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‘Yellowstone’ Season 2’s Biggest Threat Isn’t Who You Think

In Season 2, a web of threats, from rival developers to internal family conflicts, jeopardizes the beloved Dutton ranch.

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  • In Season 2 of Yellowstone, Thomas Rainwater and Dan Jenkins join forces to threaten the Dutton ranch with a new casino development, putting the Duttons’ land at risk.
  •  The Beck brothers, ruthless real estate moguls, pose a clear and ongoing danger to the Dutton clan with their barbaric tactics.
  •  Jamie Dutton’s inner conflict and potential for immense betrayal make him the biggest threat to the Yellowstone and his family.

There’s no doubt that Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan sure knows drama; through two successful Yellowstone spinoffs and other highly-watched dramas, including Tulsa King and Lawmen: Bass Reeves, Sheridan knows how to weave engrossing narratives packed with action and suspenseYellowstone Season 2 is fraught with heart-stopping drama and epic emotional highs and lows. Besieged by foes on all sides, the Duttons must fight their way forward to save the beloved Yellowstone ranch. Knowing who poses the most significant threat as the season unfolds is tricky with so many enemies. There’s Chief Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) and his plans for expanded reservation lands and a new casino, and Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston) and his land development plans for the valley. Season 2 sees a new threat emerge with the mafia-esque business methods of the Beck brothers, Malcolm (Neal McDonough) and Teal (Terry Serpico), and ever-present is the internal turmoil between the individual members of the Dutton family.

Season 2 begins with Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) defying his father’s wishes by pursuing his campaign for attorney general. In Season 1, Jamie’s ambitions are supported by the family, but feeling that the new role will not align with the ranch’s needs, John Dutton (Kevin Costner) tells Jamie to drop out of the race. Jamie becomes so incensed with his father that he agrees to provide a scathing interview that will undoubtedly have significant repercussions for his father and could ruin the entire family. Season 1 also saw Chief Rainwater and Dan Jenkins contemplating a joint venture that would enable a new casino to be built on tribal lands without government oversight, and the encroaching tourism would provide an effective method of running The Duttons off their lands. With so much already in the works, adding the menacing Beck brothers in Season 2 adds fuel to the already raging fire.

Rainwater and Jenkins Threaten the Survival of The Yellowstone Dutton Ranch

Thomas Rainwater, casino mogul and chief of the Broken Rock Reservation, wants the Dutton land for various reasons. Outwardly, he claims he is interested in returning the lands to his people, the native tribes who inhabited the lands for thousands of years. While that is undoubtedly a factor in his motivations to reclaim the land, Rainwater’s business ambitions tell a slightly different tale. Being a successful casino owner, he sees the potential for developing a new casino on Dutton land. By expanding the reservation, he could build and operate a new casino without government oversight and rake in extraordinary profits for himself and the reservation. The problem is he needs to acquire more land, and that is where Dan Jenkins comes in.

With Dan Jenkins at a standstill in his developments, he sees potential in an alliance with Rainwater. They worked out a deal to develop the land without government oversight by signing the land over to the reservation. Once the land is part of the reservation, Rainwater plans to fund the casino building and infrastructure and cut Jenkins in on part of the profits. It appears to be a win-win, but with an invalidated deal upon annexation, it becomes a matter of Rainwater keeping his word. However, with two influential entrepreneurs teaming up to take down Yellowstone Ranch, there is a lot for The Duttons to be worried about.

The Brutal Beck Brothers Want the Yellowstone for Themselves

Season 2 introduces the threat of a new real estate rival in Malcom and Teal Beck. These real estate moguls have plans for their own resort and casino development that puts them at odds with Broken Rock Reservation and the Yellowstone Ranch. These brothers and business partners are not used to not getting what they want, and with connections to a murderous neo-nazi group, this team of savage thugs presents a clear and ongoing danger to the Dutton clan. After attempting to persuade Dan Jenkins and John Dutton to partner with them on their business venture, the Beck brothers turn to more barbaric tactics upon being rebuffed


. From killing cattle to kidnapping John’s grandson Tate (Brecken Merrill), there is seemingly nothing these vicious villains won’t do to get what they want. 

Season 2 sees the Beck brothers orchestrating a Godfather-style takedown of the Dutton family. In episode 7, Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) is attacked in her office. Her assistant is shot before her eyes, and thugs hired by the Beck brothers brutally beat her. Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) shows up and eliminates the threat but is wounded in the process. With the abduction of Tate in episode 9, Kayce (Luke Grimes) and John are on a rampage to get the boy back. With the final confrontation in episode 10, “Sins of the Father,” the Beck brothers’ reign of terror finally ends.

Jamie Dutton Actually Poses the Biggest Threat to the Yellowstone

With so many apparent threats to the Yellowstone, it’s easy to overlook the ever-present danger lurking in the Dutton family. With so much tension between his siblings and father, Jamie harbors a lot of resentment and frustration. In some ways, you can’t help but feel sorry for him. He has a strained relationship with everyone in the family. Much of the backstory for this strain is revealed in Season 3, but Season 2 sees Jamie trying to do right by his family but finding it hard to come to terms with his own faults. He tries to portray confidence, but deep down, he is diffident, constantly seeking approval from his father and struggling to assert his independence. His sister Beth hates him more than anyone. Though we don’t yet know the reason for this hate, it clearly goes back to something deep-seated and dastardly.

With so much familial tension brewing in Yellowstone, Jamie can’t help but feel conflicted. From his perspective, he has done everything his father, John, asked of him, and still, it’s not enough to garner the unconditional love and approval he so desperately seeks. With the unresolved issues from Season 1 and the looming life-ruining interview about his father yet to be published, circumstances are building to make Jamie the biggest threat of all to the Dutton family. No one knows the inner workings of the family like he does. Though regretted, he’s already turned on his father once by exposing harmful family secrets in his interview. He has his own ambitions and is always working an angle for himself like he did when he decided to run for AG despite his father’s wishes.

There is a sense that Jamie’s inner conflict will push him to do something terrible against the family as Yellowstone progresses. When he finally breaks down and contemplates ending it all in Season 2, Episode 7, it appears that Jamie’s redemption is on the horizon. He moves into the bunkhouse and starts learning the ways of the ranch. But all has not been resolved with Jamie. In fact, with many secrets yet to be revealed and an uneasy feeling that Jamie is capable of immense betrayal, the threat he poses has not been diminished. While Rainwater, Jenkins, and The Beck Brothers pose a dangerous, and with the latter, lethal threat, Jamie is an unpredictable time bomb waiting to go off. For that reason, Jamie is the biggest threat to the Yellowstone.

Yellowstone is available to stream on Paramount+ in the U.S.

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