Yellowstone and Why I Care So Much *Spoiler Alert*
It's just a show, but many people believe what they see on TV and that's the problem.
I purchased a subscription to the Peacock streaming service for my wife so she can watch her Hallmark movies. In turn, I started to watch Yellowstone. I'd heard so much about it and I enjoy Kevin Costner movies and I had nothing else to watch. That first night I watched 3 episodes and decided to go to Facebook to share my thoughts on what I had seen so far. What I was not prepared for is the large amount of people who had thoughts of their own to share. In all that one post reached about 54,000 people. Comments ranged from "I LOVE that show lol absolutely LOVE it. Rip n Beth are my hero's lol" to "I couldn’t make it through one show so unrealistic" to "Remember it's entertainment, not true life. All in fun" and "Spoiler alert...it's fiction." Lots of people commented on the excessive use of fowl language and many who are in law enforcement and the medical field shared their perspectives on the reality of the show. I ended my post saying I would continue to watch and I did. In two weeks time I watched the first 4 seasons. Season 5 is not yet available on Peacock.
Before I give you my thoughts on the Yellowstone series I'd like to share why I care so much about its accuracy. According to a survey done by CBS, 11% of Americans think Hollywood movies frequently portray American life accurately and 45% think they are accurate sometimes. That is over half of their 12 million viewers who may believe what they are watching on Yellowstone is real. Couple that with 72% of consumers knowing nothing or very little about farming or ranching could lead to a spread of misinformation about ranching at a time when the agriculture industry is under attack due to misrepresentations of the industry.
Here are my thoughts on the series:
Season 1 was hard to get through. It was full of miscues like assisting in the birth of a calf and the calf getting up and running away right away completely dry. It was very gruff and unforgiving.
Season 2 seemed to turn a new leaf. From this point on the series becomes more palatable with each following season lightening up on the "Godfather" style and going stronger on the ranch lifestyle. (Don't get me wrong though, that beat 'em up style never really leaves) I could still find inconsistencies with what I was watching after Season 1, but I was no longer grumbling to myself and wincing at what viewers were seeing. In Season 3, Episode 4 I was very surprised to see John Dutton allow the motorcycle gang that was set on wreaking havoc on the ranch to live. The way he had them dig their own graves but let them live in the end is the way of old ranch knowledge that I'm used to. I wish Season 4, Episode 6 would have spent some time with John showing the animal rights activist- and the audience- modern ranching practices. Wasn't that the reason he brought her to the Yellowstone? Or was it just to show her to his bedroom.
When I first started watching Yellowstone I thought the biggest underlying story would be the relationship between Rip and Beth, but for me it's another character's story that shines brightest. Jimmy came to Yellowstone Ranch in Season 1, Episode 1 by way of his grandfather making a person request for John Dutton to take him in as a last ditch attempt to keep Jimmy out of trouble and off of drugs. When Jimmy came to the ranch he had no skills and no self worth. As the episodes progressed so did Jimmy. In Season 1, Episode 8 the other ranch hands gave Jimmy a gift- a felt cowboy hat- to replace his backwards worn ball cap. That would be the start of Jimmy believing in himself and it continued right into Season 2, Episode 6 when Jimmy entered a bronc riding competition and won. Unfortunately Jimmy got hurt riding broncs (Season 3, Episode 3) and was hospitalized and then he went to rehab to recuperate and learn how to walk again.
John Dutton made a deal with Jimmy saying all of Jimmy's medical expenses would be covered, but Jimmy needed to give up broncs and learn something else; John specifically suggested roping. Still, Jimmy could not resist the broncs and decided to get on the one horse nobody at the Yellowstone could ride, and he went right back to the hospital.
Jimmy broke his word to John so once he recovered John sent Jimmy to work on the Four Sixes Ranch in Texas. Jimmy left behind the girl that stood beside him through all of his recovery, Mia, and met a new girl, Emily, who works as the chief vet technician at the Four Sixes. Jimmy worked his way into a position of trust at the 6666 Ranch- to the surprise of everyone who knew Jimmy before he went to work there- and he found his own self worth. He realized the Mia saw what Jimmy could become, but Emily loved Jimmy for what he was now. Jimmy chose Emily and in choosing Emily, Jimmy also chose himself. Jimmy's time at the 6666 was over and he headed back to Yellowstone to repay his debt to John Dutton. In turn John waved all debts and gave Jimmy his blessing to return to Texas with Emily to start a new life together. Jimmy is confirmed to return in Season 5 and I am looking forward to seeing how his story progresses.