Brothers. (Obviously.) It’s an episode that acts as a bit of breathing space, but still manages to prove that even when things aren’t at their most extreme, it’s still more gripping than most other shows.

Best Yellowstone episodes: Kevin Costner and Wes Bentley as John and Jamie Dutton in season 3 episode 7

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 delicious 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.”

That’s right — everyone’s least favorite Dutton isn’t a Dutton at all! Small blessings. 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.

Best Yellowstone episodes: John Dutton shot on the side of the road

Yellowstone season 3 episode 10: The World is Purple

Let’s just say it: season 3 of Yellowstone is the most batshit of them all. All the dramas across the ten episodes accumulate when the finale shows each member of the Dutton family suffering an assassination attempt. John is shot on the roadside, Beth’s office is torn apart by a bomb (with her in it), and Kayce is attacked at the Livestock Association office.

It’s an ending that had us shaken, and threw so much doubt on each and every character that we genuinely had to wonder: “Is this Jamie’s doing?” This season 3 finale is a perfect representation of everything Yellowstone does best. A family, torn apart by their attempt to protect their legacy and power, being hunted down by the most malicious of opposing forces.

Best Yellowstone episodes: 'Horses in Heaven'

Yellowstone season 5 episode 7: “Horses in Heaven”

The relationship between John and Monica is one of the more intriguing we see across the series. But the two are brought together for good shortly after the devastating loss of Monica’s unborn baby in a car accident. Kayce and Monica ask if their child can be buried on the property, and John joins them at the funeral.

When Monica is alone at the grave, John sits beside her and tells her the story of how he lost his baby brother. It’s an incredibly open, raw moment between them, and it shows that John can actually be vulnerable. Plus, his monologue about babies having the perfect life is genuinely tear-inducing.

Best Yellowstone episodes: Beth and Rip look out at the sunset

Yellowstone season 5 episode 6: Cigarettes, Whiskey, a Meadow and You

This is a great episode for Beth and Rip fans, but also one for those who yearn for the cowboy life in general. The Yellowstone crew begins their journey across the land to round up the cattle, with a whole celebration waiting for them when they get back.

However, things end on a poignant end when one of John’s oldest friends dies on the trail. Easily one of the most emotional moments in the series, one of the best John Dutton quotes is dropped when he comes across the sleeping cowboy, saying: “He just died on the trail, like every cowboy dreams it.” (…It gets us every time.)

If you can’t get enough Yellowstone, check out our list of the 10 shows like Yellowstone to watch next. We’ve also got guides on all the upcoming installments, such as the 6666 release date and Yellowstone season 5 part 2. 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.