Yellowstone’s infamous cliffhanger made Kelly Reilly fear for her job

Yellowstone cast star Kelly Reilly adores Beth Dutton and is glad she survived season 3, but at first she thought she'd been fired.

Kelly Reilly as Beth Dutton in Yellowstone

It’s impossible to imagine Yellowstone without Kelly Reilly, who’s taken the series and turned it into a platform to highlight her vast talent. As Beth Dutton, she’s absolutely phenomenal and has been since the very start.

However, for Kelly Reilly, the Yellowstone season 3 cliffhanger had her fearing for her role in the Yellowstone cast, and she thought Taylor Sheridan was attempting to kill her off for good. Thankfully, Reilly’s role in one of the best drama series around was totally secure, even if that isn’t how to actor saw the situation originally.

“When I got the script for the explosion, of course, I asked [Taylor Sheridan] the question: ‘Is she going to make it? Are you trying to tell me something?'” Reilly recalled in an interview with Elle, reflecting on when the Yellowstone timeline‘s most ferocious Dutton was targeted with a bomb at the end of the third season.

She continued, “I think every actor thinks they’re going to get fired. Everybody always thinks it’s their last shot at it, and they’ll never work again. But, no, everyone was very honest from the get-go, saying, ‘No, no, no. Taylor just wanted everyone to think that they all died.’ He wanted that cliffhanger moment.”

It wasn’t just Beth Dutton who was put at risk in the season 3 finale, either. Kevin Costner’s John Dutton was peppered with bullets in a drive-by shooting, Kayce was attacked in his office, and Monica and Tate had to fight for their lives when the Dutton ranch was invaded too. The Dutton family tree looked like it was going to get quite severely pruned.

In the end, Reilly’s Beth and the rest of her family survived the attack, which was orchestrated by Jamie Dutton‘s biological father Garrett Randall (thankfully for Reilly, who will return for the upcoming Yellowstone season 5 part 2). John recovered slowly in hospital, while Beth managed to get through mostly unharmed except for some long-lasting scars on her back.

Of course, we were just as relieved as Reilly that Beth managed to survive. Out of all the Yellowstone characters, she’s the one who occupies the most space in our hearts, and she’s the emotional center of the series. That being said, while the Yellowstone season 3 finale was absolutely thrilling and stands as one of the highlights in the whole series, the way in which it was resolved let it down.

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First of all, the fact that Garrett Randall was behind it all was… underwhelming. He’s at the bottom of our list when it comes to Yellowstone’s many antagonists, and we were never able to quite piece together his motivations, or all the threads in his convoluted plan. The setup was better than the payoff.

Then, there’s also the fact that someone should have died in the attack. The fact that all the Duttons survived took the sting out of it, and ultimately felt unrealistic. We love Luke Grimes, but Kayce Dutton probably should have bit the dust, given that his character has had so little to do from season 4 onwards. It would have made the danger tangible, and shaken things up while adding to the stakes.

But, as it stands, all of the Duttons are very much alive (except for poor Lee, we barely got to know you) and are set to return for the final batch of episodes in November 2024. That is, except for John Dutton, with Costner still appearing to be rejecting a return. Whether or not that means we’ll get an offscreen death is still unclear, though the character certainly deserves better than that.

For more Dutton chaos, read why we think Keilly Reilly should lead her own spin-off, and why Kayce is the perfect replacement for John Dutton in Costner’s absence. Or, see our guides to the 1923 season 2 release date and 6666 release date, before seeing our list of the best TV series of all time.