Paramount Network’s ‘Yellowstone‘ revolves around the Duttons, a family of ranchers who own the largest ranch in the United States. The Yellowstone Dutton Ranch serves as the family’s legacy, and the family has held the property for nearly a hundred years. In the present, the Dutton patriarch John Dutton is facing several issues in sustaining the property and fighting threats of coveting his land. However, like his predecessors, the time will come for John to pass on the responsibility to a capable successor. Therefore, viewers must be wondering who will inherit the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, and here are our best theories on the matter! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Who Will Inherit the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch?
The Yellowstone Dutton Ranch is the source of contention and conflict in ‘Yellowstone.’ The vast ranch is the largest in the entire United States and is valued in billions. However, the Dutton family, who owns the land, has a sentimental attachment to their property and refuses to sell it. James Dutton founded the ranch after arriving from Texas. It has been passed down in the family for generations, and John Dutton III (Kevin Costner) is the current patriarch and owner of the Yellowstone Ranch. However, John refuses to sell the land because he promised his father.
The series starts with John Dutton pondering his family’s legacy after he believes that he has cancer. As a result, he contemplates which one of his children he can hand over the ranch before his death. John’s eldest son and his right-hand man, Lee Dutton, dies in the series premiere episode. As a result, his youngest son, Kayce Dutton, returns to the ranch and replaces Lee. Soon, John starts seeing Kayce as an ideal person to take over the ranch from him. However, in the second season, John learns he does not have cancer and abandons the idea of choosing a successor. Nonetheless, he must still protect his land from external threats.
In the fourth season, Kayce leaves the Yellowstone Ranch, fearing the family name’s implications on his family’s well-being. In the sixth episode of season 5, titled ‘Cigarettes, Whiskey, a Meadow and Fog,’ Kayce’s wife, Monica, confirms that Kayce has no interest in inheriting the ranch. Therefore, it leaves John with Beth and Jamie Dutton, his other two children, as possible candidates to take over the property after his death. However, Jamie is John and Evelyn Dutton’s adopted son.
John does not trust Jamie as the latter leased a portion of his land to Market Equities, unleashing a pandora’s box of problems for the Duttons. Furthermore, Jamie joins hands with Garrett Randall, his biological father, who turns Jamie against his adoptive family. Therefore, it is unlikely that Jamie will be chosen as John’s successor. On the other hand, Beth Dutton is the most loyal of John’s children. She is deeply involved in John’s fight to save the ranch. Hence, Beth is the ideal candidate to inherit the ranch.
However, Beth does not have the ranching skills to keep the ranch running after John’s death. Nonetheless, Beth’s husband, Rip Wheeler, is John’s right-hand man and the most competent cowboy on the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. Therefore, if Beth inherits the ranch, she could run it with Rip’s help. Meanwhile, Beth is not emotional and does not understand the sentimental value of the family’s ranch. Her sense of duty is only derived from her affection for her father. Therefore, she might face some issues in sustaining the ranch.
Ultimately, John Dutton recognizes that sustaining the ranch is a monumental task in the changing times. Furthermore, he has seen his children suffer due to the responsibility of saving the ranch. Hence, John might not want to continue the tradition of handing over the ranch to his children. In contrast, John’s potential death could likely unite his children. As a result, they could work together and inherit the ranch equally. However, John might consider a more permanent solution to ensure the ranch’s safety for generations to come.