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‘Yellowstone’ Whodunit: Questions And Theories After The Season 3 Finale

The explosive Season 3 finale of the hit Paramount Network series Yellowstone ended with a cliffhanger in the form of a whodunit. So, who ordered the hit on John Dutton, Kayce Dutton, and Beth Dutton? Showrunner Taylor Sheridan might not even be sure where he wants to take things yet, as there are a few possibilities set up heading into Season 4.


Jamie Dutton

The majority opinion appears to be that Jamie Dutton did the unthinkable and put a hit on his own (adopted) family. Let’s dive into why it makes sense and why it might not.


Why it’s a possibility

  • Jamie is a conflicted character that’s been pulled in a number of different directions throughout the series and throughout his life.
  • He’s already killed before, and it’s possible he’s snapped.
  • The talk with his biological father hints at taking a shot at toppling the king and looking to claim the ranch for himself.
  • Jamie told Governer Perry that he is doing things for himself now, not John and the Duttons.
  • Jamie was not targeted in the hit attempts, while John, Kayce, and Beth all were.
  • Jamie hates Beth, and the relationship between he and John had obviously become strained.
  • In the midst of the chaos, Jamie told Rip he doesn’t think he should call him anymore.


Reasoning against it

  • Jamie appeared to be doing his fighting with his power and standing as A.G., surprising John with his power play in the meeting.
  • Perhaps the biggest reason against it being Jamie that called the hit is his relationship with Kayce. Earlier in the season, after it was made known that Jamie was adopted, Kayce told him that he better not ever call him anything else but “brother.” Jamie and Kayce appear to have a genuinely good relationship. It’s just hard to see Jamie ordering a hit on Kayce.
  • You would think Jamie is smart enough to know that Rip has to be taken out in a sweeping move like this. Jamie certainly isn’t stupid, and Rip is about the last person he’d want coming after him.
  • Perhaps Jamie wasn’t targeted simply because he’s harder to target and kill as an Attorney General.
  • Jamie might have just been cold to Rip because he was cutting ties with the Duttons, without actually knowing the family was currently targeted by assassination attempts.


Roarke Carter, Willa Hayes, & Market Equities

The second primary suspect is Market Equities, which wants John Dutton’s land.


Why it’s a possibility

  • They know John—and by extension Beth and then also probably Kayce if something happens to John and Beth—is the only thing in the way of a sale. Jamie would be easy to work with if he takes over the Dutton Ranch.
  • Willa has been embarrassed by unfounded harassment charges created by Beth. On the verge of potentially having your life destroyed by something you didn’t do, you might do something drastic in response.
  • Willa said to play this like they are making a deal in the Middle East. Roarke could certainly take that as freedom to start eliminating their enemies for good.
  • It’s not a stretch to think Roarke would hire killers. He already hired a couple of cowboys to cause major trouble for the Yellowstone, nearly killing a couple of Dutton Ranch members in the process.


Reasoning against it

  • There might not have been enough time between Willa telling Roarke to play dirty and putting the assassinations together.
  • It seems pretty risky for Market Equities to get into something like this.
  • They are somewhat of an obvious culprit.
  • While the bomb in the Schwartz & Meyer office was seemingly executed well, the hit on John was sloppy and unprofessional.


Jamie & Roarke/Willa

Could the two main suspects in the Dutton hit have combined forces to make it happen?


Why it’s a possibility

  • Between Jamie and Roarke, it seemed relatively affable at the conclusion of the meeting. Roarke didn’t call Jamie “Attorney General”, “A.G. Dutton”, or “Mr. Dutton”; he just called him Jamie.
  • Both sides know it’s a good deal and they both stand to get rich from it (though it’s possible Jamie would have had a legal fight on his hands to get any of that $500 million with how things were going).
  • Jamie had a prior relationship with Willa and Market Equities from their previous meeting and conversations regarding the ranch. When Willa arrived at the meeting in Jamie’s office, she was snubbed of a greeting—perhaps indicating that Jamie did not want to be too friendly in public with someone he’s working with behind his family’s back.
  • Having a partner of sorts in Market Equities could be huge for an ambitious type like Jamie.


Reasoning against it

  • There might not have been time for the two sides to talk about this plan—which likely wouldn’t have come together until Jamie met with his biological father.
  • It’s risky for either side to propose this to the other.


Chief Rainwater & Angela Blue Thunder

Most suspect either Jamie or Market Equities (specifically Rourke doing the dirty work) to be behind the attacks, but there’s an intriguing fourth option.


Why it’s a possibility

  • Angela Blue Thunder talked about taking the land by any means necessary.
  • Now would be the time to strike, as they wouldn’t be heavily suspected.


Reasoning against it

  • It’s unlikely that Tom would get a hit put together so quickly without meticulously thinking it over.
  • Despite Angela Blue Thunder’s speech, Tom appears to have a desire to play things straight.
  • Taking out Monica’s husband would be heartless.
  • Tom and John at least have a mutual respect for each other at this point.
  • What would be the end game when Market Equities is looking to claim the land itself already?


The California biker gang

Could an old foe from earlier in the season be exacting revenge on the Duttons?


Why it’s a possibility

  • Vans are commonly used in biker gangs—at least they were in Sons of Anarchy, a show Taylor Sheridan was a part of.
  • Biker gangs are no joke, and they couldn’t have been happy with getting embarrassed earlier in the season on two separate occasions.


Reasoning against it

  • Pictures of John Dutton likely would have circulated among the gang if they were putting a hit on him, and John’s truck says Yellowstone right on it. The assassins in the van might not have had to ask who John was. (Though the same could be said for assassins sent by others.)
  • John previously showed compassion by letting the gang live. He didn’t even harm them physically.
  • While tough, the biker gang seemed genuinely frightened of John by the end, and it sounded like they meant it when they promised to never come back to Montana.
  • Why would Beth be targeted in a hit by the biker gang?



All possibilities are intriguing, which has many fans clamoring for Season 4 of Yellowstone. An effort led by Roarke makes the most sense, so that’s my pick.


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