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Yellowstone fans name the “most beautiful” episode, and they’re right

Yellowstone isn't known for heartfelt moments, but our favorite episode shows how brilliant the series can be when it gets emotional.

Kevin Costner as John Dutton in Yellowstone

Admittedly, I don’t usually watch Yellowstone for its tender moments. The deluge of heated family arguments, gun-toting cowboys, and exhilarating rodeo montages are enough to keep us all glued to the screen. But there is one particular episode – my favorite of them all, as it happens – that fans agree is the most beautiful in the whole show.

Yellowstone has long gripped audiences, and for many fans (myself included), the members of the Yellowstone cast feel like family. Still, if there is one episode that truly cements that connection, it’s Yellowstone season 5, episode 6 – titled Cigarettes, Whiskey, a Meadow and You.

In order to maintain my sanity as I wait for Yellowstone season 5 part 2, I’ve been scouring Reddit to see what other fans are thinking. It’s there that the debate over the most beautiful Yellowstone episode yet was settled, and I have to say, I totally agree.

In the episode in question, John Dutton leads his cowboys out into the mountains to round up cattle for branding day. As John and his old pal, Emmett, settle down for the night, the former realizes his friend is never waking up again. The next day, John takes it upon himself to tell Emmett’s wife of his passing and reassures her by detailing how perfect his final moments were.

It’s a tragic yet beautiful scene that shows the humane and more vulnerable side of a man who had previously been painted as an invincible and stoic figure. But season 5 shows how far John has come, and in episode 4, we also see John’s empathy as he comforts his daughter-in-law, Monica, at the funeral of her infant son. “All he knew was you and that you loved him,” he says, and just like that, this silly cowboy show had me in tears.

Praising episode 6, the original poster said: “It forsook most of the politics, and it focused on the land, cowboying, a beautiful death, and a touch of philosophy. Honest to God, I think it was the most beautiful episode of all the seasons. It’s a nice island in this challenging season.”

Among the replies, I found this one to be especially pertinent, as ndy6618 said: “Love the pure cowboy episodes. Cowboy is what made the show different from all the other dramas on TV. So glad they are getting back to it.”

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It’s something I’ve written about before in my feature assessing the way Yellowstone succeeds most when it doesn’t really worry about the plot. Sure, I love seeing the dynamics of the Dutton family tree evolve over time, and the Yellowstone timeline is full of exciting moments, but it’s actually the most simple and genuine scenes that hit the hardest and help Yellowstone rank among the best TV series of all time.

If you want more words of wisdom from the Yellowstone patriarch, check out our list of the best John Dutton quotes. Or, you can get more from the best drama series around by looking ahead to the Yellowstone 6666 release date and the Yellowstone 1923 season 2 release date.